Tightening Up the Business Structure of Your Writing

I have had this post sitting in my drafts since October 2019. I didn’t want to publish it until I had tightened up my own business structure and then Corona hit and I thought, “Maybe this isn’t appropriate right now” and I put it off. I have a habit of meditating on what I have to do throughout the day before I get up from the bed. This morning I thought, “Wait a minute, this could actually be the perfect time to present this information.”

Even though there aren’t many people working and the world is sick, this could be the perfect time for us to plan, organize, and restructure some things. The other day we cleaned out a closet that had served as the junk closet since we moved in, and Moshe (Husband) organized the garage. These days, we are paying attention to things we have neglected to give much attention to. Why not include our writing business too? Whether you will use this information now or later, this is an excellent time to give it some thought.

In the Beginning

For Self-Publishing a book, things are relatively easy in the beginning. You create a KDP account, connect your bank account (so you can get paid your royalties) and you are set. You can also create a PayPal account to collect funds from books bought through your website or blog and get a card reader to accept payments on the go, such as at book signings.

UPDATE: Card readers are becoming more outdated as apps like Cash App and Zelle become increasingly popular. I highly recommend authors to have a Cash App for book signings and festivals.

Next Level

Depending on your financial situation, it may be necessary to level up if you’ve been at this awhile.

How do you level up from this basic structure? How do you go from author to authorpreneur?

Author + Entrepreneurial Practices = Authorpreneur

An authorpreneur is an author with entrepreneurial practices. 

If publishing a book is like opening a business, you can do things to make sure you are running it like one.

It’s not 2008 and Self-Publishing is not what it used to be. The standards are higher.

Anyone can publish a book today (even if they aren’t good writers), by uploading a Word Document or PDF to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. In the past, this has brought down the quality of the prestigious process of book publishing and, specifically, Indie Book Publishing. Today, though, the stigma attached to Self-Publishing is fading, and authors who publish top-quality material are being separated from those who do not.

With the current Pandemic ravaging the world, realizing the value of Indie Publishing, social media, and doing business online is apparent now more than ever. A lot of brick and mortar bookstores are closed, and some will not reopen.

The basic system I started this post out as is good initially, but the Indie Author who goes beyond the bare minimum will set themselves apart from the pack.

Create a business name/structure that is legal and connected to a business bank account.

When your business grows, you will discover how important it is to have a legal business structure. It has done wonders for me and helps me keep up with how much is coming in and going out, which helps me have a realistic picture of my ROI or return on investment.  You work hard to write these books, publish them and spend good money to get them out into the world. Don’t let all this hard work go to waste.

You can get away with using a Pseudonym or creative business name at first, but if you are serious about using that name for specific projects, you will need it to be legit. What happens if someone sends you a check in your fake business name and you have not made it legal? Without a business bank account in that name, you will not be able to cash it.

    • Decide if you want to be a Sole Proprietorship, LLC, Corporation, Non-Profit (if you publish books for charity) or any other structure that suits you.

* Most people do not recommend a Sole Proprietorship, but it will work just fine. I am all about keeping things simple.

  • Set up a business bank account – You can set up your bank account once you have your business structure in place and monitor just how much is coming in from your book sales and other author endeavors separate from other forms of income. You will get a business debit/bank card and checks to use for your business. You can even establish a line of credit.
  • Creating a business structure can motivate you because you get to see your writing as a real business and not just a fancy play-name. You can get logos made if you want and do transactions under this name which comes in handy when completing W-9 forms and other paperwork that may be required for you to get paid.

Stay Legally Compliant

  • With a business structure, you will need to keep your business compliant with state and federal business laws. The requirements will vary based on your business structure. (For instance, the conditions are more strict for corporations than LLC’s). An example is that you may have to file once a year with a filing fee of maybe $30 to stay in compliance. The process is not tedious, and you may even be able to do it online. For details on staying compliant, you can visit the small business administration website here.

If you don’t stay compliant your business will fall into an inactive status.

Publish Your Books Under Your Own Imprint

Once you have your legal business structure and business bank account in place, it is time to publish your books like you own your business.

