Tips for naming your self-publishing company

When self-publishing, you probably want to create a business that serves as the imprint – or publisher – of your book(s). This helps increase the odds of receiving attention from mainstream media, bookstores, libraries reviewers and others who still haven’t accepted that self-publishing now dominates book publishing. 

The creation of this imprint is hardly deceptive, as some in corporate publishing and who are tied to that paradigm would have you and others believe. You creating a publishing company that owns the ISBN and copyright to your work(s) is no different that an inventor or a craftsman who creates a start-up in his garage. 

When naming your business, using your own name helps you avoid filing a “Doing Business As” (also known as a “Fictitious Business Name Statement”) form with local or state authorities. Once you use a business name that doesn’t have your name in it, you’ll need to make such a filing. It’s usually a nominal fee, though, and worth the expense. Using your own name as the publisher, after all, undercuts the whole reason for creating a business in the first place – to sidestep the vestigial prejudice against self-publishing.

When coming up with a name, always make sure that it’s not already in use. If it is, you risk infringing on someone’s trademark rights. A quick Google search of the imprint name or online check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (for U.S. authors anyway) is a good idea. Generally, if you sell or offer dissimilar products and services, you can get away with using the same name (Otherwise, a small business like McDonald and Son Auctioneers would infringe on the fast-food restaurant’s trademark.).

In addition, typically if another business in your county has the same or similar name – even if you offer vastly different services and products – you cannot use that name when filing your DBA.

Once you settle upon a name, you may use “company” as part it but do not use “inc.,” “corp.” or “corporation.” The exception is if you’ve set up your business as a corporation. Doing that, though, is of little value unless you’re annual profit soars to at least five digits.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.