Any writer who wants to publish their work — whether it is fiction or nonfiction — should develop a Book Business Plan (Proposal) for each manuscript. Book publishers require authors to submit a proposal that introduces the work to the Acquisitions Editor together with three random chapters, list of chapter headings and brief outline of each chapter, a synopsis and an author bio for review. An acquisitions editor and select editorial personnel determine whether the manuscript fits the publishing firms’ book list profile and if it is a viable business proposition.
The book proposal, prepared by the author, facilitates the publishers’ decision-making process. Writing a Book Business Plan allows the author to think about how to go about creating a framework to write the manuscript, choose a title, decide on the number of chapters, which topics require research, whether to approach a commercial publisher or publish independently, how to identify the right publisher, what self-publishing involves, costs, revisions and new editions, film rights, how to pinpoint your specific readership and what quantitative and qualitative benefits this target audience seeks, and how you intend marketing your book (pre-publicity, launch, and what you intend to do once the book is successful).
When do you start writing your Book Business Plan?
Developing the Book Business Plan starts the moment you begin writing your manuscript. At this stage you should already have a clear vision of the plot and characters, the target audience and even the venues where copies of the book can be sold. Start with your end goal in mind; calculate how much revenue (or number of copies) you want to generate from book sales. Be realistic; you probably won’t make the top ten best seller list with your first publication (although, don’t rule this out altogether) but by setting the right strategy you are establishing a future goal to potentially earn big money down your career path.
- How do you plan to organize and manage your new book?
- Do you need a publicist or are you competent to undertake the marketing campaign by yourself?
- Do you need to employ an advertising agency?
- Who will write a review?
- Who will write a literary critique?
- Who will undertake content illustrations and cover design?
- Who will write the back-page cover blurb?
- Who will register the ISBN and convert the number to bar-code?
- Who will edit the manuscript?
- Do you have the right contacts to organize a range of merchandising, including a book video, imprinted bookmarks, chap books, T-shirts, or posters?
- Bear in mind that as the author you too are the product. Could you schedule book signings, community events, workshops, and media interviews?
- A big part of your Book Business Plan is knowing beforehand who will want to buy your book. It’s vital to know precisely who your market and readership target is. Are they women? Men? Adolescents? Romance lovers? History buffs? Knowing who your market is will also make it easier to determine the venues they frequent when the book is ready to be launched, and choosing the promotional activity that will attract their attention.
- Establish what it is that makes your book so special and better choice compared to similar publications. Many writers write books they would love to read, or choose topics that are currently in vogue but write it from a different perspective. Make sure you know why you and your book is special; it’s the backbone of a good Book Business Plan and effective marketing strategy.
- Know how to promote your product; make a point of telling everyone you know about your book. Print and distribute copies of chap books with your book review. Print an edition of bookmarks to leave at libraries, book shops, and book events. Publicize your book through social networking. Print size A4 posters to display in shop windows. Offer to give a talk to members of local book clubs or writers’ groups. Create novel marketing strategies. Put your book online with Amazon. Negotiate with local book stores to accept a small edition of your books on consignment (they only pay you when the books are sold). Think creatively; if your book is about travel, you may want to distribute copies through travel agencies and run an advertisement (or blog feature) on their web site. Promote your book as a gift item. If your book is aimed at a young audience, consider including a small gift to make the purchase more attractive. Is your story about wine? Wineries have gift shops. If your book is historic in nature, museum gift stores would be an ideal venue.
- Market Research: Describe the book-reading behavior of your target market.
- Similar publications in the marketplace.
- Format and length of proposed book.
- Biographical details.
- Media & PR Plan.
- Does the proposal provide sufficient commercial returns?
Contact Theresa (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any writing and editing assignments, including review, literary critique, book business plan (proposal) editing, ghost writing, graphic design, and self-publishing.