Make a Lasting First Impression

Don’t just publish your book… Turn it into a legitimate business

Diona L. Reeves
6 min readApr 19

Photo by Microsoft 365 on Unsplash

With all the decisions required for indie publishing, the need to form an official business structure may be the last thing on your mind.

It was for me, too. I was more worried about character development and storyline for The Prescott Diaries… You know, all those things you have to do before you can even think about formatting or publishing a novel.

But then I read Think Like a Publisher by Wesley Dean Smith, and it got my mental wheels turning. I already have an established freelance business. Was it beneficial (or necessary) to create a separate entity for my publishing efforts?

Smith wrote his book in 2012, but his stance on creating a legitimate publishing business is still valid in today’s world of self-publishing. Unless your writing income falls below the latest IRS guidelines for declarable income in the United States, deciding how to proceed with the business side of self-publishing is just as important as picking a cover and editing your manuscript.

I don’t know about you, but I hope to make money off my books someday. Controlling my writing output is one reason I became an indie publisher, but I also recognize the legal and financial obligations it entails.

For anyone on the fence about whether to establish a legitimate business for their self-publishing efforts, here are the lessons I learned along the way and the reasoning behind these decisions.

1 — Having a unique name simplifies things.

Before you can proceed with any sort of business structure, you need an official name.

Using your legal name is one option, but there are several issues with this approach. If your name is common or someone is already using it, for example, separating your product from theirs can be difficult. Sometimes altering the spelling of your name or using .info or .biz in the extension helps, but there’s no guarantee it will eliminate confusion. And if someone has to dig too hard to find you, chances are good they will move on.

But issues can arise with unique names, too. If the name you choose was once used by someone…

Diona L. Reeves

Author of The Prescott Diaries. Writes articles on productivity, the writing process, and this thing called life.