Argh! Help! Confused by Well meaning advice givers!!! :) seriously I need some help.
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Hi Everyone,

Hope this weekend has found everyone well rested and enjoying the holiday.  I have, what I thought was a very simple question, but I have gotten different answers, sometimes by some of the same advice givers.  So I've decided to ask you guys.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a general consensus of opinion, because honestly I'm becoming more and more confused.

So here's the question:

I am self publishing a book- The Spring and Autumn Murders coming out in December 2012.  Since I am self publishing, should I list my own name as the publisher (ie Laura Seeber Publishing) or should I go with a made-up publishing company name (ie Acme Publishing 123)?

So far I've gotten these basic responses:

1- Never publish using your own name.  People won't want to distribute your book

2- Always self publish under your own name- otherwise how will traditional publishers know that your looking to publish with them?

3-You can do either, but just be careful that in any distribution contract you sign they don't get rights to your future work.

4-Don't indie publish. It's better to wait and find a traditional publisher that will work with you.

5-Try to go with a place like Lulu or CreateSpace, etc.  No one will take you seriously otherwise.

And again, some of these responses I've gotten from the same people just a few days apart.  It was like speaking to the writer's version of a politician.  :)   As a side note I am publishing on my own- completely.  I've got an agreement with a printer, I'm getting the ISBN numbers on my own, and I'm handling both ebook and print book distribution through my own devices, with a little help from friends.  Personally, I don't care if the book says Laura Seeber as the publisher or something else.  I just want to do whatever is needed to help me market and distribute the book better.

Oh, and if I've asked something similiar before, I apologize.  It's been a crazy few months getting everything put together, and I don't remember everyone I've talked to about this.

Thanks a bunch ladies!


  • Hi Annette,

    Thanks for the great advice.   I might take you up on that chat offer once I get time to breathe, lol.  And thanks for the information on Goodreads.  I'll be sure to check it out!

  • Hi Laura,

    Having indie-published of late, here's what I've read: it doesn't matter unless you're planning on writing in several different genres.  

    I published under my own name.  If I decide to write something completely different next time, I may change the publisher to my pen name (whatever that might be).  

    But what counts is quality.  Make your book the best it can be in all aspects: writing, plot, characterization, EDITING, and PROOFING.  

    Then start marketing and trying to get reviews from as many people as possible.  There are several review groups on Goodreads.  The one I belong to is simply called REVIEW GROUP (you'd type that into the search box).  It's a great concept: #1. Only honest reviews.  #2:  No reciprocal reviews.  You might want to check it out.

    I've had no luck whatsoever contacting bloggers for reviews, even though I followed each blog's specific query request form to the T.  I think I contacted 9 sites and got nary a response; not even a "thanks, but no thanks."  That was 7 weeks ago...

    Best of luck to you.  Please feel free to contact me if you want to chat about this!


  • Thanks for all your wonderful advice everyone.  I'm still sorting out what I want to do, but right now I'm leaning toward publishing under another name besides my own.  And please, feel free to keep the advice and information coming on this topic. I would be very grateful.

    Thanks again!


  • Well, you realize that you're asking a bunch of indie publishers and guess how we got here, don't you? By not caring what everyone thought and putting our work out there. It was how the Bloomsbury Group got read, among many, many others. The middlemen came along later to facilitate what was already happening. But I digress.


    The advice you're being given really amounts to ways to present yourself in the marketplace. For you to decide which approach is the "right" one, you need to decide how you want to position yourself in the worlds' eyes. Do you mostly care about putting your work out in the world for personal satisfaction? Do you care about making yourself attractive to the people who purchase literary properties? Do you want to make yourself attractive to people who hire writers for other projects?  Do you want to reach the greatest number of readers possible or will you be satisfied with fewer?


    Your answer may be "yes!" but truthfully, as in the rest of life, we can't be everything to everyone. Your strategy will stem from your vision for your work and for yourself and an author and/or as a publisher.


