Here are a number of other related questions we’ve heard from new authors and publishers.
When do I need to be concerned about all these registrations steps and actions?
You can write and design your book, but before you make it available for sale—ideally before you begin marketing it—you should own your ISBN and have it assigned to your book. As you learn in Register Your Book, the earlier you enter your book’s information into the MyIdentifiers.com database, the sooner people will find out about your book. To do that, you need to have several details completed, such as:
- A title and subtitle finalized.
- A book description and category.
- A PDF of the interior.
- A book cover.
This same information is necessary for completing the other two steps; copyright registration and applying for a Library of Congress number. The former can be done after the book is published, the latter must be done before the book is published.
What is an imprint?
The imprint for many indie publishers and self-publishing authors is usually the name of their publishing company. Depending on your business objectives, and resources, the imprint name can be setup as a formal, registered company with its own doing business as (DBA) filing, or simply as the name used on the copyright page of your book and to reserve your ISBNs, among other uses.
Here’s a good general rule: if you want to deposit royalties in the name of your imprint, you need to establish a legal entity.
Larger publishers use imprints as a brand name that represents a particular type, genre, or style of books. For example, Tor Books specializes in science fiction and fantasy, and is an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.
Should I register internet domain names in the name of the publisher, author, or book?
Like setting up an imprint, registering and using domain names depends on your objectives and resources. You can always buy domains and hold them for future use. Depending on the name(s), this can be inexpensive or grow to be a substantial annual investment (plurals, misspellings, variations of names should always be considered).
In general, here is my advice:
- Author domain name: your primary investment. Build a website and use an email matches this. This is your brand.
- Publisher domain name: a website for a publisher of one book is overkill and detracts from building the author-branded website. Consider an email that matches this name and use this publically.
- Book domain name: building a website for one book makes sense if you anticipate marketing the name, and for a long period. The costs can mount quickly for an author writing novels. On the other hand, we expect Register Your Book to be a popular and necessary reference book for years to come so a dedicated website made sense. It also allows us to sell different products direct to authors and publishers (the hardcover edition is only available from this website, or at speaking events).