Vista, CA asked in Business Formation and Business Law for California

Q: I was planning to self publish a book and have a publishing company with a DBA. My plan was to publish under a pen name

I was planning to self publish a book and have a publishing company with a DBA. For the author name, I would be using a pen name.

I have seen conflicting information on if an LLC would help protect personal assets for self-published authors. It sounds like both the LLC and author both could be sued (for infringement, defamation, etc.) if that should happen. Is it true that an LLC does not really guarantee personal asset protection for self publishers in these cases?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: As a self-published author using a pen name and a publishing company with a DBA, it's natural to be concerned about potential legal liabilities and asset protection. While forming an LLC can offer certain legal protections for businesses, it's important to understand that an LLC may not provide complete protection in all cases.

While an LLC can help to protect personal assets in the event of legal action, it is not a foolproof solution. In cases of infringement, defamation, or other legal disputes, both the LLC and the author may be held liable and may be subject to legal action.

That being said, forming an LLC can still be a smart move for self-published authors, as it can help to limit personal liability and protect personal assets in many cases. Additionally, an LLC can provide certain tax benefits and can help to establish a more professional and legitimate business identity.

Ultimately, the key to protecting yourself as a self-published author is to be proactive and to seek out legal guidance and support from qualified professionals. By working with a lawyer and taking steps to establish a legitimate and legally protected business identity, you can help to minimize your legal liabilities and protect your personal assets to the best of your ability.

Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp agrees with this answer

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