The good news is that I’m moving forward. Here are the things I’ve accomplished in the past two weeks.
I knew I’d need a trade name certificate to do business as Tuxedo Cat Press. I figured that in order to do this, I’d first need an actual legal entity. So I emailed my accountant to ensure I’m not doing something really bad (taxably speaking) in taking the micropress route. The good news is that I’m not. Since I’m the only member of the limited liability company, it’ll just be another Schedule C on my federal tax return. No big deal.
So I downloaded and completed the necessary form to create a limited liability company called Tuxedo Cat Press, LLC. Partway through the form, I discovered that Tuxedo Cat Press needed an email address. I contacted the company through whom I’d purchased all my domains over the years, only to discover that there is no longer a free email address available with each domain purchase. Since Tuxedo Cat Press needed an email address to become an LLC, I promptly signed up for the cheapest possible email plan ($1.99/month for the first year), figuring this gives me time to track down an alternative before the price skyrockets in Year 2.
Once Tuxedo Cat Press had an email address, I was able to submit the certificate of organization to the Secretary of the State, together with the fee.
One thing checked off the list.
I also downloaded the trade name certificate required by the town. Unlike most forms these days, this one needs to be printed out, filled in, signed by hand, and notarized. Luckily, in Connecticut, a lawyer admitted to practice can fill in for a notary on such matters. All I need to do is grab a lawyer friend, and I’ll be able to send my form and the fee to Town Hall.
The next morning, Tuxedo Cat Press received an email from the Secretary of the State confirming that the certificate of organization had been accepted and Tuxedo Cat Press, LLC, is officially a limited liability company. The email also reminded Tuxedo Cat Press to register with the Department of Revenue Services a/k/a the state’s version of the Internal Revenue Service. You know–the tax people.
I clicked the link which took me to the page offering various forms, including one for a sales and use tax permit. I began to fill out the form, only to discover that I apparently needed a Federal Employer Identification Number [“FEIN”]. This seemed odd to me since Tuxedo Cat Press doesn’t have any employees, but the form would not let me proceed without it. Fortunately, DRS is available by phone, and I spoke with an individual who said he thought I needed an FEIN, but he’d transfer me to someone else to be certain. The second person, an auditor, confirmed that I did need an FEIN, but she said it was easy to get. She wasn’t certain if I even needed to get the permit, though, since I probably won’t be selling books directly. To resolve this, she transferred me to a revenue examiner who said Tuxedo Cat Press absolutely needs a sales and use permit, but I can wait until closer to the publication date. Since the sales and use permit costs $100, I’m happy to wait. I did get the FEIN, which is free.
Since I needed a break from spending money, I devoted the next two evenings to finishing the final edit of my book and playing around with the formatting.
I contacted a book cover designer whose work came highly recommended by an author I’m familiar with. The designer and I emailed several times about various questions, and they sent me a quote. Once I accept the quote and send it back, we’ll be ready to start—or, more accurately, we’ll be ready to start once I write the back cover copy and my author bio.
I also contacted a studio in Australia about formatting the interior of the book since I’ve determined this is far beyond my skill set. Like the book cover designer, this studio was prompt and gracious, answering my questions patiently. They confirmed what I suspected, namely that I need to complete the entire interior of the book before they can do anything with it, including provide a hard quote.
Sunday evening, I decided to knock out the front matter and the back matter. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, here’s the simplest explanation: it’s all the stuff in the book that isn’t the actual story. Front matter absolutely must include a title page (title, subtitle, author, publisher, publisher’s city) and copyright page; it can also include all sorts of other material, such as reviews and blurbs, a half-title (a page with only the title on it), author bio (which can also be at the back), acknowledgements (ditto), dedication, table of contents, preface, introduction, and even a pithy quote to set the mood. Back matter can include the acknowledgements and author bio if they’re not at the front; it also includes appendices, indexes, end notes, a glossary, and bibliographies.
I started drafting the front matter, which went swimmingly at first. Half-title: check. Title page: check. Then I got to the copyright page, and things got more complicated. The copyright page needs to include things like the ISBNs (one for each format) and the LCCN if you think you’d like to try to get your book into libraries.
I’d been putting off buying the ISBNs because they’re expensive. I started to fill out the LCCN application since that’s free, but halfway through, it required me to fill in my ISBNs.
The jig was up. Time to fork over more cash for the ISBNs.
Not so fast, my friend.
You see, in order for Tuxedo Cat Press to buy ISBNs, the ISBN company wanted to know its website. As you may recall, Tuxedo Cat Press has an email address and a domain; it even has a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, and an Instagram account. But a website? I hadn’t gotten there yet.
Which meant that before I could buy the ISBNs so I could get the LCCN so I could fill in the copyright page so I could finish putting together the front matter, I needed to get a website.
I went back to WordPress, where this site is, and signed up for a new site. Then, I called the domain company and asked them to point the domain to the site. Somehow, I’m still ending up with WordPress in the site address, but since it’s not costing me anything (a very attractive feature at the moment), I’m leaving it alone.
On the upside, I bought the ISBNs. Created an account for Tuxedo Cat Press and bought ten ISBNs so I’ll have plenty for future books. (Buying 100 would have been a much better per-ISBN deal, but it would have meant shelling out nearly $600. Um, no.)
So then I thought, “I’ll assign the ISBNs to my formats, and then I can wrap up the LCCN, which means I can finish the copyright page and do the rest of the front matter!” Which means that after all this, I still haven’t learned a thing.
You see, in order to assign the ISBN to the format of the book, such as the paperback copy, you have to go online to complete the form. Lest you think this is a simple form, however, know that it includes fun little spaces entitled like “Describe your book” (350 words maximum), author bio, publication date, price, and something called “Title Status” (no idea, but it has a red asterisk which means it’s a required space). In other words, I can’t do my copyright page until I nail down my publication date and the price of my book, one of which is up in the air and the other of which I haven’t even begun researching. Which means I can’t get the ISBN or LCCN—and thus, can’t finish the front matter for the interior designer—until I stop what I was doing to figure all this out.
So at present, this week’s to-do list currently looks something like this:
- Set up the website for Tuxedo Cat Press–it currently proclaims, “Coming Soon!”;
- Assign ISBNs to the formats of my book (including figuring out all the stuff required for this seemingly clerical task);
- Finish the LCCN application and get that number;
- Finish preparing the front and back matter;
- Submit the completed interior of the book to the interior designer;
- Submit the acceptance of the quote to the book cover designer;
- Write the back cover copy;
- Write my author bio (which I’ll already have done, sort of, for the assigning of the ISBN, except the one on the cover needs to be either more interesting or more concise, and I don’t know which);
- Figure out if I need to have a photo on the back, which I’m leaning against simply because the notion of fitting that (in terms of both time and money) in feels overwhelming right now.
No two way about it: writing the book is definitely the easy part.
P.S. If the formatting on this post looks a bit wonky, it’s because somebody at WordPress who clearly had far too much time on their hands decided to upend everything that used to work perfectly well and which I actually knew how to use. With everything else on my plate, I haven’t had time to go in and learn how to make my posts look the way I want them to instead of how some technogeek likes them. If I remember, I’ll add this to the to-do list.