I'm about to self-publish a book through CreateSpace and they want me to give them an imprint.

(I know, I know, "you're not likely to make any money by self-publishing" and all that, but for the sake of this question, let's assume that I'll be able to bring in a few hundred sales per month because of green space magic.)

I purchased my own ISBN for the book through Bowker, and it looks like I'm supposed to send Bowker a request for an imprint name for the book, which they would approve and then I'd submit to CreateSpace.

So my question is, how much effort do I need to put in to selecting an imprint? Is this a big deal, or should I not worry too much about it? Who will see it and when? (Does it show up on the inside of the book? On Amazon?)

  • 1
    My understanding (which is the grain of salt to take this with) is that the imprint is best thought of as the business name that you want the checks written out to and the name the IRS will see on the 1099 you're going to get (if you make any money, that is). That being said I would probably use my own name unless you want to set up a DBA/other business entity (i.e. Green Space Magic Publishing Co.) and go through the special legal, bureaucratic and accounting headaches that entails. TL;DR Putting it in your name causes fewer headaches but is slightly less professional, if that matters.
    – Jed Oliver
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 4:30
  • @SomeNorCalGuy: Thank you for the information, and I'll take it with a grain of salt, like you advised. For what it's worth, I actually do have a DBA set up already, and I wouldn't mind running that through as my imprint name. (The book and the business are related to each other.) Also, for what it's worth, setting up a DBA in my state only took about an hour, and cost about $20. It wasn't too difficult.
    – rbwhitaker
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 15:13
  • Setting a DBA up is fairly easy, if initially a little confusing. It's all the fun stuff that comes after (keeping accounts separate, yada-yada-yada) that's not. My point is that if the question is 'I'm self-publishing my 1200-page epic adventure Jimmy and the Space Pirates: A Novel. What do I give the publisher as the imprint?' I'm just going to use my name as the imprint. To make it feel more legit, I could set up "Beep Boop Aargh Publishing". But how important is that? Think of the last three books you read: Who was the publisher? It was 3, 4 pages in. Don't know? That's my point. (salt)
    – Jed Oliver
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 16:11
  • I actually could tell you 2 of the publishers of the last 3 books I've read, but the last little bit, I've been paying particular attention to things like that. If you had asked me that a year ago, I'd have had no clue. :)
    – rbwhitaker
    Commented May 1, 2012 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


An imprint is basically the name of the publisher. CreateSpace gives you a few different options when it comes to assigning an ISBN to your book. You can obtain one for free from them, in which case CreateSpace is identifed as the publisher. If you obtain your own ISBN, then you can identify who the publisher of record is that will be associated with that ISBN. This can be yourself, it can be a publishing company you create yourself, or it can be a ficticious name that isn't even a business at all. However, if you later decide to change that for whatever reason, you will need to obtain a new ISBN. You can think of it as the unique bar code for that particular product. If you change anything on the cover, including the name of the publisher, then you have to change the ISBN.

You can find more information on the CreateSpace community forums, but here is one post in particular that applies to your question.

  • Thanks for this answer. I guess this means that it doesn't matter too much, but once you pick something, you're kind of stuck. (Unless you want a new ISBN.)
    – rbwhitaker
    Commented May 1, 2012 at 3:49

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