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Self Publishing - Becoming a Publisher

It can seem a daunting prospect to become a publisher but there’s actually little to it. Think of a name, decide on an address and you are more or less in business. It is definitely worthwhile, in my experience, to open a bank account in the company name. Many high street banks offer a year free of charge for new companies. Take advantage!

The simplest way is to be a ‘sole trader’; just one person acting alone. You don’t need to register a company, nor make returns to Companies House. You do, of course, have to declare any income generated from the business but the tax people have special procedures for sole traders which are relatively simple as long as the profits are moderate. A positive factor is that you can set legitimate expenses against tax, including proportions of domestic bills if you use a room of your house as an office. The tax people will advise on your rights in this regard.

The big disadvantage of being a sole trader is that you are personally responsible for debts. If you should publish something actionable, and have to pay damages, your personal assets, including your home, are at severe risk. You can avoid this by forming a limited company but this process is tediously bureaucratic. I opted for the sole trader route and so far have survived.

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