When you’re getting ready to self-publish your first book, you have to decide whether to publish under your personal name or whether you want to create a publishing business. If you do create a business, do you choose to register it and go through the legal process of setting one up? Is that even necessary?
The biggest benefit to registering your business is you can take your registration letter to the bank and set up business accounts. The bank will not let you open bank accounts under your business name without this registration from your state government. Of course, you can dedicate a personal account to running the business but if someone writes a check to your unregistered business name, you won’t be able to cash it. By opening a business account, there may also be additional business banking features your bank offers in addition to being able to create a business credit history, useful when paying the costs of publishing.
When you register your business with the government, another benefit is that no other business in the state will be able to legally register another business under the same name. It’s all yours. If you die, it’s only a registered business that can be passed on with the same name.
If You Don’t Register
Whether or not you register your business, in most states you can still operate under your chosen business name. You will still be able to write off business expenses on your taxes by filing a Schedule C and request an EIN number (for taxpayer identification) so you don’t have to use your social security number all the time. You also don’t need a registered business name to collect and turn in sales tax.
If you are publishing only a few copies of one book, creating a publishing business does not need to be one of your concerns. If you’re planning on publishing multiple books and selling them commercially, this is an important aspect of publishing to consider. Please check your local state laws as rules differ from state-to-state and make sure you understand the rules that apply to you.