Third, the publisher must register the songs to be published with the Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. in the name of the publishing entity. If the songs have already been copyrighted under the name of the writer, assignments need to be filed which transfer the ownership of the songs to the name of the publisher.
Fourth, it is advisable to affiliate with the Harry Fox Agency in New York. For a small percentage fee, the Harry Fox Agency acts as the publisher's agent to issue mechanical licenses (which allow others to record the songs), collects the mechanical royalties, and accounts to the publisher.
Finally, if the artist ends up signing a record deal, third party publishers (major or indie) will then want to become the publisher (or co-pubisher) because a record deal almost always ensures that the songs will generate some income. By acting as his or her own publisher, this does not mean that the writer cannot one day be published (or co-published) by a larger, more established publishing company in exchange for an advance and better promotion of the songs. The writer simply has to assign the publishing (or part of it) over to the major or indie publisher.
In conclusion, if an artist is planning to release his or her own record and is without a publisher, forming a publishing company might be advisable and the above-mentioned steps should be helpful in doing so.
Ben McLane Esq