Have you recently self-published a book? The more time you spend exploring your options and opportunities, the clearer it becomes that self-publishing a book is a lot like launching a start-up business … and that the more you plan, the more you’ll get ahead.
There are countless considerations and decisions to make once you make that big commitment to self-publish! And if your new book is your new business, you need to keep many things in mind prior to, during, and after publication. First off, you absolutely must take some time to sit down and plan out your next steps. Planning is something you’ll need to return to, as well, throughout the process! Taking time periodically to evaluate, and possibly re-evaluate your plan, is necessary to ensure that you are still on the right track.
Looking for some ideas to get started? Ask yourself these questions and you may just find the answer that will keep your book, and you as an author, in business for a very long time:
- What business are you in? This is an important initial question and everything you do should build from this. What things are you interested in? Will your book be a product of your interests? This question may seem deceptively simple, but it’s foundational to literally everything else.
- What is your product? Again, this may seem like a simple question but it really isn’t. Can you describe your book as if it were a product? What are its major features? Is your book a niche product?
- What are your goals and objectives? Determining where you want your book-as-a-business to go is an important step when starting off. Consider if you want to market this book locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally. Set goals for yourself and for the sale of the book itself. Sit down every now and then and find out if those goals are reasonable, or perhaps they need to be changed.
- Who do you want to buy your book? Every business needs a target market. We all would love to say that everyone will be interested and want to buy our books, but the reality is that this is never, and will never be the case. Now is the time to think about who that market will be for you. Think about your customer’s characteristics, their geography, age, gender, possibly even their income status.
- Who’s your competition? Scope out your competition. Has someone written anything similar? Do some research at your local bookstores and libraries and find things out about other books that compare to yours.
- How will you price your book? Pricing is an integral part of being able to set a budget for your book. You don’t want to set the price too high, and you certainly don’t want to short-change yourself by setting it too low. Thinking of the previous question you asked yourself, consider your competitors when setting your price. When determining your budget, be sure to set this to your comfort level and to a price that marks it as a quality entry in the genre. Pricing and budget ought to be evaluated on a continual basis, as the market changes rapidly.
- What’s your inventory? The last thing you want to happen is to not have books available when a person wants to buy. On the other hand, you don’t want to have too many on-hand. Look into the advantages of print-on-demand (POD) publishing, and make sure to inquire after discounted author copies!
- Have you crafted a strategy? Answering all of these questions can generate some complicated, even overwhelming to-dos, but crafting an overarching strategy to cope with your new business responsibilities is a vital part of the process. Start by taking all of these questions and letting them percolate for a while. Everything that follows needs to go hand-in-hand with the answers to achieve all of the goals and objectives you set out to accomplish
- What’s next? Usually, the fun part: marketing! There are so many things that go into marketing your book and your business, including creating your brand, launching promotions, sales, and advertising as well as navigating distribution channels and much more. Create a plan that satisfies all these things, and all things you want to do to market your creation. Where do you want to make your book available for purchase? Who will sell your book? What avenues do you want to use to advertise your book?
Always be sure to keep in touch with your fans and followers. After the success you’re bound to have with your latest book, you’re going to write many more … right? Keeping in touch with your fans will make selling that next book that much easier.
Need help? Our Personal Marketing Assistants are ready and eager to help you figure out the perfect way to build your self-publishing business! You can also get fresh marketing ideas any time in the FREE Book Marketing Resource Center.