- Decide whether you will be a sole proprietorship, LLC, S Corp, etc.
- Decide whether you want a press name, in which case you need to file for your "DBA" (Doing Business As) with Secretary of State (search already existing business names on the site first)
- File for your EIN at IRS.gov
- Create a separate business account (once you have your EIN)
- Sign up for a Square account
- Sign up for a PayPal account separate from your personal one
- Create files for any business related documents/receipts/forms
- Keep track of startup expenses, which are tax deductible
- Budget self-publishing and business start up costs--what is your break even point?
- Figure out the price of your book/s once you know the production costs
- Figure out where you will publish (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Lightning Force, Ingram, etc.) and open accounts with them
- Get a sales tax license for city and state
- Purchase ISBN numbers from R.R. Bowker (cheaper in bulk, and you will likely need at least two for each book, as each format requires its own)
- Contract book cover, editor, etc., as needed
- Research/complete formatting--ebooks are formatted differently than paperbacks, plus different POD sites may have different requirements (Smashwords has additional formatting instructions beyond what's required by Amazon, for example)
- Decide on front matter (keep it simple and brief), including any disclaimers
- Decide on back matter, such as bio, thank yous/acknowledgments, website/social media links
- Upload final cover/formatted book
- Order a proof and carefully review the ebook after uploading
- Make it live once it's ready!
Some resources I found helpful:
- Business Tips and Taxes for Writers, by Carol Topp, CPA
- Self-Publisher's Legal Handbook, by Helen Sedwick (If you buy only one of these books, I'd recommend this one first, though both are helpful)
- How to Publish and Sell Your Articles on Kindle, by Kate Harper
- CreateSpace Formatting Tips, by Teresa Miller (note that CreateSpace no longer exists, but this should help with any paperback formatting)
- Adding Hyperlinks
- How to Format an Ebook for Kindle, by David Masters
- How to Self-Publish an Ebook, by David Carnoy
- KDP Ebook Manuscript Formatting Guide
- Preparing Your Manuscript for Conversion to Standard Ebook File Formats
I threw this together pretty quickly, so I'm sure I forgot something. Like I said above, feel free to make further suggestions or link to resources you liked in the comments.
And good luck!
May you find your Muse.