Wednesday, September 28, 2011

E-Publishing Under Your Own Name or Having a Company

Today I'd like to talk about a decision I made when I decided to e-publish. Now, most of you know Anne Gallagher is not my real name. For those of you who didn't know that, sorry. It's not something I talk about for very personal reasons. I decided a long time ago that I would build my "platform" if you will, on the name Anne Gallagher. I like that name, and has been in my family for several generations.

Having said all that, when I decided to self-publish, I went to the Kindle help pages whereupon I found out I had to provide my "publishers" information. WHO is publishing this book. I am one of those persnickety people who gets all weirded out by seeing a name on a cover and then reading the title page and finding out the two names don't match, I feel cheated. (I know I'm just weird.)

Having also decided to go with the automatic deposit, I had to have a bank account in that name. And because Anne Gallagher is not a real person, (well she is, if you Google her, there are about 10,000 of them in this country alone) I didn't want my money going to anyone else but me.

So I decided to publish under a company name. Shore Road Publishing. It's where I used to live. (see picture above) I really wanted Beach House Publishing because that was the name of my old catering company (Beach House Casual Catering) I wanted the same thing. But Beach House Publishing is already taken. So, can't. And variations on that theme also came up with someone else using it.

In having found a new name, I then decided to file that in the Register of Deeds office so no one else could use it in my county. It's for tax purposes. I wanted to keep my business separate from my real life. (If you decide to file one, I suggest Sole Proprietor.)

Hence the next step was in going to the bank and opening up a simple business account. Because I also have my checking account there, it was free. And like I said, SIMPLE. I just wanted the account for automatic deposit. If somewhere down the road it looks like I'll need to add more to it, I always have the option.

And because I am the sole proprietor of the business, I do not need a tax I.D. number, I can use my own SSN. Which is nice, one less thing I have to keep track of.

I also opened up a PO Box under the name of Shore Road Publishing so I can get mail there.

Now most people who self-publish aren't so anal when it comes to deciding HOW they're going to publish. They just use their own name and SSN, hit Save and Publish and be done with it. I'm going to tell you why I didn't do it that way.

The Monster Child.

As a single mother pushing 50, I have to think about her future. The best thing about self-publishing to Kindle is the "long tail". Meaning, these books will remain "in print" until I decide to take them down. There will never be just a single print run, there will never be 'no returns' to the publishing house (at least I hope not), they will always be there floating around in cyber space. Which means, hopefully, they will always be generating royalties.

Having made the decision to start my own "publishing company", somewhere down the road, I will incorporate and make The Monster a partner, the CEO of that company. So when I die, it will be hers. And she can do whatever she wants to do with it. The "long tail" if you will. Either keep it or not. I won't care, I'll be dead. And if she ever wanted to pursue a writing career, she could also publish under Shore Road Publishing.

So that's what I did, and why I did it. (This, of course is the simplified version.) Now, for some of you, this may not be the way to go. Only you and your accountant can decide what's best for your future, but in having set this up now, it's one less thing I have to worry about later.

If you decide to go with a company name, rather than your own name, here are the three easy steps.

1) File your company name with the Register of Deeds in your county (or town or city hall, states vary) If you are the Sole Proprietor, you do not need a tax I.D. number and can use your own SSN. Most Small Business Administration offices will have the one page paperwork, or town or city hall. Mine cost $14- to file it.

2) Open up a business bank account under the company name. (Again, you don't need a tax I.D. number, your SSN will be fine.) Like I said, mine was free because I also have my checking account there. I deposited $10- into the account just so it would have something in it.

3) Post Office Box is a really handy thing to have as well. For six months it costs $27-. They'll send you a reminder when you have to re-up.

So for $51- dollars, I have my own company again. I also don't have to worry about Amazon sending my money to someone who isn't me. I don't have to worry about the post office losing my mail. And I don't have to worry about The Monster's future. For now.

Tell me -- Have you thought about doing this? Even if you're going the regular publishing route? Do you like to keep your writing life and real life separate?


Al said...

I have used my real nam on my book. I have also registered a company so I guess I have taken both approaches.

Anne Gallagher said...

Al -- I like having a company because I can now write in different genres if I really want to. Change the writer names but keep the same publisher.

Jen Daiker said...

I've never thought about doing this Anne, but I think it's fabulous. You're the reason I would consider self publishing as a profession. You take the time to teach us what you're learning. I love that about you. This was so detailed. I loved it.

I look up to you. So impressed by your push to give something to your Monster Child, to go a route that I'm uneasy of taking. I'm not sure I can devote enough time, and here you are, with a child, doing awesome things.

I wish you nothing but the best of luck! I love the name of your company. I think it's beautiful and perfect with a place you associate with!!

Tabitha Bird said...