  • Buy Your ISBNs – The ISBN is a unique identifier for a book issued by an ISBN registration agency. In the US, this agency is Bowker.* In some other countries, the ISBN is free, but in the US they are not. They are expensive, so it’s best to buy them in bulk if you can. You can buy a block of ten which would cover ten separate paperback or hardcopy books. KDP, Lulu, and other POD (Print on Demand) companies do provide ISBNs for free if you absolutely cannot afford to buy one

But…

Free assigned ISBNs belong to the company that issues it, such as KDP or Lulu. This means they (KDP/Lulu/Other said company) are listed as the publishers of that book, not you.

*There are tons of fake ISBN companies out there. If you are in the US, be sure you purchase your ISBN from Bowker.

Once you have your own company, you will want to have your books listed under your company name. If you are the publisher, you should be listed as the publisher. If ownership is important to you, buying your own ISBNs is something you might want to look into.

With your company name legalized, your business structure secure, your EIN in hand, your bank account set up, and books under your ISBN, you have positioned yourself as a serious business person. It is now easier than ever for high-profile people to do business with you.

It’s easy to go the free route, but free is limiting, and it does not always set you apart. Creating an actual business complete with the necessary paperwork makes it easier for you to stay organized, file taxes, rise above the crowd, and stand out as a professional author.

Extra Tips

  • Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created. Don’t let scam publishing companies fool you by saying “Keep 100% of Your Copyright.” This means they are promising you something you already have. For publishing rights (different from copyright) all you have to do is buy your own ISBN. If you want to go the extra mile and register a copyright with the copyright office you can do that inexpensively at copyright.gov.
  • When tightening up your writing business, be sure you have both a paperback and a digital version of your book available.

I talk a lot about paperbacks because a). I have personally done better with paperbacks and b). authors can sell paperbacks through their own author website along with cool author swag and things instead of relying only on Amazon. However, that doesn’t negate the importance of having digital versions of your book available too. We are living in a digital age, and with everything being online, authors without digital books will be left out. Brick and Mortar bookstores without an online presence are struggling right now.

For those who sell paperbacks, consider lowering your print book price if you do not see sales. I love buying paperbacks from Indies, but a lot of them are also costly. I am not saying you can’t raise your price (I have a separate post about that here), that there aren’t people who will buy at that price, or that your book isn’t quality enough to sell that price.

I am only saying to be realistic.

Who is buying a $30 (plus s&h) 100-page paperback from an unknown first-time Self-Published Author?

Do what works for you, but make sure you are being practical.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

When I first drafted this post, I watched a video of Tyler Perry advising entrepreneurs. I am not a big Perry fan, but when people are advising about business, I listen. Perry talked about entrepreneurs learning when to let go. Here, he meant letting go of business practices that no longer serve you once your business grows. He spoke of not being so used to how it has always been done that we are not open to change. For example, Perry’s sister used to keep receipts in a folder, but as Tyler’s business grew, that kind of accounting system no longer worked for taxes. Not when you have over 400 employees.

As professional Indie Authors, we must have the same mindset. This may not be ideal for everyone, but if you fit one of these categories a legal business name and account may be worth it:

  • You’ve been publishing awhile and you are making a significant income from your books and services.
  • You want to separate your personal funds (finances from your day job or other income) from your book business.

Want more Indie Author Tips? Visit the Indie Author Basics with EC page here!


My Author Presence online now looks like this. Please take note of the new twitter handle and Facebook Page.
👉Instagram: @yecheilyah
👉Twitter: @yecheilyah

Indie Author Tip: Consider Raising Your Book Prices

My new book releases on May 30, 2018 and is $12.00 to pre-order the paperback (this includes shipping within the U.S.) and I am not ashamed of that. I am worth it. Surely, those who support me can spend $12 in support of an Independent Author who does it all herself. I am not signed with a traditional or small press publisher, Literary Korner Publishing is my business (spelled with a K on purpose) and I run it myself. This book will be available for pre-order in ebook soon at $2.99 and will go up once the book is out. This thought led me to an Indie Author Tip I thought I’d share.

UPDATE: Revolution is now available. ORDER HERE.

There’s nothing wrong with charging what you’re worth. There are lots of books on Amazon that are free. According to Google, there are between 40 – 60,000 free books swimming in the Amazon sea. Many of them are also poorly edited (if at all) and mediocre in production. If you’ve been publishing awhile, consider raising your book prices. Usually, when people pay for something, they invest their time in it because they don’t want to waste their money. Even if they dislike the book and feel like they did waste money, they still read it. Paying for anything adds value and when people buy something of value they feel committed to not wasting it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to sit on people’s Kindles. I write books so that people can read them. Not so that I can say I’m an author and feel awesome about myself. No. I write to be read.

