Friday, July 27, 2012

Developing a Business Plan for Your Self-Publishing Empire - Part I Three Questions To Ask

If you are like me, when you decided to self-publish your book, you did not stop to think self-publishing is a business. You just wanted to see your book in print. Hopefully you would sell enough copies to at least break even. Secretly you hoped your book would become an international best seller and make you rich and famous!

I wish when made the decision to self-publish my first book I had realized, and accepted the fact, self-publishing is a business and must be approached that way. I would have invested a lot more time and effort in planning to develop my business than I did in writing my first book. I would be much further along than I am now and much closer to my business goals as a self-published author.

As part of my learning curve, I have been researching how to develop a strategic business plan for a small business. There is lots of conflicting advice from the experts wielding MBA's who write about this sort of thing. Still, I have been able to find there are three questions most of these experts agree must be asked and researched, if not actually definitively answered, before launching a small business. These questions are:
  • Where am I/we now?
  • Where do I/we want to go?
  • How do I/we get there?
These simple questions actually are the ones you need to ask yourself. As simple as these questions are, the answers are essential in order to create a road map to lead you to success as a self-publishing author.

As you work through each of these questions, you will unearth more questions, requiring more research, learning and planning. Undoubtedly you will go down the wrong path from time to time. Better to make that mistake now where the price you pay is some time lost and the cost of a used paperback or a Kindle ebook. Trust me, the time and money saved will be considerable.

You want your book to succeed. Part of that success means people have to know about your book so they can buy it and read it. As simple as that sounds, it won't happen with out marketing on your part. How do you plan to go from where you are right now? All you might have is an idea for a book or a finished manuscript.

How will you get the book into print, either paper or ebook, and get it to market? 

Who do you want to sell the book to? Do you even have a potential audience/market for the book?

What is my goal for my book one year from now? Two years? Three years?

What do I have to do to arrive at my hoped for destination three years from now?

Am I going to publish just one book, or several?

Do I hope to make this a full time career and support myself and my family with writing and self-publishing?

You can see how the three simple questions spawn more questions and in the process of answer each question, you ask more and more questions as you unearth the answers.

Take notes. Lots of notes. After time, take a break from brainstorming and researching and organize the information you have collected so far. By now, you should have learned enough to realize self-publishing is indeed a business and you are the company and all the employees! 

At this stage it should be obvious an organized plan is essential to keep costs manageable, to know how you plan to bring your book to market and what work you will do yourself and what work you will hire out. This is all just the tip of the iceberg too!

Don't let all of this discourage you. Learning new things is fun with the right outlook and when it is all said and done, it is a great feeling when you sell the first copy of your book!