I’m not sure if it’s the six Miller High Life I just drank or if it’s maybe that my near-complete separation from Facebook and all the other frenetic bullshit of the world has brightened my mood, but I’m here to talk about something I recently did that I’m pretty excited about.
I’ve been self-publishing for about a year and a half now. I started out slow in late 2011, peaked in January 2012, watched the post-Christmas drop with trepidation before realizing I was caught up in a cycle I was too green to realize. Sales went up in the summer and fall and then, to be frank, kicked ass December 2012 and January/February 2013 (and have been pretty damn good in March too).
I kept expecting people to just stop buying my books, but they haven’t. And I just keep writing them. Since folks seem interested in keeping up that business model I decided to make it official.
Enter Elegy Publishing.
Elegy Publshing is an LLC that I registered with the state of Missouri. EP is the publishing arm of me, Brian J. Jarrett. Brian J. Jarrett writes the books, Elegy Publishing gets them into ebook and print.
Of course it’s me, but not exactly. Starting an LLC has a few advantages:
- If someone decides to sue me then I have some limited liability. They can possibly take the business’ assets, but not mine. I’m not too worried about, but there is that.
- It says to readers that I give a fuck about quality. By going through all the trouble of running an actual business (a federal tax ID, a business checking account, a business PayPal account, etc) it means that I care about the quality of the books I write. I run a publishing company and I care about what it produces.
- It also allows me, Brian J. Jarrett, to focus on writing as its own thing, separate from the business. When I’m not writing I mentally switch hats and look at things through Elegy Publishing’s goggles. I can mentally separate the roles, allowing me to compartmentalize the time accordingly. I pay my editor and proofreader now from the business’s checking account, as well as my cover art licenses and any other business expenses.
- I might also be able to publish other authors in the future.
With all my business expenses separated it really makes things feel like a true business. I’m considering producing an audio version of Into the Badlands, published through Elegy Publishing. It’s a business investment. You wouldn’t believe how having separate banking accounts legitimizes one’s writing as a true business.
Setting up an LLC is pretty easy. Missouri’s website allowed me to do everything online. I was also able to get a Federal tax ID online as well. I had to change all my self-publishing accounts (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, CreateSpace, etc.) to now deposit royalties to my new business bank account. All but Barnes and Noble were easy peasy. I think it cost me less than $100 to get all the paperwork, open a business checking account and buy checks.
So if you’re serious about self-publishing as a business you might want to consider starting an LLC. While there are some legal advantages I think the mental separation of the writing and the publishing tasks helps the self-publisher keep the two processes separate.
There’s tremendous value in that, at least in my opinion.