Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why Your Book Deserves a Business Plan

Why are you writing a book? You want it to be read, right? If that isn't your goal, then you can stop reading now. But if you do want to sell books, there is something you can do to help get them into the hands (or e-readers) of your target audience. Create a book business plan. While CreateSpace, the darling of Amazon, advises that a business plan be developed after the manuscript is written, you will be better served by working on a plan as soon as you come up with a book idea. If you have already begun writing the book, don’t give up on a business plan. The plan can be beneficial at any point, but the sooner you work on it, the better it can assist you.

The business plan enables you to look at your book as a business, and not just a creative exercise. No matter how you decide to publish, a book is a product that needs to be sold. The plan can help you determine if your book idea can actually sell. It will also help keep you focused on your reader and target market.

The key points of a book business plan include honing in on what your book is about; determining who your target market is; conducting market research; exploring publishing options; estimating resources needed to complete and market your book; and examining distribution, promotion and sales channels. Let's look at each of these.

1) What is your book about? You must be able to describe this succinctly.

2) Who is your target market? It is not “everybody”! Not a book has been written that absolutely everyone wants to read. Is your audience male, female, both? Children? What age range? Fiction or nonfiction? You need to know who you are writing for in order to appeal to them as buyers.

3) Market research will help you identify what competition exists for your book. What makes your book different from what is already out there?

4) How do you intend to get published? Will you approach a traditional publishing company? Does your subject matter lend itself to local or regional publishing houses, or university presses? Or are you going to set up an independent publishing company? How you answer this question may influence the way your book is written.

5) It is important to know how much it will cost to publish your book. While a traditional publisher may cover all of the expenses involved in getting a book into the marketplace, other options may require you to pay some or all of the expenses. You will need to think about the costs involved for editing, book design, printing and/or ebook development, and marketing expenses. These all add up quickly, and knowing what you will have to pay out of pocket can help you determine if the book makes sense from an economic standpoint.

6) What is the best way to get your book into the hands of your target audience? You need to have a plan for marketing and distributing the book. Where does your target market shop? Retail stores? Specialty stores? Online? This goes back to having a clearly defined answer to number 2 above. Don’t forget the power of your own networks - family, friends, co-workers, and all of your contacts on social media.

Once complete, have other people review your business plan. They may have suggestions and ideas you haven't considered. And remember that the plan isn't set in stone. It will evolve along the way. Give your book its best chance for success by developing a business plan!

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