This Little Publisher // 001: The Start

Let’s rewind to April 2023: I’m sitting on my couch having just finished reading the novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,and Tomorrow, by Gabrielle Zevin. I’m thinking deeply about it, because it’s a story that stays with you. 

In very basic terms, the book is about video game creators, and has a lot to say about creativity, partnership, and the pure escape into a good piece of art—whether that’s a book, song, painting, or video game.

In a video game, the user is completely immersed in its world, submerged in the story, and interacts with it in real time. My kids love video games, much to my simultaneous delight and dismay. Like many parents, I want less screen time, not more, for my kids—but they really do get a lot out of certain video games. This got me thinking about interactive interfaces of the non-digital variety…books! My next thought was: can kids have the same relationship with books as they do with games?

And that planted the seed of Brydon Books.

Right there, I drafted the manuscript that will be the first book published by us, and I devised the basic concept of the company.

At first, I was just going to take myself through the self-publishing process of this one book, since I’ve already helped many authors do the same thing. But when I began to imagine publishing more books and more series, the whole thing snowballed into starting a publishing company. OK, so I really was going to do this!

My next step was to think of a name for the company. So I made a long list. A really long list. I won’t share it with you because, frankly, it’s embarrassing. But I highly recommend, if you are to think up a company name, you make a really long, very embarrassing list. Maybe share the list with someone you trust and who won’t laugh at you (in my case, I shared mine with my husband, Ed, who is also our co-founder). Narrow your long list to a shortlist. Say each company name out loud and see how the words feel in your mouth. Because you’re going to be saying them a lot, like a kid’s name on a playground.

My short list actually did not include Brydon Books. That one came to me in that space between sleep and waking (which is my best creative space). But before Brydon Books came to me, I had a very short list that I rather liked.

I brought my short list to an IP lawyer, because I did not want to get in a pickle (I happen to love pickles, but not of the legal variety). You can do a basic trademark search yourself HERE or HERE, but it’s important to have someone help you out who knows their shtuff. I also had my lawyer draft a vendor contract for me, and I’ll have her draft or review others in the future. It’s so great to have legal support at my fingertips, and this is one thing I would suggest you don’t skimp on.

My top company name was already taken (as a subsidiary of one of the big 5, which I did not want to mess with!). The rest didn’t quite sing to me.

And then, Brydon Books popped into my brain: the double consonant and the likely fact that nobody else would have claimed that company name since, well, it was my name. I ran it by my IP lawyer and she gave me the thumbs up!

Next, I registered my company. This is so much easier than you might expect (at least in the UK). Since I live in the UK and wanted to register my company here, I went to Companies House, filled out a form, paid £12 and about a day later, I had a registered company! In the US, it seems you go here to do it and get a federal tax ID number here. For the rest of the world, I’m afraid I have no experience with registering a company, and I’m sure it varies greatly from country to country. So I recommend you do a google search and go to your country’s small business bureau.


After registering Brydon Books as a Ltd company, I opened a business bank account and notified my accountant so I could file taxes properly (if you don’t have an accountant, I recommend getting one for your small business). The bank I use for BB is Starling, but you could use any online or brick-and-mortar / high street bank. What I like about online banks like Starling and Revolut (which I use for my other company) is that you don’t have to pay monthly fees to have one. Brick-and-mortar / high street banks often charge you fees to have a business bank account, and when you’re just starting out there is not much room in the budget for that. With online banks, you may pay fees here and there for using services, but these are ad hoc fees, which I find to be more manageable.

Whichever type you decide to use, open a brand-new, separate bank account for your business (even if you don’t register as a corporation) so you don’t co-mingle with your personal finances.

Speaking of finances, you’ll need some money to start up. I created this budgeting template; it’s rather crude, but it helps with planning! Feel free to use it for yourself to figure out how much money you’ll need for the first year and first print run. Then add a bit more to that (naturally). NB: this is a business start-up cost spreadsheet, not a P&L (Profit & Loss) statement, which most publishers use to work out the risk v potential profitability of each book they publish. I’ll go over P&Ls in a future newsletter.

Brydon Books is self-funded at the moment; we didn’t want to take out any business loans or start seeking out investors. But that might change, and you should work out for yourself where your start-up funding will come from.

OK, this has been quite a dense newsletter, and it’s Friday—so I’m going to end it here and urge you go take a walk in the fresh air. That’s what I’m planning to do right now!

In the next TLP email: fleshing out the business concept, devising vision-mission-values, and brand strategy/design. See you in a couple of weeks!

Love + books,

P.S. I am an expert on book publishing, not legal or business affairs—and I always recommend you get those experts in your corner!

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