From author and frequent visitor Bridget McKenna:
So, should independent author-publishers have their own publishing imprints?
I wondered about this when I was first dippng my toes in the indie waters this time last year, so I asked a couple of experienced people I respected whether they thought it was necessary and beneficial, and they said absolutely yes. I created my publishing company, Ravenscourt Press, and got on with the business of publishing some books. It did not then occur to me that in the minds of many people I was doing something wrong.
A discussion elsewhere in the indie community a while back brought up the question of whether or not indie publishers should form their own publishing imprint. The blog author was not especially in favor of it and asked for opinions. As the commenters began to chime in, the idea of creating a publishing entity for self-published books was labeled “not right”, “criminal”, “fake”, “duping the reader”, “dishonest”, “deception”, and “morally questionable” just in the first handful of comments.
. . . .
After my comment, other author-publishers chimed in on the pro side:
“There is nothing wrong with creating your own business whether it’s books, dresses, or gift items. A product is a product no matter what it’s form is. And I don’t understand this concept of morality that comes into it. You’re either in business or you’re not.”
“I’m just not understanding why being up front about approaching selling books as a business (separate from the craft of writing them) would be perceived as a lie. Your readers want a good book. If you’re giving them that, how many of them do you suppose are really invested in whether or not you have a publishing identity separate from your name?”
“It’s a one-person press, sure, but a press nonetheless. And frankly, anyone who’s willing to do all the work themselves (often many of us around family and day job obligations) should be proud to call themselves both an indie and a press.”
. . . .
I publish my books under an imprint, and anyone who cares to do the research can pretty quickly discern that I’m the only author Ravenscourt Press publishes. I make no attempt to hide it. I’m proud of the books I publish or I wouldn’t be doing this.
I love my books, and I love my very, very small publishing company. I love making sure each new publication is as good as I can make it with the help of a good editor, and I love finding and being found by readers. I did it New York’s way; it was thrilling to have all the trappings of literary legitimacy as we defined it then. We have new definitions now, and a new world of publishing opportunity to explore.
In the interest of full disclosure, there was a time when I would have argued against what I’m doing with my publishing business for pretty much the same reasons other people object to it now. But the game has changed, and self-publishing, as well as an opportunity writers have never had before in quite this way, is a business.
Link to the rest at Points of View
Passive Guy’s view on this is colored by interaction with some small publishers who appear to operate their businesses with all the sophistication of a lemonade stand and whose contracts include at least one grammatical error per paragraph.
In PG’s evanescently humble opinion, the idea that an author owning a publisher for purposes of self-publishing is some sort of misrepresentation is crazy. The fact that Cold Gray Walls Publishing is owned by an ex-con instead of an author has no impact on the quality of the books published. Just like agents, nobody licenses publishers and nobody regulates them for quality.
On a more serious note, there may be some good business reasons for having an entity as the publisher of record for your indie books. For one thing, it may ease the process of estate planning. Having a separate bank account for the publisher into which all publishing income goes and out of which all publishing expenses are paid makes record-keeping for purposes of taxes a little simpler as well.
An indie author is a small business and having a publishing imprint is a little more businesslike.