May 15

How to name your author-publisher business and your publishing (imprint)

Authors who go pro need a business name and a publishing house name, which can be the same as your publisher imprint. Open a business bank account and simplify accounting and taxes by purchasing your ISBNs and all of  your publishing expenses using that account. Here are the steps: 

  1. Choose your name(s)
  2. Make sure you're not infringing on someone else's trademark
  3. Use the name to create a business (recommend a sole-proprietorship LLC)
  4. Name your publishing "house" the same
  5. Consider different imprints if you have more than one brand 

What you'll learn in this post

In this post, you'll learn:

  • What's in a publisher name
  • How to choose a name for your brand
  • How ISBNs track your book
  • How to make your book business a business and not a hobby

But first, what's in a publisher name? 

Your business name, publisher name, and imprint name can all be the same. If you want your publisher/imprint name to be "Paisley Press" then you'll need to set up an LLC named Paisley Press, LLC. You'll purchase ISBNs under that name, and copyright your book under that name, too.

So your business name (LLC), your brand, your publisher name, and your imprint name may all be the same.

...or they could be different.

Your author-publisher name

For example. The name of my business is Misadventures Media, LLC. I purchase ISBNs and copyright my books under that LLC. But because I write on two very different topics, I have two imprints under my business/publisher name: Motorcycle Misadventures and Destination Published. Like my own name, Carla King, these are brands. 

If I were starting out today, I'd probably use this strategy, instead:

These are my current names and brands:
  • Business: Misadventures Media, LLC
  • Brand/Imprint: Misadventures Media
  • Brand/Imprint: Destination Published
  • Brand/Imprint: Motorcycle Misadventures
  • Website: CarlaKing.com
  • Website: DestinationPublished.com
If I had a do-over, I might do this instead:
  • Business: Carla King Media, LLC
  • Brand/Imprint: Carla King Media
  • Brand/Imprint: Destination Published
  • Brand/Imprint: Motorcycle Misadventures
  • Website: CarlaKing.com
  • Website: DestinationPublished.com

Have your fans given you a nickname?

Sometimes you've got to go with the flow regarding branding. People regularly call me the Queen of Self-Publishing (Carla "King"-right?) and early on in my adventure writing career I was nicknamed "Miss Adventuring" so I am @missadventuring everywhere. So if your fans do that for you... awesome! That's how you connect.


  1. Choose a name(s)
  2. Make sure you're not infringing on someone's copyright or trademark.
  3. Set up an LLC (sole proprietorship) and file a DBA, etc. There are companies who can do this for you pretty cheaply.
  4. Get a business banking account and debit/credit cards.
  5. Register your copyright. Get your resale certificate. Create a business plan and a sales strategy. Pay your taxes. Do all the things! I have a course that will help you set things up right.

A Note About Your Publisher Business and ISBNs

When you publish using your own ISBNs purchased with your own publisher (imprint) name, you'll only need to use ISBN per book format. That way, you can print and distribute that book wherever you like. Otherwise, you'll need to use a different ISBNs for the same book when it's published (printed or distributed) with another company. (See my blog post here.)

All About ISBNs

Find out more about ISBNs in this blog post.

For example, if you use Amazon KDP to publish your paperback, your paperback is listed with an Amazon ISBN. If you add IngramSpark print distribution, then the same book is listed with Ingram's ISBN. The ebook may have an Amazon KDP (Kindle) ISBN, a Smashwords ISBN, an Ingram ISBN, a D2D ISBN, and so on. All this can make sales tracking very complicated. So simplify. Know what you're selling, where, and for how much. Track your business. Get serious.

Join my Online Course All About ISBNs

I have a quick course on ISBNs and book identifiers. You can get it here.

Make Your Book Business a Business and Not a Hobby

Creating a business takes you out of the hobby realm. Get serious. Write off expenses. Join professional organizations. Create a writing and publishing mastermind group. Write more books. Test early drafts with your readers. Create a giveaway to grow your email list. Use preorders. All this can be a whirlwind of fun and truly rewarding.

BONUS! Get your free self-publisher's toolkit here

You'll get my Consumer's Guide for writers, a metadata cheatsheet, and a book launch checklist to make your own in your writing, marketing, and publishing journey.

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