Saturday, July 14, 2012

Do You Have a Business Plan and Marketing Strategy? Self-publishing is a Business!

I was so happy when the proof copy of my first book arrived in the mail. Excited when it appeared on Amazon and even more excited the first time I got paid! My tiny publishing empire has come a long way since then. I have actually paid for things around the house such as a completely new central air conditioning and heating system, a new water heater and family vacation. All of my new projects are funded out of revenue from the business.

One of the really painful lessons I have learned is the amount of time, effort, money and opportunities I have squandered as a result of not fully realizing from the start that being an author, fiction or non-fiction, it does not matter, is a business.

Fortunately, I like to learn about things that interest me. Self-publishing can be so overwhelming and confusing that I felt compelled to learn as much as I could in order to achieve the one business goal I had at the time - to make some extra money for the family.

After reading two books early in the process, Aiming at Amazon and Print-on-Demand Book Publishing, I came to the conclusion that this was a business and I had better start learning about the business end of things. I am not there yet by any stretch of the imagination, but I am slowly learning and at least correcting a few of my worst mistakes in the process.

For authors visiting this blog who are considering self-publishing I have compiled a short list of subjects you will need to learn something about. I would love it if veteran self-publishers who have been success would comment and add to the list so the rest of us, myself included, could benefit from your experience and success. Here's the list:
  • book design
  • book marketing
  • campaign launches
  • author platforms
  • editing
  • sales
  • marketing in general
  • website/blog (this is worth several posts alone)
  • accounting
  • copyright
  • print-on-demand service
  • print-on-demand business model
  • ebooks
  • Kindle
  • Nook
  • business planning
  • taxes and publishing
  • taxes and small business 
  • branding
  • social media
There's more, but that is a good start for list of this type.

The two biggest mistakes I feel I have made was launching into my self-publishing efforts without:

a) a business plan
b) a marketing plan

These two items alone would have been well worth the time, money and effort invested in planning my tiny empire and its growth and development. Things would have gone much smoother and with fewer setbacks.

Based on my own experience, I urge any author who has not done so to develop both a business plan and a marketing plan.