Thanks for sharing all that. I'd never thought about it.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I didn't realize Anne wasn't your real name. Or maybe I forgot.

I love the name of your publishing company.

Creating my own publishing company is not something I'm considering doing, and I'm not sure how I would do it in Canada. I'm thinking it's not the same as what you did (because that would be too easy for me to be able to follow your instructions). ;)

Linda G. said...

Good info, Anne! Thanks for sharing it. I'd never thought of setting myself up as a company. I'll definitely have to look into it more closely.

Anne Gallagher said...

Jen -- Aww shucks, now you make me blush. Only you can decide what's right for you, and sometimes you don't know what you really CAN do until you're in that position.

Tabitha -- Well, that's why I share. To make you think about stuff you might not think about.

Stina -- Yeah, Canada is a whole other country. LOL. However, you never know until you try. Or make a few phone calls.

Anne Gallagher said...

Linda -- It makes sense for some people, but because you and TG are married, it might be best to talk to an accountant before hand.

Matthew MacNish said...

This is all the business stuff I don't want to have to do, because I'll be terrible at it.

Oh well, at least if I comes to that I'll have friends I can go to for advice. Friends like you.

Anne Gallagher said...

Matthew -- It's not so hard really. And you can always come to me.

Liza said...

I had no idea Anne is not your real name!! Now I'll have to spend the day making up names that match your face. I have my own business, LCS Writes, (sole proprietor) a bank account under that name and a P.O. Box. And my bank actually provided the proper paperwork and sent it to the town hall to make it official. You are is all simple and helps to keep the "work" and personal life separate.

Anne Gallagher said...

Liza -- Sorry, I probably should have told you. I know, it puts people off when they find out I'm not who I really am. But I gave it a lot of thought when I started this whole writing career and my name was not something I was willing to share with the world. Someday I may write a book and use my real name, but not right now.

And see, it is so much easier to keep the real life and work life separate.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Not-Anne! I had no idea!
You are so organised. This is amazing. You are a professional e-publisher. Thank you for taking the time to teach us what you're learning. I don't think I could do this; I wonder if things are different in the UK.

jabblog said...

Your pen name suits you.
If anything I've written ever gets to the publishing stage it will be under a pseudonym - I decided that a long time ago. I would also open an account in that name but I'm still not sure about self-publishing, though it's growing and developing all the time.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

omg, i totally LOVE that picture! Is that an actual picture of where you used to live? It's totally magical!

Patti said...

I didn't know Anne wasn't your real name either.

I love your company name and this is some great information.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Some good advice there, Anne. I never even thought of using a proper name - other than my own. Great post!

Creepy Query Girl said...

see- this is all stuff I haven't even thought about yet! Thanks so much for explaining your process and how/why you've chosen your own publishing name. Great advice!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Sorry. As far as I'm concerned, your name IS Anne Gallagher. It so suits you. (And if that isn't your real picture, I don't wanta know!)

No, I never considered the possibility of setting myself up a company, but I'll cross that bridge if I ever get to it.

Em-Musing said...

Hmmm? One of the writers in my group e-publishes and uses a pen name. I'll have to ask her how she handles the business side of two names.

Anne Gallagher said...

Elaine -- It's been my pleasure to share with everyone my learning process as I go along the bumpy road to self-publishing. We're all in this together so why keep secrets. Right?

jabblog -- E-pubbing is a growing industry. That's why I'm trying it. Can't get to New York the conventional way, so I might as well try it this way.

Sarah -- Yes, that is the place where I used to live. For 30 years. Now you may know why I hate where I live now. That fence separated the house from the road and the beach (private beach I might add) ir right over those bushes.

Pattie -- Thanks. Shore Road Publishing is so apt. I think so anyway.

Pat -- Thanks Pat. But you have such a decidedly writerly name. My real one doesn't compare. And it's hard to pronounce correctly.

Katie -- Publishing is a process that has so many things to think about, I might as well share.

Susan -- Yes, that is really me in the picture. Honest. And if I ever meet you, by all means, call me Anne. I think of myself that way anyway.

Em -- You just really have to get into the mindset of being two people. I'm sure when you go to work on your commercials, you dress up and brush your teeth -- you wouldn't let anyone see the "real" side of you in yoga pants and bed head, right? Well, this is kind of the same thing. I have the "real me" in yoga pants and bed head, and then I have the Anne Gallagher me, professionally coiffed and dressed. LOL. Yeah, no, the Anne Gallagher side is so into yoga pants I think that's all I own anymore.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I hadn't thought about doing this, but I'm glad to have the information tucked away. Good on you for thinking it through.

JeannetteLS said...

