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Running a Publishing Business

by Ron Kurtus (revised 6 April 2015)

Just like any other business that makes and sells products, a running a publishing business requires three major areas or activities: management, production, and marketing. These tasks are done concurrently.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.


The management of your self-publishing business is an activity that is done every day.


You need to keep a good record of expenses and revenue. This is to make sure you are making a profit in the business, as well as for tax purposes.


Although many self-publishers do many of the tasks themselves, you still need to think of outsourcing many of your duties.

Assuming your business is not large enough to hire employees, you will primarily outsource work to be done. You need to find a good editor, designer and printer. Often, you will need a contract for the work they will do for you.

Time management

You need to manage how you spend your time in your business. Prioritize activities that result in income, as opposed to things that should be done but do not contribute that much.


The production activities concern publishing your books. Major steps are:

  1. Accept a book proposal
  2. Get the book ready for printing and e-book upload
  3. Have books printed

Book proposal

The decision to publish a book starts with a book proposal. This is certainly true if you are publishing someone else's book. But also, it is important to also determine whether your own book idea is worth pursuing.

Along with the proposal is an analysis of the market and potential demand for such a book. A tentative title should also be included.

Get ready for printing

Getting the book ready for printing consists of content and cover activities.

Get content ready:

  1. Write the front and back material
  2. Edit manuscript
  3. Format the book in book publishing software such as Adobe FrameMaker or InDesign
  4. Create a table of contents and index

Get cover ready:

Create print-ready PDF file.

Have books printed

Send PDF file to your printer. Receive copies of books ready to sell.


Marketing consists of three parts:

Determine market

In making a decision to publish a book, you need to determine the demand for such a book. The book proposal should include a market analysis, but you may also need to study the potential of the product.


Most book sales are done through online and bookstore sales. Printers often include a distrubtion package to get your books in the outlets. However, you may also need to do much distrubtion yourself.


You start your promoting efforts before you even print your books. You often need to send drafts to reviewers before the book is released.

Press releases, interviews, and presentations are part of the book promotion activities.


There are three major tasks involved in running the business, which are done concurrently. You need to manage the business activities. You must have your books ready for printing and then have them printed. Finally, you must market and sell your books.

It's all business

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Publishing Resources


Top-rated books on Self-Publishing

Questions and comments

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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School for Champions

Self-Publishing topics

Running a Publishing Business

Self-Publishing topics

Initial considerations

Start publishing business


Structure of book

Design book

Design cover

Publish hardcopy book

Publish e-book

Prepare to market

Convert format

Check Copy in eReader

Distribution and sales

Sell books

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