How to Start a Young Adult Book Business

A young adult book business produces and sells books specifically geared for kids in or around their adolescent years. Individuals looking to start a business may rely on outside authors and illustrators or complete the primary tasks themselves (e.g., writing, binding, etc.) as well as selling them.

Learn how to start your own Young Adult Book Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Start a young adult book business by following these 9 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your young adult book business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

STEP 1: Plan your Business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a young adult book business?

Authors have to keep in mind the people for whom they are writing. Because your audience will be composed of young adults, it is important to make sure that your writing is done at the appropriate reading level. Stories should be captivating, but written simply enough that teenagers have no trouble getting through your books.

Although it is said that one should never judge a book by its cover, having attractive cover art for your book will help catch the eye of buyers. Therefore, it is suggested that you invest in a quality illustrator to carry out your cover art. This will allow you to catch and keep the interest of customers.

What are the ongoing expenses for a young adult book business?

Ongoing expenses for a business will depend on how many books the business sells a year. Additional expenses may include the following:

  • Advances for new authors
  • Book promotion
  • Employee salaries
  • Publishing materials/cost

How does a young adult book business make money?

Profit margins can vary based on the materials of the book, the advance of the author, and the promotion strategy for the book. The average advance for a young adult book is about $11,000. Once the sales of the book pay back the advance, the author will receive royalties for additional sales based on their contract.

How much can you charge customers?

Young adult books range in price according to the quality of the book and the author’s popularity. Look at similar books to the one you’re selling determine the market price. Keep in mind that customers will be hesitant to shell out a lot of money for a book that may not be well put together.

How much profit can a young adult book business make?

The profits can be unlimited for a young adult book business if they score a must-have book (think Harry Potter). However most authors and publishers will see more modest returns on each printing. Let’s say you print 4,000 first edition books, and they’re priced at $15. If they cost $5 a piece to make then you’ll need to sell 800 to break even on the cost of the materials. If the author received a $12,000 advance, then they would need to sell an additional 800 copies to fully pay off the the advance. From there, the publisher and author/illustrator will typically split the any additional sales according to the contract.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Those in the young adult book business may want to branch out, making their characters into toys or games. They can also look into turning their ideas into a television show or feature film!

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. If you don’t have a name in mind already, read our detailed guide on how to name a business or get some help brainstorming a name with our Young Adult Book Business Name Generator.

Then, when registering a business name we recommend checking if the business name is available in your state, federally by doing a trademark search, searching the web, and making sure the name you choose is available as a web domain to secure it early so no one else can take it.

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account ( Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your young adult book business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

Check out the Top Business Formation Services from our friends at StartupSavant.

You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a young adult books business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Certificate of Occupancy

A young adult book business is generally run out of a publishing office. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a young adult book business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your young adult book business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

STEP 7: Get Business Insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

Recommended: Learn what business insurance for your Young Adult Book Business will cost.

Business Insurance for
Young Adult Book Business

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

How to promote & market a young adult book business

Social media and word-of-mouth are two free ways to get the word out about your book. But it's also pivotal to develop and build relationships with both customers and retailers. Having a book party for friends, bookstore owners, and librarians can be a good way to get people’s eyes on the book while connecting with them on another level. You can also consider visiting schools and reading your story aloud to the young adults in your community to encourage interest.

How to keep customers coming back

Bestsellers are able to keep up with new consumer demands while giving readers the same quality they’ve come to expect. Choose or create characters and storylines that touch the heart or tickle the funny bone. Young adult books don’t necessarily need to be a series, but there should be some continuity when it comes to style and tone.You’ll also want to keep up with promotion on a regular basis. An author can fade into obscurity relatively quickly, so it’s important to keep the name in the public eye for as long as possible.

STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence

A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

Start A Young Adult Book Business In Your State

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

This business is good for someone who loves entertaining young people. They should have active imaginations and appreciate interesting or unusual characters. Even if you're not planning to do the actual writing yourself, they'll need to be able to spot those who can.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a young adult book business?

The primary duties may include the following:

  • Courting authors/illustrators
  • Scheduling releases
  • Coordinating publicity/promotion for books
  • Book binding/printing

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful young adult book business?

People who know the publishing industry and the developmental stages of a child will likely do well. The popularity of young adult books are notoriously difficult to predict, so having these skills will help to build a solid foundation.

What is the growth potential for a young adult book business?

Traditional publishers have been steadily trying to find their place in the market since the debut of self-publishing and electronic books. The profits for an e-book are typically far higher than hardcover books, and the fact that young people are increasingly utilizing technology means that the number of opportunities for publishing electronic young adult books will be increase as well.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

How and when to build a team

Unless the author is planning to write and publish the book themselves, they’ll need to build a team sooner rather than later. Depending on the workload, there may be some overlap when it comes to the roles. For example, the author may also keep track of social media promotion, or the publisher may take care of visiting the local libraries.

Next Steps

Get more ideas with our Business Ideas Generator.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

Sign up at the Business Center to access useful tools for your business.

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