Becoming a Publisher

During my post on my decision to go indie, I mentioned that I had also decided to create a publishing company, Red Bucket Publishing.

I’m going to discuss this decision and some of the hoops I’ve found while working on this the past few days.

First off, I’m in Ontario, Canada. My initial decision was whether I go all out and incorporate a new company or whether I just register a Sole-proprietorship in Ontario.

Had to give this some thought.


Incorporating a business means that, as far as the federal government is concerned, it is a separate and “living” organisation. This means you need to file taxes for the company itself. It also means that any judgements of liability rest mostly on the company’s shoulders. On another note, when it comes to dealing with suppliers & such, being incorporated can add a bit more weight to your credibility.

However, the incorporation process is more involved. Most people will suggest you have a lawyer walk you through it (although, you can do the whole process online yourself if you wish). Since the corporation is a separate entity, regardless of income, you must charge, and remit to the government, taxes.  It also means that should you end your business, there’s more paperwork to file to cancel the whole thing.

I incorporated a business years ago. The business never went anywhere and I found the constant additional obligation of the corporation a bit of a strain.

Sole Proprietorship

The simpler, cheaper, choice. For $60, you can register a business online with the Ontario government. This allows you to operate under the business name, but all the income is declared on your own taxes. It also means that so long as you keep below a $30,000 a year income level, you do not have to charge your customers taxes.

You do not gain the same level of cred with a sole-proprietorship that you do with incorporation. You also don’t have the same legal rights and protection for your company name.

In the end, I decided to go with a sole-proprietorship. It was cheaper and for now, since I don’t know how big this thing will get, easier to manage.

The other thing I realized is that dealing with the suppliers I am, they really don’t care a bit whether I’m incorporated or not. Library and Archives Canada has no care whether you are a sole or inc. All they care is what you are publishing. Lightning Source? Same thing. In fact, Lightning Source is meant for indies and small presses as opposed to big corporations.

For now, Red Bucket Publishing is a sole-proprietorship. But, if the business gets large enough, I will give serious consideration to incorporating. Incorporation does provide some legal shields that being a sole does not. Also, if the money really comes in, I don’t know if I want my personal taxes taking that kind of a hit. Being an incorporated business does allow some tax perks that being an individual does not. But for now, I’ll wait to see if that comes to pass.

Finally, let me say that my decision to start a “publisher” was not born out of necessity. As far as I can tell, there’s no reason you need to do this if you want to self-publish. For me, it was a decision based on who I am and what I want to become. My wife is a photographer. I would one day like to publish her work. I also hope to produce a variety of series and novellas. I wanted a single point of contact for all the works we intend to produce and I didn’t want it to be this website. I’ve also longed to own my own business. Red Bucket Publishing fulfills all those desires.

However, it also means I not only have to market myself, my latest writing, but it also means I need to promote a company as well. More work? Maybe, but I think the rewards in the end will outweigh the extra effort now.

I’m still working on things, but if you want to bookmark for future reference, or just see the work-in-progress, you can head over to

So fellow indies, what do you think? Do you have your own publisher imprint?

4 thoughts on “Becoming a Publisher”

  1. Thanks for this post, it has come at a great time for me. I also live in Ontario, Canada and working my way through the self-publishing world. Your Canadian perspective is valued. Great idea sharing your self-publishing journey, I have thought of doing the same. Looking forward to following your journey.

  2. I have also decided to start my own company (Sinistre Prose, LLC). I figured I could start my own rather than trying to attract the attention of a company owned by someone else. I will probably begin as an LLC until I can afford to fully incorporate.

    1. That was my thinking. Start slow, see how fast and how big it builds. Having no employees and no immediate costs, I couldn’t see the benefit of incorporating right out of the gate.

      And there is something really gratifying about working for yourself and seeing your own company grow and succeed as opposed to being a slave to someone else’s success.

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