There are many avenues you can pursue when starting a publishing company, so it helps to start with a narrow focus. Once you’ve gained experience, you can continue to develop your chosen niche, or you can branch out as your interests or the markets change. We'll discuss all the steps you need to take to start your own publishing company.

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Find Your Niche

You may already have a very precise idea of what you want to publish. But, if not, here are some questions you should ask yourself: Are you going to do print or electronic, or both? Are you going to do full production (from concept to finished piece), or just some part of the process? What are you going to publish: News or literary periodicals? Nonfiction or fiction books? Industry-specific marketing materials, or something you have a specific passion for already? How will the material be warehoused, distributed, and sold? Are you simply doing work-for-hire for clients, or are you seeking original material that you will sponsor as a publisher?

Once you’ve figured out what your content will be, you should pinpoint your market. If you are publishing online, is your market the readers of your material? Or is it the advertisers who will actually pay for the site? You may discover that you have to market to a number of groups to generate the traffic you need (readers) to get the dollars you need (advertisers). Your careful analysis and definition of your market may be one of the most important components of your Business Plan.

Stay Ahead

Your financing needs will differ significantly depending on your business model. If you are taking the risk to sponsor the production of a book, you may not get a return on your investment for 12 months or more. You will need more upfront operating capital than if your model has clients paying you before you even begin work. Answering these questions may help you fine-tune your Business Plan, get your financing lined up before you open for business, and stay ahead of the cash-crunch curve.

It may also be a good idea to find a copyright attorney before you even begin. Copyright law can be complex, especially because of the Internet and its ever-changing components. Whether you need to know which rights you are purchasing from writers or how to protect your published materials, you may find it helpful to find someone who can navigate you through the complicated world of copyright law.

When you are first starting out, you may find it more economical to use independent contractors for your staffing needs. There is a variety of online job boards that allow you to find professional writers and editors who are eager to work on a contract basis. We have a Writer Contract and Editor Contract to help you get started.

If you are doing work-for-hire for your clients, you are providing a service. You can protect your investment in your new business by using a properly drafted contract for services. We have customizable Service Contracts available for what you may need.

Other Considerations

Determining the legal structure of your business is also an important step in starting a publishing business. The decision to organize as a Corporation (S or C) or Limited Liability Company (or some other form) has consequences for the way you are taxed, your exposure to liability, and how you make decisions in your new business. Once you decide which structure you want to use for your new business, you can streamline the incorporation process by using our convenient online incorporation service to file your paperwork.

Get started Start Your Incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.