Anyone can start his or her own book publishing company, but it takes talent to start a successful one. Many authors start companies to publish their own books, but some people create enterprises to publish other authors’ works as well.
Traditionally, starting a small publishing business was a huge investment. Industrial printing presses weren't cheap, and finding editors, marketers, and distributors was no small feat. Thankfully, the digital age has made it possible to manage your book publishing business easily and affordably.
Print on Demand for an Easier Way to Publish Books
The first thing you'll need is a plan for printing and book distribution. Publishers who utilize offset publishing usually print several hundred copies at once, then cross their fingers, and hope for the best. Meanwhile, unsold copies take up storage space, gathering dust.
Print-On-Demand technology stores all title information in an online database. When it comes time to print the book, all you have to do is order the amount of copies you need and print and ship that amount only. With print on demand you don't need to worry about storing books anywhere, and you also get to save money by only printing copies that sell.
Make Sure You Have Lots of Color, Trim, and Cover Options
Choose a platform that has a lot of options for printing and binding. Depending on the type of book you'll be publishing, you may want color and finishing options, as well. If you're publishing several different kinds of books (children's books, fiction, textbooks, etc.) by various different authors, a platform with a variety of trim sizes will be essential to your success.
Buy Your ISBNs
You'll also need to acquire an ISBN, or several if you plan to publish multiple books. The International Book Standard Number is a 13-digit code that is used to identify several bits of information about a unique book. It also lists you as the official publisher, if you purchase the ISBNs yourself, which is important if you're a publishing company.
An ISBN is your ticket to selling books through multiple retailers. So how do you get an ISBN? You can buy one ISBN, or many, your country's ISBN provider. In the United States, it's Bowker. In the UK, it's Nielsen. In the AU, it's Thorpe-Bowker.
Offer Your Authors Book Marketing Help
If you're publishing books, you better learn how to market them, too. If you want to pull in authors, offer them supplemental book marketing. Every book needs marketing, and while many authors take marketing into their own hands, you'll have an edge over the competition if you pitch in.
Marketing doesn't have to be expensive: most readers these days find new books through online channels. Engage readers on social media like Twitter and Facebook, get book reviews, and work with bloggers or start your own publishing blog to promote your books. There are also several guerrilla book marketing tips you can try.
Find a Great Team of Freelancers
Lastly, you may want to plan for a team of book editors and book designers. Don't worry about spending thousands to employ an in-house team: there are plenty of professionals who offer freelance services. It's a good idea to work with several freelancers in developmental editing and copyediting, design, book production, and other fields. That way, when authors approach you to publish their book, you can recommend the best freelancers for their genre and/or needs.