How to Start a Profitable Publishing Business in 16 Steps

If you are fond of books and want to make them a part of your profession then the publishing business will suit you. Along with a love for books you need to have a fairly good idea of printing and publicity.

Books have a steady and good market that makes the publishing business a very profitable one. Moreover, if you can capture the e-books and audiobook market, then you can multiply your profits.

Different categories of books are published regularly. Some are textbooks, while some are non-text which is again divided into fiction, non-fiction, etc. You have to decide on a niche in your publishing business so that there is a certain branding of your books.

Apart from the knowledge of books and printing, you must have an idea about the authors and their popularity so that you can plan your publishing business accordingly.

You have to plan categorically and put your steps forward carefully but confidently to be successful in the publishing business.

Here are the 16 Steps to Start a Publishing Company

1. Do Your Homework

Once you have decided to start your business of publishing, start working on its details. It is not enough to have a genuine love for books. Gather knowledge and information about the publishing industry and market, different kinds of books, printing technology, distribution and sales network, etc. Along with that get a thorough knowledge about trending books and authors.

2. Decide on Niche

After gathering knowledge and information, it is time to decide on the niche of your publishing business. What kind of books would you like to publish? You can take up a niche of your choice, but that has to be marketable. Don’t think of too many areas at a time. Start with one or two areas and with time increase the number. Some of the types of publishing companies you can consider are as follows:

  • Textbook publishing
  • Specific industry-oriented publishing
  • Low-cost publishing

3. Learn about Publishing on Other Formats

Books are no longer limited to paper prints now. Digital books or e-books, as well as audiobooks, have gained immense popularity recently. Therefore you can think of digital or audio publication also. However, it is better to start your publishing company using multiple platforms. Along with the printed books, publish the E-book and audiobook of the same title. That will help you take hold of a bigger market comprising of different kinds of customers.

4. Create a Business Plan

If you are planning to start and run a successful publishing company, it is most essential to document a business plan. It not only works as a roadmap for future business activities but also helps in getting funds from investors and financial institutions. Some of the basic topics that your publishing business plan must address are the following:

  • Startup and recurring costs
  • Target customers
  • Pricing strategies
  • How do you plan to promote your publishing business?

5. Cost of Starting Publishing Business

The first step of your publishing business is financial planning. You have to determine the finance required for starting your business. It depends on the scale of your business, i.e. how many books you are planning to publish annually. If you sum up the cost of writing, editing, printing, advertisement, and distribution costs, it comes to $6000-7000 per book. For E-books and audiobooks, you will have expenses of typesetting and recording and there will be no printing cost.

You can get the fund as a loan from banks, financial institutions, etc. A personal loan from family or friends is also a source. If you wish, you can also use your savings.

6. Expense Heads

There will be a wide range of expenses that you will have to bear while starting and running the company. Your publishing business has ongoing expenses on different heads like

  • Advertising and Publicity Expenses
  • Distribution Expenses
  • Marketing Visits Expenses
  • Transport and Conveyance Expenses
  • Storing Books Expenses

7. Consider Opening a Showroom

Many publishing companies prefer to open their showrooms where readers can come and buy the books of their choice. This is applicable for big publishing companies with several titles in their name. However, if you choose the genre of textbooks, you can open a showroom and keep other items like stationery, etc for better sales.

8. Choose a Name & Logo

The next step is finding a suitable name for your publishing business. Choose a meaningful and serious name for your company. Don’t go for a very long name. The name should be easy for your customers to remember. You can get name suggestions from many online portals.

Design a simple but creative logo for your publishing business. Consult a professional artist if you need.

9. Registration and Domain

Register the name of your publishing company and get a domain in the name of your business. If you don’t get the domain it is better to change the name. You can consult online portals before registering to check the availability of domain names.

10. Register your Publishing Business

After naming and getting the domain, now you have to legalize your publishing business. You have several options like a partnership, sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. Get knowledge about the pros and cons of each type before taking the final decision. Consult a legal expert before deciding.

11. Register for Tax

Now register your publishing business for taxes. You have to pay several taxes on the federal as well as state level. You have to get the Employer Identification Number or EIN.

12. Open a Business Bank Account

Open a bank account in the name of your publishing business. This will help you in the financial management of your business. Appoint an experienced accountant to look after the financial matters. Along with that, apply for a business credit card because credit line is an important aspect of the publishing business and the credit card will help you.

13. License and Permits

Get the necessary license and permits that are needed for your publishing business. This will help you in running your business without any hassle.

14. Buy Insurance

Getting insurance is another important step in your publishing business. General liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance are the primary insurances that you will need for your business.

15. Profit Margin

The rate of profit from your publishing business depends on the sale of your book. If you are publishing an individual author’s book, you have to pay him/her royalty on the sale of the book. For a printed book you have to pay approximately 10% and for E-books, it is approximately 22 to 25%. You can also give the author a one-time payment instead of loyalty.

Deducting all the costs along with the author’s loyalty, marketing, printing, editing, and others, you can make a profit of 20-25% as a publisher. It is a profitable business and your profit will increase further with an increase in the scale of your business.

16. Have a Marketing Plan

Marketing is the most important aspect of your publishing business. You have to plan your marketing strategies thoughtfully and carefully so that you get maximum profit out of business. Hire experienced and energetic marketing persons who have an idea about books and the book market. Several marketing strategies will work for your publishing business.

a) Making Contacts and Visits

Regular visits and establishment of contact with libraries, bookstores, and schools, colleges is an effective strategy. Good contacts with them will ensure the bulk sale of your books. Give them brochures of your published books along with a good profile of your publishing business.

b) Print Advertisements

Printed ad materials like brochures, posters, banners, hoardings, flyers, and pamphlets are essential and effective methods of marketing and publicity for your publishing business. Choose important places like schools, colleges, libraries, or crossroads for putting the posters or banners.

Display ads in newspapers, magazines, etc are also very important for the marketing of your publishing business.

c) Create a Website

The website acts as your mouthpiece as well as a medium of publicity. The cost of creating a website is nominal nowadays. . Make it an informative and attractive one with regular updates. Also, enable online sales of your published books through the website. Share the link of your website in social media and printed ads.

d) Digital Ads and Social Media Publicity

Digital ads play a vital role in the marketing of your publishing business. This is especially important in the case of E-books and audiobooks. Invest in advertisements in digital publications, retail websites, general and entertainment-based apps, and affiliate marketing.

Some of the basic creatives you need to make are a catchy logo, brochures, and banners.

Social media is a powerful marketing weapon for promoting any business. Create pages in the name of your publishing company on various social media handles. Update the pages regularly and share the link of the website on the pages. Share the link of the page in your profile too.

e) Sponsorship & Promotion

Sponsorship is an important marketing strategy for your publishing business. Sponsor various events like conferences, seminars, symposiums, or prize distribution ceremonies. Make your company’s presence at various book exhibitions and fairs. Promotional events like creative writing competitions, slogan writing, or title writing are also effective.

It is without saying, publishing business enriches you, gives you a wide market, and most importantly, helps you in earning high profit.