View Full Version : Questions about self-publishing and distribution

2010-12-04, 12:13 AM
Hey there. I haven't been around the Arts and Crafts section much, although I lurked around for a while at one point.

Anyways! My friend and I are going to begin the printing and distribution of a pulp fiction magazine in a little under a year. I have loads and loads to say about this, simply to talk about my work here on the wonderful forums, as well as probably to ask if anybody here wants to write stories for us, however first we have some logistical and legal issues to work out.

Now, I know that I cannot ask for specific legal advice. What I would like to ask for is anybody who has had a similar experience in the past: has anybody around here published, especially self-published? We need to work out the details of how that works, especially with regards to taxes and whatnot. We intend one of our vectors for sale to be a number of distributors just hanging out all over the country (this is US) with a box full of issues, selling them on the street.

A quick run down of what it is, for those curious (I will have a much more detailed thread on this in some time, I don't know how long). The center of each monthly issue will be a comic/graphic novel being written by myself and a friend, in a steampunk setting, primarily following what pretty much amounts to a freelance adventurer airship crew. There will be about 10 pages of this continuing story in each issue, which will also have 30-40 pages of unrelated fiction short stories, articles, and the like, from various authors.

2010-12-04, 12:54 AM
Well, I used to work in my college magazine and we self-publish, but I live in the opposite side of the world and I don't even think our legalese use the same numeric system :smalltongue:.

But we published about 500, or at much 1000 exemplar per edition, and I don't think taxes are ever mentioned.

To be honest, I wasn't one of the business guy, and just the chief editor. We live in a kinda different world, I hunt for articles and the business guys hunt for moneys. But somehow we got our isbn number, and we simply put our magazines to kiosk and bookstore that're interested, and that's that.

2010-12-04, 01:02 AM
We're planning to open with runs of 500, and increase it if it works out. We've found a website that does mass magazine printing, and we can do a run of 500 issues at 52 pages for about $1600, which I think is quite cheap, relatively.

2010-12-04, 02:15 AM
Yeah, people publish independent comic books/magazines all the time. I don't know about US, but I don't think we ever had any legal trouble, we just put boxes of our magazines to stores that says yes, magazine kiosk that says yes, and even a couple of bookstores.

We were always more concerned on whether we can get our money back for printing the next edition anyway :smallbiggrin:

2010-12-04, 11:34 AM
You don't have to worry about taxes until you start actually making a profit from it. (well, legally, you do, but they wont bug you for not makingmoney.)

However, If you are going to be REALLY serious about it, i would suggest an llc, so that if the magazine gets sued (say, you reprint someones copywritten story, not aware that the person who gave it to you stole it) you can't be held personally liable, just the magazine llc.

I would try and get an isbn number, its cheap, and having the number, and a barcode, makes it more likely that random comic shops will stock it. Makes you look more professional.

What is the source you are looking at for other stories? Do you intend an online component as well?

2010-12-04, 01:24 PM
At first we were just gonna take stories from friends (which drops the need to be super careful about the copyright issues, cause neither of us intend to screw each other over) although it would be good to be able to take stories from others, which means we also need to work out the details of ownership of copyright, or permission to print, or what have you.

Yeah, we are intending an online distribution aspect as well, website where you can buy pdf downloads of the issues.

Edit: Aha. ISSN is for serials, seems quite easy, and is free. Once we've finished the teaser issue, we must apply for it...

2010-12-04, 06:10 PM
scuse, yes, issn, my bad.

2010-12-10, 03:01 PM
Always be careful, even among friends. Things can get hinky real quick. So come up with some simple contracts for everyone.

2010-12-11, 10:37 PM
Always be careful, even among friends. Things can get hinky real quick. So come up with some simple contracts for everyone.

I second this completely.

2010-12-14, 11:03 AM
absolutely. Contracts for anything. Make sure who has what rights, what ownership, and what percentage splits are.