Author Q&A: Is it unethical to create a company or fictitious name to publish your own books?

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 6.22.53 PMAbsolutely not! There is nothing illegal or unethical about obtaining a fictitious name or creating a separate legal entity to operate a business. This includes a business to publish your books.

Writing and publishing books is a business like any other, and self-published authors should think of themselves as business people selling their products.

Running a successful business takes effort, and many indie authors acknowledge that publishing and marketing their books is often more challenging than writing them. This is why self-published authors must also think strategically in order to market and sell their books. Doing this will increase the success potential for their books.

Self-published authors: Don’t feel guilty about acting like business people. You must!

I wrote my book “Does Your Compass Work? Practical Legal Guide for Florida Businesses” (now in its 3rd edition) to help business owners learn about key areas as they create and develop their business. The book contains particular examples for businesses in Florida and also provides valuable information for anyone seeking to operate a business in the United States.


Copyright © 2015 Yasmin Tirado-Chiodini. All Rights Reserved. This content is provided under a Creative Commons License.


About tiradochiodini

I am a attorney, entrepreneur and author blogging about business, law, entrepreneurship, writing, books and other subjects.
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2 Responses to Author Q&A: Is it unethical to create a company or fictitious name to publish your own books?

  1. Unfortunately, publishing a book is kind of a gamble for a new author. We all watch TV, go to movies, and read books. Obviously entertainment is being consumed by the masses at high levels or else the entertainment industry would go belly up. Yet, a new writer will be afflicted with all sorts of folks who pretend to be puritans (who more than likely are consumers of entertainment).

    Shorter version – probably advisable to use a pen name until you establish yourself as an author lest you have to deal with “Well, that’s the person who printed a naughty word on page 10 of his book!” in your personal life.


  2. Thanks for your comment bookshelfbattle. I should clarify that by using the term “Fictitious Name” I was referring to the adoption of a business name, not a pen name (see previous post under “Business and Entrepreneurship” category: The use of a pen name is a subject for a future post. This topic is often discussed by new authors, particularly those who, as you mentioned, are unsure about how their product will be received, or by authors who wish to experiment in a different genre. While an author can choose to remain anonymous by using a pen name, this is typically not the case when the author owns a business, even if the author operates under a “fictitious name.” In the U.S. these have to be registered with the Department of State of the state where the author resides, and thus, its ownership is public information. In any event, like other business owners, authors (self-published or not) must strive to create good quality products, as you suggest. It is key that authors think like business people. At the end of the day, the market will decide where the author stands. Quality is king.


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