  • People are more invested in things they pay for. Higher pricing means higher quality
  • Pricing is positioning
  • Pricing is not length but value

If you’re not a new author (meaning you have multiple titles out) consider raising your ebook prices above 99cents and I would go as far as to say to do this for preorders as well. The reason is like I already said, there are tons of books available for 99cents already and they are poorly produced. Even if you sweat blood writing your book, paid good money to edit your book and paid good money for a decent cover (not to mention if you paid for formatting), to some readers it won’t matter. They will see your price and ignore it on the way to the “good” stuff.

Some people are also brand buyers. This means that they only buy stuff that are named-brands. This could be a book, a shoe or an article of clothing. But many of us are not famous writers and we are not well known (yet). For this, we are inferior by definition. We are not actually inferior of course, but brand-buyers don’t care how cheap the book is if they never heard of the author or are not familiar with the writing. They are not going to buy the book no matter how cheap it is.

I am no one special and you don’t have to listen to me. I am sure there are better articles written by better writers. However, I do pay attention and my suggestion would be that if you are a new author (never published a book before), set your price to 99cents for pre-order for the ebook and then raise the price (not too high though, remember no one knows you yet) when the book releases. If you are not a new author (multiple titles out) and you know that your book is a good read (you got good feedback on it, you got it edited and all that) I would say to start setting your ebook pre-order prices higher than the 99cent price point.

I would recommend 99cents or free only for a limited time. Maybe your book is free for one day or 99cents for one week but I would recommend putting a limit on it. I think that Indie Publishing has progressed tremendously and that better quality books are expected. You would not see a famous traditionally published author (who actually writes good books) with an ebook for pre-order at 99cents and as a reader, I notice that books above 99cents are the books that are actually worth the read.


Nora White

Mock Book Two

Can you afford to be an Indie Author? | Angela J. Ford

Finances are a big deal when it comes to Indie Book Publishing. For those who want to do it right, it pays in more ways than one to have a budget for every book you intend to publish. Check out this article from Angela Ford on ways to break it down and later, I’ll publish a separate post on how I break down the costs for my very own books. Until then, enjoy:

“Can you afford to be an indie author? As independent authors, we have to be aware of the way cost plays into self-publishing. Cost can mean the difference between turning book publishing into a business versus having a very expensive hobby. The question is, how much is too much? When do you know if your books are bringing in a positive return on investment?” – Angela J. Ford

Keep reading through to the original article here.

The Broke Author’s Secret Weapon – A Guest Post By Yecheilyah Ysrayl

What’s the broke author’s secret weapon? My guest blog post with Kevin Morris.

K Morris - Poet

Thank you to Yecheilyah Ysrayl for the below guest post:

Can we be real?

Self-Publishing has opened the door for writers to finally make their dreams come true. Dreams that were hindered by way of jobs that got in the way of writing, Traditional Publishing rejections, children that parents needed to raise first, a school that needed to be finished first and a slew of other reasons that has stopped the passionate writer from producing a book.

Not only all of this but finances also play a part.

Self-Publishing has allowed people who have always wanted to write books an easy way to do so. With the industry changing and demanding more in the way of excellence and professionalism for the Indie Author (stigmas are fading and authors can no longer afford to produce mediocre work), it is no secret that financial strain is what stops many writers from either…

View original post 1,991 more words

Self-Publishing: Pricing Your E-Books

87713e2c-af41-4870-9791-48421a31049c

Price. Money. Mulah. Paper. Dollar Bills. Dough. You get the point.

The financial aspect of Indie Publishing is not something I speak much about or that I hear much about in the blogging world. Maybe its because money has always been that personal thing that belonged to just us. In many ways, this is true. How much is in your bank account is not something you sound a trumpet about nor should it be. Not only that, but there’s a lot of things I’ll never tell you about my financial life. Even in relation to Book Publishing. Some things are just best kept on the low.

