by Neil Chopra
This is an entry in a series of articles describing the process I went through to self-publish my first book: Perpetual Patterns. Instead of providing generic tutorials, these articles focus on describing exactly what I did in detail.
This article will describe the simple steps I took to setup my own publishing imprint (Shadow Script) for Perpetual Patterns. Please note that this is completely optional when getting your work out there. Most services provide a free alternative where you don’t need to provide your own ISBN or publishing imprint, and you can avoid the costs described below. I wanted to fully go through the experience and see what it would take to establish one, so I decided to go down that route.
I was really at a loss trying to initially figure out the legal requirements, and ad-hoc searching wasn’t providing me with the answers I needed. I then stumbled upon a wonderful article on Lighthouse24 which gives a great introduction to what an imprint is, and breaks down the different requirements of getting one setup. I should also mention these folks are very active on the CreateSpace forums, and seem to give great, honest advice. I followed their steps as described below.
I had a name in mind going into this project: “Shadow Script”. My gaming alias (and now Twitter account) as far back as I can remember has always been “ShadowNNC”: I like the sound of the word, and I use it everywhere. I also like the word “Script” because it implies a style of writing, as opposed to “Press” or “Books” or other more specific mediums of printing. Anyway, it fit for what I wanted.
When registering the imprint in my state (described below), an address is required, and I didn’t want my home address used. I also wanted an official spot where mail could be sent, so I rented out a post office box. This address is actually listed in the book itself, and I utilized it when registering the business name.
Each state has different requirements for using a trade name, and the Lighthouse24 article provides a fantastic breakdown for each one. For example, there isn’t a legal requirement to register a trade name in Arizona, but it must be done at the county level in California (where I live). In addition, I needed to list the new business name in a local newspaper for four weeks so there could be an opportunity for someone to object if necessary. The county filing ended up being $30, the newspaper listing was $50 total.
There are a few other steps lined out in the Lighthouse24 article for setting up the business, but I stopped here to keep it as simple as possible. I do not sell the book on my own, it is all done through other retailers (i.e. Amazon, Barnes & Noble). As such, I didn’t need to go through the process of getting a business license, Employer Identification Number, or separate checking account. All the royalties go straight to me (and are taxed as income), the imprint is simply a fictitious business name I can use.
At this point, having the imprint setup, I was ready to create a publisher account with Bowker and purchase ISBNs for my own use. They cost either $125 for one, or $250 for ten. I chose to buy the bulk amount because I wanted a separate ISBN for each version of the book. At the point of publishing for each of the services I have used (CreateSpace, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBook) I was able to list “Shadow Script” as the publisher and provided a unique ISBN.
It is a pretty straightforward process once you figure out the requirements of your local area. I don’t have any official website setup, or press releases for the imprint, or anything like that. I wanted the simplest solution to brand Perpetual Patterns with my own stamp. The name “Shadow Script” is just an alias for me to use when publishing my work; I’m not interested in hiding the fact that it is just me behind it!
If you’re thinking of establishing your own imprint, I hope this article points you in the right direction. Feel free to comment or send me an email if you have any questions!