How to Start a Publishing Company

Mar 27, 2023 · 6 minutes to read

A women proofreading and working process

Book publishing is an exciting and rewarding industry. For many aspiring authors, starting a publishing company is an opportunity to share their own work. But over time, you may decide to help other writers fulfill their publishing dreams, too.

Starting a small press publishing company is relatively easy. Technology has made publishing cheaper and more accessible, though you’ll still need to put in plenty of hard work to make your business a success. However, you could be publishing your first book or magazine in a matter of months!

What do publishing companies do?

You probably have a general idea of what publishing companies do: publish books. While this is true, there’s a bit more to the job.

Publishing companies often publish content other than physical books, including ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. They may contribute to the editing process to ensure that what they publish meets their company standards. Once something is published, they help market and sell the content.

Small publishing companies may publish a handful of books and magazines a year, compared to hundreds by larger publishing houses.

How to start a publishing company

Ready to open a publishing business? Here are six steps to help you set up your own media publishing company.

1. Set your goals

Before you jump into the publishing world, it may help to clearly define your goals and what you want your business to achieve. You might want to consider:

  • Whose work will you publish? This may be your own, other authors’ works or a combination of the two.
  • What format(s) will you publish? This might be print, digital, audiobooks, or a combination.
  • Are you filling a niche in the industry? For example, your company might publish only science fiction, works by women, or industry magazines.
  • How much do you expect to earn? You may set revenue or sales goals that you hope to reach.
  • What will be your biggest challenges? These could be anything, from finding new authors to building effective marketing plans.

A publishing business plan could help you work through these questions and set your goals. Your business plan can be a valuable tool for navigating your first few years in publishing by helping you make strategic decisions.

2. Create a brand

Branding helps make your publishing company enticing to writers, booksellers, and readers. A good brand is memorable and affects nearly every aspect of your business, including:

  • Business name
  • Logo
  • Colors and fonts used in marketing material
  • The tone of voice or language
  • Mission statement
  • Types of books you publish

You may decide to hire a marketing specialist and graphic designer to help you polish your brand, design a logo, and create your website.

3. Register your business

It’s time to tackle the admin of setting up a media publishing company! This includes choosing a business structure, applying for a business license, and taking care of other steps that are required by your state or local government.

How to register a business varies between states (and sometimes local areas). Check your state and local government websites for up-to-date information on starting a book publishing company in our area.

4. Set up your financials

Opening separate bank accounts for your business may be a wise choice. Keeping your personal and business finances separate can make filing your taxes easier. It also makes it simpler to track spending and budget for business expenses.

Most businesses in the U.S. are required to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for an EIN through the IRS website or by mail or fax.

Finally, you might consider hiring a part-time or freelance bookkeeper to help track your business finances. If extra help is outside your budget, you could invest in accounting software designed specifically for small business owners.

5. Consider insurance for publishers

Protecting your publishing company may be important to you. Publishing business insurance is one way to do this. There are different types of insurance for publishers that you might consider, such as:

  • Professional Liability – Protects you from claims raised due to unintentional mistakes made in the professional capacity.
  • General Liability – Protects businesses against the risk of customer injury and property damage.
  • Business Owner’s Policy – A combination of policies, combining covers such as General Liability insurance and business personal property coverage, to help protect small businesses from costly interruptions to service.
  • Workers’ Compensation – Provides protection for employers if an employee suffers a work-related illness or injury.

In some cases, publishing business insurance may be required by law, to lease commercial space for your business, or to work with specific clients.

6. Publish, market and sell!

Once you’ve officially started your publishing company, it’s time to get down to the real work. Choose a manuscript to work with and get it ready to upload or print. This may include editing and formatting the text, as well as commissioning artwork for the cover.

From there, you’ll need to pull together a strong marketing plan that gets booksellers and readers interested in your book or magazine. Social media, press releases, print ads, and author interviews may be part of your marketing plans.

How BizInsure helps publishers

We hope these tips are helpful as you start a publishing company. And as you begin to write your own success, BizInsure is here to help you protect it.

BizInsure specializes in insurance for small businesses. We connect publishers with great insurance options that are tailor-made for the writing world. From Professional Liability to Workers’ Compensation, BizInsure can help you save on publishing business insurance from top-rated insurers.

Compare insurance for publishers today and protect your growing business!

As with any insurance, coverage will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this guide is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.
The number of quotes provided varies between products, occupations and other underwriting factors determined by the insurers.
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