I just stumbled in here for the first time through another site, and am I GLAD I DID. This entry is full of really useful information and I want to thank you for writing it. And looking just at this one page, I realize it's another place to follow and root around in this weekend. The Monster is being considered at every turn, it would seem.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Way to go Anne! You are an official business owner now.

Jamie D. said...

Congratulations on your new business name - it rolls off the tongue very nicely. :-)

I don't have kids, just a husband, but when I decided to self-pub I did the same thing. There are definite perks to publishing under a business name, one of which is better credibility with review sites and such (and readers who care about such things). The other is, if you ever decide to publish friends (I have a couple who will be publishing under my imprint), or do anthologies (again, something I just started), it's very nice and organized to have all that under an actual business set-up.

As you suggested above, I publish in several genres under different names, so my company serves as the umbrella to pull those all together. It eases the pressure of keeping up a bunch of different brands, because my company is my main brand. And it's definitely better to keep the money separate in a business account as well - much easier on the accounting, and psychologically as well.

So...very smart and well-thought out. :-)

Anne Gallagher said...

Tricia -- It's just another glimpse into another part of publishing you may or may not think about.

Jeannette -- WEll, thanks for hanging around. I try to be informative when I can. And yes, The Monster is my ONLY consideration.

Alex -- I am, and you know I really want to do a happy dance.

Jamie -- I didn't really think about the credibility issue but now that you mention it, yeah, I guess it does serve a higher purpose. And for me writing in different genres was the bonus. I couldn't figure out how to brand 3 different names without driving myself insane. So yeah, this was the best of the ideas. Thanks for stopping by.

Lydia Kang said...

This is fascinating. I've always wondered about how one would do one's own publishing company. Thanks Anne!

Francine Howarth: UK said...


Hee hee, I've always thought everyone on the Internet refrained from using "own name". It makes sense, because if you don't exist you're identity can't be traced/stolen even if you give away where you live, as in general area.

Clever you going for publisher name. My surname is not my own, but taken from family lineage. ;)


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Meant to say, Francine is not my first name and neatly in between, so again pretty much untraceable.

L'Aussie said...

Thank you Anne as always for your detailed approach to the business of e-pubbing. I learnt so much.

I didn't know you weren't using your real name. I do, now Francine (not her real name) is scaring me. Not really. I think crims need more than your name and general area to get nasty. I hope anyway.


Hannah Kincade said...

This is not my real name. I don't see anything wrong with publishing under psuedonymns. I think it's very cool to have your own publishing company. That's awesome. If I ever decide to stray from traditional publishing, that's a great idea!

Bish Denham said...

Of course I knew Anne is not your real name, but...I've already forgotten what your "real" name is! This is great information and if I ever decide to go this route I'll be picking your brain.

Tara said...

Wow, very informative. I may just need it one day. :-)

Anne Gallagher said...

Lydia -- You're very welcome.

Francine -- Learning so many things about my friends today. Awesome.

Denise -- You're welcome. It's the least I can do to pay it forward.

Hannah -- Oh Wow! I would never have guessed that. But as with everything else, surprises are always around the corner.

Bish -- That's just because I use Anne all the time. Pick away.

Tara -- Bookmark it and it's yours.

Hannah Kincade said...

I mean, my real first name is Hannah, but not the rest. ;)

Julie Musil said...

I had no idea Anne wasn't your real name! But I love the name Anne Gallagher, so you chose well :D

These issues are things I've never thought of, so I'm glad you told us about your experience. You're paving the way!

Ann Best said...

You'll always be Anne Gallagher, whoever you are! And I also love the name Long Shore Publishing. Years ago I self-published a small book of true stories and called my company Blue Sky Publications. I vaguely remember going through all the stuff you mention above, but I don't think I want to again, not at my age. But you're much younger... :-) !!!

What an interesting post. You are, as Julie above mentioned, paving the way. So much excellent information. I'm impressed with what you've learned and accomplished thus far. I also need to think about my child's/children's security down the road. But why should I worry? I'm going to live another 50 years. Yeah, right. To 120? Probably not. So these are definitely crucial things to think about.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

ali cross said...

I love the name of your company too! And I also really loved your reasons. My self-publishing ~ my book will be "out" 11/11. I *had* intended to just do it under my own name, because I thought the only reason not to was vanity. But you gave me some new things to think about. So much so that I think I ought to make my own little "house".

Thanks Anne!

Shilpa Mudiganti aka Shilpa M.Mirza said...

This is my first time on your site and there is so much to learn! Wow. Great advice. Having burnt my fingers twice with small presses now, i am seriously considering self-publishing. I wasn't sure if I should publish as an individual or a company because I thought opening a company will be pretty expensive. But you have laid it out so clearly here. Thank you so much. I have a question - if you publish other authors books as well under your company, do you still maintain sole proprietor? Are there any tax or other implications??

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