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?