Making your own Publishing Imprint?


Hello everyone! This is a topic that pertains to self-publishing over traditional publishing.

I’ve been really interested in making my own Publishing Imprint for my self published works. I think it’s a great idea, as just having a logo and a publisher to put on a book cover’s spine and back ads a look of legitimacy to the buyer. I also like the idea of being able to group works in one place, as I’m considering adopting different pen names for different kinds of works (one for sci-fi, another for journals, etc.)

I don’t mean that I want to become a publisher and take in other people’s submissions, etc. It would be a publishing imprint that wouldn’t make me any money, it would just exist as a way to add legitimacy to works visually. I’ve read up on other self-published authors doing this for themselves.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience in this? This is one of the articles that sparked the interest in me:


It’s fairly common for self publishers. As you said, it helps with branding. I think, assuming you create an actual company, it’s also a help on your taxes. (I think. Not my area of expertise! Pretty sure Michael could tell you.)


Ironically, as a bookkeeper, the taxes angle might be more my area of expertise. At least, if I wanted to make it a full company, I actually know a little something about how to file my own invoicing, etc. But is it worth the effort?

EDIT: I’m really curious about not registering as a company right off the bat, but then again, I might not legally be able to do that in Canada. I might have register and fork out the cash. And then, is that another website I want to maintain? Does it become lying to masquerade as an imprint if I’m just “trading as”?


Oh, man, I love that Blue Bedlam Imprint.

I was considering making my own imprint but in the end I didn’t. I think it’s personal preference - for me, I kind of felt like making an imprint was a teensy bit disingenuous, like I was trying to trick readers into thinking I was trad pub. I’m proud of my work, so I’ll stand behind my own name. But that’s just me. If I had as cool an image as Blue Bedlam I’d probably want to use it.


That’s part of it for me. How far before it’s really just lying, you know? Even if your imprint website states that its trading as?

But then, I do think it might be helpful if I start adopting different names for different genres, or even help others to self publish (I dont mean charge, I just mean let them borrow the imprint name and logo to do the same thing I’m doing). I like the idea of building it up to Include different authors besides myself, but then, is that even more disingenuous???

(EDIT: I also love the Blue Bedlam logo. Just really good branding I think!!!)


Huh. I think, as a reader, if I encountered this, it would feel deceptive to me. Most readers probably don’t look up publishers - but then, most readers won’t consciously notice a logo or lack thereof. Anyway, not to cast judgment on your ACTUAL motivations, but I think if I won a book from goodreads (for example), looked up the publisher, and found out that the publisher only published one author under several pen names, I would think “Oh, they’re trying to trick people into thinking there’s some gatekeeper out there who approves of this book. They’re basically making up credentials.”


No, my actual motivation is to add legitimacy, I don’t think you’re wrong. No offense taken :slight_smile:


I’ve been publishing under a simple imprint “Icy Road Publishing” because I publish not only my work, but also Short Fiction that my mother wrote and that I’m editing.

I haven’t incorporated or anything like that, because the earnings aren’t there. But since I’ve got so many e-books (29) it’s easier to have that kind of branding and advertising.

I think there’s a category called ‘single author publishing companies’ that is for Indie Authors who want that kind of umbrella. I know that KKR and DWS, two authors with several pen names who are married to each other, use WMD Publishing as an umbrella for all their work.

I usually publish my stuff as “Icy Road Publishing” presents: ______. So I can’t talk about myself in the 3rd person and not sound like I’m crazy.


I created the US-based company “Wildfire Fiction” as a sole proprietorship to publish my own books and to sell related merchandise. It’s a bit more work up front to set this up, but one of the benefits is that you can write off things like the cost of editors and cover designers, writing/formatting software, books on the craft of writing, part of your house (i.e. where you write), new computers (your writing tools), travel (say, for book tours, or research for settings) and so on as business expenses. Small business legal conditions vary from place to place, so you’ll want to check your local laws, tax rules, fees etc. before doing anything hasty.


I know a few local self-published authors who have done this, and I think it does lend a sense of ‘legitimacy’, quote, unquote.

On the note of not registering as a company right away… the tax factor has been mentioned, but I work in film and what I know is that when film production companies produce a new film, they always create a new company specific for that film. Like, Regency will have a sub-company for any film they produce and this is because it protects their assets. If that film is sued, unless their are particular circumstances, the film can only be sued as the sub-company, rather than it effecting the whole megaladon thing. It also protects individuals from being sued.

From that perspective, for legal reasons, it may be better for you to create the company early so in case anything somehow goes completely sideways, your personal assets are protected.


i founded a publishing company back in the days when ISBN numbers in the UK/Ireland were only available to publishers. I can also offset my losses against my employee income and claim 40% taxes back. I plan on publishing under different pen names and are also releasing a supplemental poetry book to my series from another author under the same label. I do believe it adds credibility, and it can be a way to limit liability.


I thought about doing it myself as well, but it’s just too much work and time to put in–money as well–(being realistic here) and I’m getting older by the minute.

I think I’ll be dead by the end of next week. lol


I have a company because that’s how I have structured my business tax-wise. It is something to consider when setting up retailer accounts. Sole traders and companies need to complete different tax forms and if you start your business as one it can be very difficult to switch to another.

If you’re going to create an imprint and incorporate, do it because it makes business sense. Not looking self published at a quick glance is something other authors worry about, not readers. 99.9% of readers don’t care who published a book, they follow authors not publishers :wink:


The more I look into it, the better I like having my own imprint. I have years of book keeping experience, I could do the paper work. The expenses aren’t actually much, and can be done overtime. 50 bucks here, 50 there, etc.

A sole proprietorship seems my best bet, makes filing my taxes easier, but then that doesn’t necessarily protect me either.