How to Start a Publishing Company Kristen Joy header

Kristen Joy is the bestselling author of 26 books including the Author’s Quick Guide to Finding Your Target Market. In 2003 she turned her life-long love of reading and writing into a full-time career she loves, and now she teaches authors and entrepreneurs how to create books that bring their passion to life.

In 2003 Kristen was hired to be the marketing director of a self-publishing services firm. When that company folded, she started her own company doing the same thing for her clients. When she got tired of publishing books for other people she sold that company and started a publishing company to publish her own books.

How to Start Your Own Publishing Company

Shortly thereafter, she was cornered by her first coaching client who begged her to teach him how to start his own publishing company. When she quoted him a price she couldn’t say no to, and he said yes, her adventure really began. She discovered that she enjoyed coaching people. To date, she’s coached clients to create 50 publishing companies. Some of her clients publish their own work exclusively while others publish several authors.

She started the current phase of her career as the Book Ninja a few years ago when she published 18 Kindle books in 18 weeks. She took what she learned from that experience and created her course The Kindle in 30 Challenge Self Study Program.

In this podcast we covered many topics including: how to start your own publishing company, the author mindset for success, and the history of self-publishing. It was an interesting discussion packed with insight.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • To be successful as a Kindle publisher you’ve got to want to be a Kindle publisher for reasons that go beyond just dollar signs.
  • Starting your own publishing company can open a few doors for you.
  • It’s important to take action if you want to succeed in life.
  • If you want to sell a lot of books it’s important to realize that there is work that needs to be done after you publish the book. You can’t simply publish your book and forget about it.
  • The key to success in publishing or anything else is to make what you’re doing your heart’s work.
  • When you love what you do your work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like a fun project.
  • When publishing other people’s work, it’s important to walk them through the process and give them parameters so they have realistic and clear expectations of a timeline.
  • When publishing your own books realize that this book is a permanent reflection of who you are, so put out the best product you can, even if it takes longer.
  • Having a professional cover design is one of the most important things you can do to effectively market your book.
  • Your cover is your book’s first impression.
  • Make the best first impression you can. Make sure you have the best cover you can afford. Make sure your book is formatted so that it’s readable. Make sure you edit the book so that it makes sense and there are as few typos as possible.
  • After you have a good product you can do anything to drive traffic to it.
  • Every book you publish should have a way for people to join your e-mail list.
  • Write a series. Nothing markets your books like more books in the same series.
  • Build a relationship with your audience.
  • The know, like trust factor is HUGE.
  • Recognize that you are an authorpreneur, not just an author.
  • The secret to building a brand is to be professional and deliberate about it.
  • Having a logo for a brand is a good thing.
  • If you’re branding yourself have professional headshots taken. (This can work well for nonfiction and fiction authors.)
  • Successful fiction authors brand themselves as that particular genre’s expert. (Think John Grisham for Legal Thriller and Nicholas Sparks for Bittersweet Romance.)
  • Nonfiction authors brand themselves as experts in the topic or category. (Think Robert T. Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame.)
  • To build your brand is an author takes on average 3 to 5 years.
  • The fastest way to self-publishing success is to focus on one genre. You can still write books in other genres, but really focus on building one genre at a time marketing wise.
  • When building a personal brand it’s important to make it personal. Make sure who you are shines through in the way you communicate with your customers.
  • It’s important you build a brand you’re proud to be identified as.
  • For every copy of a Kindle e-book sold today there is a paperback copu sold today. When Kindle books first came out and they were the shiny new thing fiction books sold at a rate of 3 Kindle e-books to 1 paperback edition. Nonfiction books have always sold about 1 Kindle e-book to 1 paperback edition.
  • There are requirements to get into brick and mortar bookstores that most self published authors simply don’t meet.
  • You can make a good living only selling your book online.
  • Depending on the type of book you have and your goals traditional bookstores might be a very good option for you.
  • Traditional bookstores have a two-year buying cycle. That means they’re buying books now for summer or fall of 2019.
  • Book Buying Tip: paperback prices in book and mortar bookstores are about the same as Amazon with prime shipping, while hardcovers are a lot cheaper on Amazon.
  • Success begins with a mindset. It starts in your head.
  • You can do launches whenever you want. You can always give people an incentive to buy your book. It might have new material or be a second or third edition.
  • You can do an anniversary launch where you relaunch your book a few months or years after it was first published.
  • You can also incentivize people to invest in your book rather than just pick it up at a used bookstore.
  • People who love books, love books. They don’t stop at 1 or 20 they buy as many books as they have room to store.
  • Always be creating something new. Don’t just publish one book can be done with it.
  • Every time someone reads your book is free advertising for you.
  • Take the time to answer this question: Why are you doing this? Why are you trying to write and publish a book? Think about it and make your why big enough to sustain you through the hard times.

How to Start a Publishing Company Kristen Joy quote image

2 Options for Authors Who Want to Write in More Than One Genre

1. Use pen names — traditional publishers have been doing this as long as publishing has been around. Each pen name is devoted to a single genre. That way your audience sees an author name and associates it with that genre. Ask yourself what genre you want to be known for and then use your given name for that genre
(unless you don’t want anyone to know that you’re an writer).

2. Brand yourself as a publishing company that publishes all the genres that you want to write in. In this scenario, the books can still all be yours. Again use pen names to separate genres. The important distinction here is that you’re presenting yourself as a publisher of your books rather than the writer.

Links and Resources Mentioned in the Interview

Finish Your Book Course and Tools — Kristen’s course on finishing your book. Good for nonfiction and fiction writers

Author’s Quick Guide to Finding Your Target Market — Kristen’s book will help you answer the two most important questions in marketing: WHO is your target audience? And WHERE do you find them?

Kindle in 30 Challenge Self Study Program — Kristen’s self-study course that teaches you everything you need to know to write, publish, and market your nonfiction book in 30 days. — Kristen’s personal website with free articles as well as courses on self-publishing and templates for you to buy.

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