let’s get legit


In This Module:

  • Distinguish between traditional and self-publishing

  • Identify how your book fits into your long-term business goals

  • Learn the importance of establishing a separate entity for publishing

  • Evaluate self-publishing options versus doing it yourself

Allow me to introduce myself…

My name is Shavonne and I am a self-published author who has leveraged my books to build three businesses in book publishing (VK Press, LLC.), personal development for women (Ladies Night Empowerment, LLC.), and yoga and wellness (Strength In Om, LLC). Being a serial entrepreneur may seem noteworthy, but the road was not easy! It was filled with hard (and costly) lessons along the way. Now, my focus has shifted to equipping people like you with strategies to ease your self-publishing process, distinguish you as a thought leader, and support your brand’s mission, vision, and values.

How does publishing fit into your long-term personal and business goals?

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. What makes traditional publishing different from self-publishing?



  • Dominated by “Big Five” publishing houses: Hachette (est. 1820), HarperCollins (est. 1817), MacMillan (est. 1843), Penguin Random House (1927), Simon & Schuster (est. 1924)

  • Publisher chooses cover designs and title of the book

  • Requires a literary agent to formally propose manuscript on behalf of author

  • Publisher pays 100% of the production fees and owns rights to the book

  • Author may receive an advance (which is deducted from future royalties)

  • Royalty ranges up to 20% of retail price after “earning out” book advance


  • Process controlled (or dominated) by the author. Has been known as “vanity publishing” because it was thought to be a form of self-flattery for the author

  • Author chooses cover designs, editors, freelancers, title of the book, etc.

  • Does not require a literary agent

  • Author pays 100% of the publishing process and owns book rights* (will explain in a future module)

  • Author earns per book sold

  • Royalties of 30-60% of retail price after printing & distribution costs


Paperback Edition Retail Price $20.00 ($5 printing cost/book)

  • 10% of Retail Price

  • 90% covers printing and publishing costs

  • Author Compensation $2.00/book sold

  • Paid out every six months

Reference: Alan Jacobson “The Business of Publishing”


Paperback Edition Retail Price $20.00 ($5 printing cost/book)

  • 60% of List Price

  • Minus printing Cost (-$5 per book)

  • Author Compensation $7.00/book sold

  • Paid out every three months (from date of sale)

Reference: Amazon KDP “Paperback Royalty”

What is the current status of your business:

-Registered with the Secretary of State?

-Applied for Employer Identification Number with the IRS?

-Set-up business bank account?

Next, let’s answer, “How do i get my book into the customer’s hands?”

print on demand (POD)

  • Option for printing individual or smaller quantities of books or other goods

  • Uses digital technology, therefore, files must be ACCURATE for printing

  • Option for printing books for personal use

  • Option for distribution through online bookstores (i.e. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.)

  • Reduces surplus of goods due to printing only when books are ordered  


  • Book can be distributed worldwide and through company’s online bookstore

  • Author pays company to manage publishing process

  • Company’s rate may include fees to cover design and marketing

  • Company may have minimum retail pricing requirements  

  • Examples:

    • Archway Publishing

    • Author House

    • Bookbaby


  • Book can be distributed worldwide and through your website

  • Author manages entire publishing process, quality is not guaranteed

  • Author pays fees to freelancers for editing, design, and marketing

  • Author determines price that exceeds printing and distribution fees  

  • Examples:

    • KDP (Amazon)

    • Nook Press (Barnes & Noble)

    • IngramSpark

Which publishing option is a best fit for your business?

In this section, we cover topics that will highlight the benefits of self-publishing under a separate entity such as a DBA (Doing Business As) name or your registered company.

Protect your social security number (SSN)

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

  • Your nine-digit SSN or EIN is required for publishing book

  • Using EIN to publish your book separates business income from personal for tax purposes

  • Learn more about EIN through Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website

receive tax benefits for self-publishing expenses*:

  • Fees paid to freelance editors, designers, and marketing

  • Expenses for educational purposes, mileage for business errands, operational expenses

  • Registration costs to sell books (i.e. vendor fee, hotel/lodging, etc.)

  • KEY: Track everything and KEEP RECEIPTS


distinguish your brand

Check out the book listings from Amazon below:


 Which one was self-published? If you guessed both, you would be correct! By the end of this course, you will have the tools to set up your business to include book publishing as an additional stream of income and ensure brand consistency when promoting your book(s).

What personal resistance do you have, if any, to registering your business?

Further Reading

If your resistance is due to a lack of knowledge about setting up a business, check out this resource to help you get started!

Do what you HAVE to do, to do what you WANT to do.
— Denzel Washington

Best practices:

  • Ensure a quality book by benchmarking your book against traditionally published books

  • Separate all income and expenses related to book publishing from your personal assets

  • ALWAYS order one physical copy of your book to ensure quality of prints

Before the next module:

  • Write author biography (200-250 words)

  • Identify three (3) books your book would fit next to on the bookshelf. Take note of the following:

    • Dimensions of book

    • Number of pages

  • Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to protect your social security number.

  • Open a business bank account to be used for book related income and expenses

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional advice from an accountant or lawyer. All content, including text graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only.

All rights reserved. No part of this course may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law. Copyright © VK Press, LLC 2019