In This Episode
Since I’m starting a publishing business, what do I need?
Hosted, produced, mixed, edited & scored by Mark
Welcome to ApexThis podcast. A podcast about…podcasting. Or rather, a chronicle of my journey to start a publishing side business. So, what is that? How does one get started?
While the act of podcasting for me is young, I’ve always seen myself as a publisher and toyed with self-publishing. When I was younger I aimed at being a songwriter at the head of my own company. Every song I wrote not only included a “written by” notation but also included my to-be company name “Mastermind Entertainment”.
Suffice to say, I never formed such a company, but I always represented myself in that manner when it came to writing songs and shopping around for a singer to perform them. Being so adamant to retaining my publisher’s fee, I backed away from any agreements that broached that territory. And let me tell you, there were many that wanted to scam you of every right you had or trick you into selling your songs outright.
And so the dream continued. Songs that I wrote were labeled with my to-be publishing company name. Short stories were no different.
So, what changed? Why now?
Sometimes we convince ourselves that things weren’t meant to be. We let an unknown guardian block our path and in doing so, we sometimes get lost. But if it was truly meant to be, it would be. You will see the signs sprinkled about you and if you stop long enough, you’ll see that what you were meant to do, never left. For myself, it has been writing and speaking. And over the years, I have used both to give speeches, presentations, and talks. My songwriting ceased for a period of time and I took up technical and copy writing. Neither were ever done as a primary function but I found that I was so at ease with writing and speaking and that I truly enjoyed it. Others noticed this too.
And so I thought, maybe I’m not half bad at this. Maybe I should focus on these two areas, improve my writing, and learn the art of storytelling.
I went back to writing; stretching my ability to its max and learning all that I can. This meant I started reading more, exposing myself to different writing styles and breaking down the author’s themes and plots. Then I joined Toastmasters, a public speaking organization. With its workbook, I figured I could improve my writing with targeted goals and then improve my speaking with the delivery of my writing and enhance my ability to tell a story.
This renewed passion has brought me back to my younger days, where I would sign all my writing with the name of my to-be publishing company name. But this time, that company will be real and that company will be an independent publisher.
But first, I need to take baby steps. I have to build a name.
Publishing is an interesting business. It is not uncommon for a writer to start a publishing company. For starters, writing is your work, so you should treat it like a business. Establishing a publishing company helps separate your personal finances from that of your business or rather, your writing. It also helps elevate you to being seen as a professional and adds weight to your publishing.
Beyond that, you retain publishers right! In music, for example, you write the song, you have the copyright. When you join a publisher, they become co-owner of the copyright. If you are your own publisher you retain that publisher’s right, therefore, you get the full portion of your royalties. There is much more to it than that but the crux is, you retain your rights and full control.
If we apply this to book publishing this means more work for the writer. As the publisher, you front the money for advances, editing, design, marketing and more. You oversee the creation of the book from beginning to end. The reward is that when it sells, you take a bigger cut of the pie than if you were with a publisher. For many writers, they just want to write and not deal with the rest of the process. And that’s totally OK.
If a writer has foregone the traditional route of publishing and establishes a company for themselves, then they will likely begin publishing their own material before publishing work of others. This is where I put the little pin on the map that says “you are here.” This is where the hard work comes in. This is where one must grind.
If I aim to be an independent publisher, then I must have work to publish. That means that I must continue writing. I have no worries in that department as I have a world that I must build. A world that I need to share with you. And if I can build this world, and learn to produce it through audio, then I can begin to create a name for myself and have a resume of work that will get other small writers to give me a chance in sharing their stories in audio form.
With two podcasts under my belt that help me learn in all aspects, I will be pushing forward with a mini project I created a year ago. It will contain an audiobook, an e-book, and a print book. I’m pretty excited about this as this is going to be a fantastic learning opportunity. And I’m going to be sharing it with you all.
So, let’s recap. As a writer, I’m going to treat my writing as a business with the goal of expanding from my own publishing projects to others. I have the content that I’ve authored myself. The hope is that this content and skills gained will help build my resume.
What’s next? Oh, money.
How does one get funding? The easy answer, look for people to give you money. That can be donations given from family and friends. That can also mean searching for funding from investors if you want to go big time.
Funding from yourself is an obvious and most likely route for many and has been the route that I’ve taken but of course, I haven’t necessarily had a big project to fund, yet. Many authors also combine their personal funding with Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Not only is this a great way to drum up support but it’s also a great pre-order system to see how many people are interested in your book or product.
It doesn’t stop there, another big source of funding for content creators is patreon. It allows people that believe in you to personally fund your work via subscription. And there is nothing greater than that.
So, you have your funding, you have the content to create your book or podcast. What else do you need? Only the most important commodity of them all, time.