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Dec. 2, 2021

“How Do I Create My Publishing Imprint?”

“How Do I Create My Publishing Imprint?”

EP015. Join best-selling author and coach, Lanette Pottle, each week to get your burning self-publishing questions answered. In this week’s episode, she walks you through the four main steps of creating your own publishing imprint.

The conversation continues over at the She Gets Published Community. Join us there!


Hey, hey my soon-to-be-published author friend. Welcome to episode fourteen. Today we’re going to take a deeper dive into one of the top five self-publishing recommendations I shared back on episode four -- creating your own publishing imprint. 

As a reminder, the reason for creating your own publishing imprint is important because instead of your publisher of record being your distributor you’ll be able to publish under the name you choose. When you are the publisher of record it creates the opportunity for you to be able to directly negotiate to get your book into physical bookstores among other things. 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this conversation it is important for me to remind you that I am NOT a lawyer or accountant and that legal business requirements vary by physical location. Today’s conversation is a jumping-off point. The information I’m about to share is meant to get you pointed in the right direction but is by no means legal or tax advice. As with all decisions of this nature, it’s critical to do your due diligence.

Alright, with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump into the four major steps of creating your own publishing imprint. 

Step One: The very first thing you’ll want to decide is whether you will start a separate business entity for your publishing imprint or if it’ll tuck under the umbrella of your current business. Either way, keep in mind that you’ll need an EIN number (employer identification number) to provide to your distributor so they can pay out your royalties. 

A couple of quick notes here: To be clear, if you do not create your own imprint and use your distributor as your publisher of record, you would use your social security number to identify yourself. You only need an EIN if you create an imprint. 

Also, before moving on, I want to mention that depending on your location, you may need to register your business locally in addition to nationally. Please do your research here and if you need help, you can do a google search for your local SCORE office for support. 

Alright, On to Step Two: It’s now time to decide on the name and the image you’ll use to represent your publishing imprint. Don’t overthink this, but also do your research to make sure the name you choose isn’t in use. 

In my case, I chose Positivity Lady Press as the name for my imprint for a couple of reasons -- one is because it hints at the type of books I publish and who I serve plus it pays homage to an earlier point in my career when my online persona was Positivity Lady. I chose a whimsical, radiating sun with a heart at its center to further reflect the values and purpose of my imprint -- the books I publish are meant to educate, uplift, and inspire. 

Something to keep in mind here is that you’ll want a relatively simple image since one of the places you’ll want to use it is on the spine of your books which, even on a hefty volume, provides very limited space so details will get lost in the printing. 

That brings us to step three...It’s straightforward but often overlooked. It's time to set up a business bank account. Even if your business entity is that of a sole proprietor, you’ll want to keep your business finances separate from your personal ones. HINT here: When setting up your business account you will need to have the EIN number handy-- the one we talked about back in step one.

Finally, Step Four: Purchase your ISBN numbers using the name of your publishing imprint. In the US, Bowker is the company that oversees this. I’ll share their web address in the show notes so you can easily find them.

After you’ve officially established your publishing imprint, you are an independent publisher. There’s still lots to learn and best practices to follow but this is an important step in paving the way to future opportunities not only in writing but in publishing, too. 

Now, on to this week’s challenge: Dedicate some time to researching whether creating your own publishing imprint is the best choice for you, right now -- -- based on your goals and circumstances... and if it is, take the steps needed to get started.