Three Reasons Self-Publishers Should Invent an Imprint Name

Jan 2, 2014

You’ve probably heard of David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber. Maybe also Janet and Greta Podleski, authors of the Looneyspoons cookbooks. But have you heard of their publishers, Financial Awareness Corp. and Granet Publishing Inc.? Probably not. That’s because the authors are self-published, and they invented those imprint names to use as their brand everywhere a publisher’s name would normally appear (the book spine, copyright page, online retail sites such as Amazon). On the Indigo listing for The Wealthy Barber Returns, for instance, you’ll see David Chilton listed as the author and Financial Awareness Corp. as the publisher. 

Here are three reasons we feel these authors were smart to create imprint names for themselves.

1. An imprint name signals professionalism
Publishers always use an imprint name on their books and in outward-facing spaces such as their own websites and online bookstores, so by creating one you are following industry conventions. Doing so also suggests that you consider your self-publishing efforts in a professional, businesslike manner. You’re not just Joe Schmoe throwing up an ebook; you’ve taken the time to think through the brand you’re presenting to the world, of which imprint names are one part.

2. An imprint name gives you flexibility
You might find that your publishing interests and goals evolve over time. Sometimes an author self-publishes so successfully that other writers start asking him for advice, or whether he can publish them too. Having an imprint name gives you the flexibility to publish other writers one day. It also allows you to build a critical mass of work under one umbrella, which can become important if you want to engage with the traditional book trade. Distributors, for instance, rarely take on independent authors, but if your own book is one of many you’ve published under one imprint name, now you’re operating at a scale they might consider.

3. Taboos around self-publishing linger
We know writers choose to self-publish for a wide range of reasons, from the higher royalty rates to faster publication timelines, but some people still equate self-publishing with vanity publishing, thinking that if you choose to self-publish, you don’t have what it takes to work with a traditional publisher. If you use your own name as both author and publisher, you’re waving a red flag that you’re a self-publisher. Granted, most book buyers don’t notice who published a book and these taboos are disappearing, but why not just avoid the issue by creating a third-party name for yourself.

You don’t need an expensive logo either. A simple wordmark will do, which is a distinct, text-only treatment of your imprint name. Nor do you need to incorporate or register the imprint. Just come up with a unique and professional-sounding name, and use it consistently.

If you have questions about this or any other part of the publishing process, please get in touch.