But, what I will share is some important tips for pricing your books. Specifically, your eBooks. Believe it or not your book price has a role to play in your books overall image. What do I mean by image? I mean that when someone comes along, or scrolls along, through Amazon’s list of reads and sets their mind on which one to pick, there are a few things that make up the books overall image in the mind of the reader. This is not something that we, as readers, are always consciously aware of, but it is something that we do on that subconscious level. We are looking at:

– Book Title

– Book Cover

– Book Description

– Book Price

Usually in that order, but this is not always the case. Remember that when I write posts like these they are based on my personal experience in this field because I think experience is just a good teacher. So, in my experience (you may have done your own research), usually readers tend to decide to purchase a book based on these elements and in this order but not always in this order. In the event a reader is not judging in this order it usually has something to do with the price. This is when book pricing takes on a greater role and rises from the bottom of the list to the top.

I believe that the relationship between marketing and buyer habits is connected. Meaning that by paying attention to how people buy books, this can give me some insight on how to better market or sell them. So as an avid reader, I pay attention to myself in how I go about purchasing a book and usually I’ve been known to bypass books based on price. If the book looks interesting but the price is extremely too high, I may skip it. Not that I won’t come back to it, but you don’t want to give me the room to come back. You want me to make a purchase out the gate, sorta speak. Books I skip based on price tend to look something like this:

– The Title is not very encouraging, but it will do

– The book cover is plain, but I can work with it

– The price is too high

In this list I’ve ignored the other mediocrities and made up my mind to give the book a try. However, I looked and saw that it was $6.99. For the most part, these are instances where I just can’t. These are also instances where price can be the first determining factor in eBook sales even against the title, description, and cover. Sometimes all of these can be on point but the price is still too high. Now, prices of books can also be too low! But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. For now, lets get some insight on how we should price our eBooks and what these prices should be based on. Now, I’m going to let someone a bit more experienced discuss this part. This excerpt is from an article written by Laurence O’byran whose services I acquired not too long ago to assist with the launch of the final book in the Stella series. Laurence is the author of three traditionally published novels from Harper Collins and runs a book promotion service I’m sure you’re tired of seeing on Twitter ; ).

What Is The Best Price For An Ebook/Kindle book in 2016?

Free

Only if you have a closely linked series and book number one can be priced at free to get readers started on your series.

.99c

If you are a new author and you want make it easy for people to buy your book, and you want to increase your total earnings. This price can be used for a short period to get your book onto a best seller list and then you can move the price up. When deciding a price do not consider the effort put in to write and produce it, consider what total earnings you want. By pricing at .99c, and then increasing the price you can achieve higher earnings. I have seen this working.

.99c can be used during a launch period, for a relaunch with a new cover, or for when you add a new book to your series. How long you stay at .99c will depend on total sales and whether you are continuing any paid promotion periods. It will also depend on if you have a new title coming out in the near future and what level of buzz you already have for the title. If there’s a lot of media attention on the title your period at .99c may only be a day or two.

$2.99

This is the recommended price long term. It’s considered by many to be the sweet spot for long term Kindle book sales. This price may also be appropriate if the first book in the series is $.99c. Your earnings should go up when you reach this price point. The period at .99c is used to gain you exposure, build that vital word of mouth and get you as high up the rankings as possible, with as many reviews on Amazon as possible.   

And that is pretty much the extent of the primary cost brackets that are good for eBooks. Yes, just these main three. Anything else is going to be too expensive if its not a popular read by a well-known author or the other components (book description, title, cover) are not up to par. And even then anything over 2.99 is too much. I’m speaking from personal experience. I realized too late that the first book in my Stella Trilogy was too high and because I published through Lulu at the time, I have to re-submit  blah blah blah to change it. So what happened is that the other two books did much better financially than the first. So, don’t be like me. Although $3.99 is not extremely too high, it is something I need to change, even possibly marking Book One in my series down to $.99 or even $1.99. Paperback books is a completely different subject matter and this is where you make your money at if you want to set high prices. Paperbacks are supposed to be more expensive because of the cost to print and so you can reap a nice profit from those print book sales. For eBooks however, though profit is to be made, it requires a little more strategy because of the competition. Like I said, marketing your book how you yourself buy books can come in handy, for instance:

When comparing your book to the pricing of others, consider that a big percentage of book sales are now going through sites such as BookBub, where free and .99c books are the norm. If a reader can buy a known top name author’s ebook for .99c or your ebook at $4.99 or more, what do you think they will do? – L. O’Bryan

What would you do? Exactly.