    As for your feedback:

    1- Never publish using your own name.  People won't want to distribute your book

    Untrue. Distributors (I'm assuming this person meant booksellers) stock titles that sell or have great potential to sell. Their purchases are influenced by a range of market indicators, opinion leaders, and other factors which, as a new author or publisher, are likely out of your scope at this time.


    2- Always self publish under your own name- otherwise how will traditional publishers know that your looking to publish with them?

    You can sell the publishing rights to whomever you like so long as they are yours to sell. If another publisher wants rights that are owned by someone else, negotiations are in order. Like booksellers, publishers pick up titles that are likely to sell well, whatever their lineage. Publishers know you want to publish with them when you ask them to publish your work. They/we are publishers, not mind-readers. And they are bloggers. Read up.


    3-You can do either, but just be careful that in any distribution contract you sign they don't get rights to your future work.

    Always read your contracts then have them read by a pro. If you get offered a 3-book deal, bully for you!


    4-Don't indie publish. It's better to wait and find a traditional publisher that will work with you.

    This depends on your goals for our work and career, your levels of patience, and the type of work that you create. If it fits well into the marketplace, you have more options than if it's a fringe work (meaning sales potential, not quality). Different outlets and paths for different properties.


    5-Try to go with a place like Lulu or CreateSpace, etc.  No one will take you seriously otherwise.

    Those two businesses are printing services and they serve a good and particular purpose. They are not publishers.


    Once you've written your book, you step into the business end of things. Business is about making profit so strap your moneypants on, leave the writer in a safely padded room, and wade on in. The water is deep but, if you learn how, you can swim.


    Host: Screenwriters and Story Editors & Writers in Canada
    Founder: THE STORY SPOT & Seedpod Publishing

  • Great advice from all. I think you have to look at all the options, and many good ones are presented here, at least to my knowledge. I published a short story on Smashwords just for practice, and it was easy enough. Not to say a novel would be easy, but that Smashwords makes the effort to be helpful.

    It is hard for me to see reasons to publish traditionally anymore.

  • Laura,

    This summer I self-published my coffee table book "Art of Winter: A Photographic Essay." After I made the decision to self-publish, I too had to answer your question "Do I use my own name as the publisher or use a made-up name?" After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to use a name other than my own for the publisher.

    Here is what I considered as my pros and cons:


    Another way for my name to come up in search engines.

    A boost to my ego (but my name would be on the book anyway.)


    If I changed my name (due to divorce/remarriage,etc which I don't intend) then I'd be stuck with a publishing company name that would not be accurate (and perhaps not desired.)

    Companies (bookstores, suppliers, distributors, etc) might not take me seriously. (Although as long as I create a professional product the product should speak for itself.)

    If I wanted to publish other people's work, the name of my publishing company (with my name) may not be compatible (by name only) with the other work.

    It's difficult to maintain some personal distance with my name as the publishing company.

    It might be easier in the future to create a full-fledged legal company with a name other than my own.

    All that being said, I posted to my personal Facebook page the question of "What should my publishing company's name be?" I got a lot of smart-aleck comments along the line of "Call it Covert Publishing - Great if you're publishing mystery and spy novels." This I wasn't. My coffee table book is about nature photography and possible future publications are memoir, self-help, and other non-fiction.

    The long and the short of it was I personally didn't want to use my name for the publishing company because my gut said "Use something else."

    I brainstormed and wrote down a list of subjects I might write and publish in the future. I then brainstormed with lots of free association, things I liked (water, sailing, tamarack trees, turtles, hiking, pineapple, lilacs, etc) or that were meaningful to me. I wanted something that I would be comfortable with six months from now as well as in ten years. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be grimacing in the future any time I saw the name or heard someone use it.

    I decided to use "Whitehead Press" as it has family ties (my and my mother's middle name and my grandmother's maiden name,) and the generalness of the name allows me a lot of leeway to the type of book one might expect from a press of that name. Where as "Bushy Tailed Squirrel Press" might be something that lends well to nature photography, but doesn't sound as serious, say to do a self-help therapy book.

