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You’ve heard it many times before on eBooks India, and it is worth repeating again. If you’re a self-published author selling your own books and ebooks, then you are running a publishing business. Any good publishing business worth its salt should be based upon a sound plan. This is where your business plan comes in handy.
If you’ve never written a business plan, then do what you do best (which is to write of course!) and get one completed. There are plenty of templates available online for free. The major benefit of producing a business plan is it will help you to focus.
You will have a guide of where you currently are, where you want to go in the future, and how you’re going to get there. Below are some of the key sections you would be working on when completing your business plan.
The executive summary is the first page of your business plan. However, it is advisable to write it at the end. The reason for this is that the executive summary will be a brief overview of your publishing business.
Typically, it will highlight the name of your business, your background and experience, what books and/or eBooks you plan to write and sell, any progress you’ve already made, the readers you will target and projected sales and profit estimations. You will only be able to include these details in the executive summary once you’ve researched and completed the major sections of the business plan, such as those below.
About You and Your Goals
In this section, describe your background, experience, qualifications and credentials. Won any awards for your writing? If so, this is the place to state them in all their glory.
Also, describe your personality characteristics that emphasis how you have got it in you to make your book business a success. In addition, state the goals for your business; those which are short-term, medium-term and long-term. Make the goals as specific as possible, such as I will sell 10 copies of a particular title by the end of month 1 through 2 distribution channels.
Your Products and Services
Your products are your books and ebooks. If you have a plan to write 4 novels and 15 short stories over the next 12 months, then describe exactly what these will be about. Do you offer any other services, such a freelance writing and/or book editing? If so, you can state them in this section.
Remember, your readers are your customers. Have a think of exactly what type of customer you want to target with your books and ebooks. What is their age, background and interests? Where do these types of people hang out? This section is the place to explain as much detail about your customers as you can, and why you’re confident they will buy your titles.
Do you have any plans to research whether people really will buy your book? For example, before you begin to write a book, you could carry out a survey to get the views of potential buyers and gauge their interest in your work. Write down any activities you will do, or describe any results from market research you have already done.
There will be many other authors out there who will be offering books and ebooks in the same genre as you write in. A lot of these will already have readers who will be buying their books. In this section, review the top 10 authors who are most similar to you in terms of their publishing company size, and who have a similar type of audience that you want to attract.
When you review your competitors, think about what their strengths are. For example, if a competitor has a large social media following, from which they promote their books, then this would be a strong point of this competitor. This type of information will help you to review exactly who and what you are up against, and what you need to do with your book business, to overcome the strength of your competitor.
Similarly, also consider the weaknesses of your competitors. For example if you know an author in your genre is not effective at selling books and ebooks using their own website, then this could be an area you could really emphasis on when making your titles available to buyers.
Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
When planning your book business, it is wise to take stock of your situation and to do so honestly and objectively.
Every author has strengths and weaknesses. What are yours? For example, if your strength is you are a prolific writer, then this is an advantage as you will be able to get more titles onto the market and sell ebooks quicker. If a weakness you have is not having good ebook cover design skills, then you can plan to get a professional in place.
Opportunities and threats are usually external to you and your book business. For example, if you write non-fiction about a particular niche, which has demand but doesn’t have many books catered to it, then this would be an opportunity you could exploit.
On the other hand, if you know a competitor is about to launch a book in a very similar niche to you, then this could be a threat. In such a case, you would need to create a plan to mitigate this threat.
In this section, state how you will reach out to customers. How will you promote you and your books and eBooks? Will you use social media, your own author blog, or network by attending trade shows?
Will you advertise in certain magazines you know your audience read, either in print and/or online? Write in detail, all the methods you will use to market your titles, and what price points you will use for them, and your strategy for selling at certain prices.
In this section, explain how you will sell your ebooks and books. Will you partner up with organisations like Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords and sell your titles through their platforms? If so, describe in detail how this will work.
Perhaps you will sell your titles directly through your own website, or copies at trade events you attend, or at presentations you give to audiences who will be interested in your work. Again, explain how you will do these things.
A business plan for your books will normally have a set of financial forecasts. One type is a sales forecast, which will detail how many sales you expect to make over a 12 month period, based upon how much it will cost you to make those sales (e.g. cost of hiring editors, proof readers, cover designers).
Another very important type of forecast to produce is a cash flow, which will show all expected cash that will come into your business (through sales of your books and ebooks) and expected cash that will leave your business (through ongoing payments made for items such as hosting space for your website, business insurance, and marketing costs), again over a period of 12 months.
A cash flow is helpful to determine how much money you will need to help your book business start-up during its initial months, and at what point your income will exceed your costs, moving your business into profit.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]