    I then slept on the idea for a few weeks, as I was working away on the layout and design of the book. I asked to my self, over and over again "Will I like 'Whitehead Press' in two years?" and "How does it feel to call yourself (company) 'Whitehead Press'?" After a couple weeks, I still liked the name, so I went with it.

    My logo (a stylized sailboat) came from my list of thing I like, as my family name Whitehead did not have any object directly associated with it. I also considered using a turtle or pine cone.

    I also didn't want a name that was too long (think of how much space 'Bushy Tailed Squirrel Publishing' would take on a business card and using for a website name) and I wanted a name that would do well worked into the logo.

    So - I'd say follow your intuition, gut and instinct. It's gotten you this far - on the verge of publishing. Just remember that you can't change the publishing name (or at least not very easily and without a lot of negative business ramifications) simply because you don't like it in six months or five years.

    I hope this helps. Good luck and let us know what you come up with.


  • I agree with Petrea that sales is what they look for...

    Many established authors also maintain their rights and list as published by ##their name##

    If you publish yourself, just make sure you get a good editor and a good cover designer. There are many out there.

    The rest is easy when you use the main sites available. There is lots of information about how to use the sites and download your files yourself. Also a plus, without a middle man you will see more of the profits.

    - If you're doing a print version, use Createspace or Lightning Source. At the moment, there is no real competition for those two services for POD printing. They put the books on all major retail sites, they take orders, print books, ship books, and send you the proceeds. You need a well formatted PDF for the interior and another PDF for the cover. See their sites for specific PDF requirements, and this is one spot where hiring someone might be useful.

    If you want to do an ebook get accounts with the major markets:

    - Get a Kindle Direct Publishing account. Upload the mobi file there. If you don't have a mobi, upload the epub. Epub files work about 99% as effectively as mobi files in their conversion. (play with sample files to see how it works)

    - Get a Pubit account. Upload the epub to Pubit for B&N distribution. Exception: on books you intend to price below $2.99, use Smashwords for B&N distribution (for short stories) because you get 60% on those
    sales rather than the 45% Pubit pays for books priced outside the $2.99-9.99 range.

    - Get a Smashwords account. Upload the DOC there. This can be finicky; use their Style Guide, LEARN their Style Guide (practice there for painless conversions to epub and mobi as well).

    - On Smashwords, turn off Kindle distribution (they don't actually distribute to Kindle anyway), and turn off B&N distribution *unless* you are opting out of Pubit for the better returns on a price outside the Pubit "sweet range".

    - Turn on other types. You might want to explore the new Kobo self pubishing platform, but for now, Smashwords is the best way to get there.

    - You can buy an ISBN from Smashwords which lists Smashwords as the publisher for those books or opt to pay $10 and get an ISBN which lists you as publisher.

    For ISBN - you can purchase your own instead of buying at Bowkers / My identifiers if you wish....just an FYI, ebooks don't have to have an ISBN but printed versions you must. If you want to keep the same ISBN for all ebooks at various sites, buy your own through Bowkers at $125 last time I looked.

    Good luck!

  • Wow.

    Good luck with this one.  From what I'm reading of the basic responses, the only solid piece of advice is number three.

    1.  That's not true.  Distribution comes from hustle and persistence; and sometimes, a little investing of extra effort and money.  And that includes unknowns, although the distribution may be limited.

    2.  Again.  There are no always and never rules when it comes to publishing, EXCEPT always use an editor, and NEVER publish without having your work edited first.

    3.  Solid advice.  Sounds like since you are self-publishing that you already have a handle on your distribution rights, anyway.

    4.  Baloney.  It is more than possible to find success as a indie-published author.  Some authors who are usually traditionally published have also indie-published.

    5.  More baloney.  I don't know which publishers the person meant by, "etc.," but there are lots of other POD publishing options out there, besides Lulu and CreateSpace, should you choose to go that route.  Lulu and CreateSpace are among the more popular and reputable ones, but you have to do your research, and decide what works for you.

  • I'm interested in this subject, too, as I'm self-publishing.

    I think if you're looking to impress traditional publishers, your imprint won't matter. Your sales will matter.