Creating Your Author Business Plan
Plan out yours steps for launching and advertising your new book. Phase it on a calendar of events for launch week and month, post-launch month, sustaining sales, discounts and giveaways. If you plan specific promotional efforts, you can calculate cost and project returns on your investment.
Include a budget for each phase and each advertising platform you intend to use (Facebook, BookBub, Amazon, Pinterest, etc.). Budget for education: books, courses, professional services (editing, cover design, graphics, ad or blurb copy-writing, etc.).
Set appropriate goals.
Not everything in self-publishing is about making a profit on sales. Maybe becoming a bestselling author isn’t something you can realistically accomplish in the first year of self-publishing.
A lot of it, especially in the beginning, when publishing your first few books, is about building an audience. If you began writing in order to communicate your stories and ideas, sales is a tiny picture of how well you’re succeeding.
When you start tracking sales, return-on-investment, and page reads, it’s easy to get lost in the details. Don’t. Look at the overall picture and remember your goals. Build your newsletter and audience. Connect with your readers one-to-one whenever possible.
Key to Success – Measuring Income, Expense & Connecting the Two
In the first eight months my book The Invisibles has been available, it has been distributed to just under 4,200 people. Copies sold = 1,183 (print and ebook). A free book discount day added 2,994 copies, for a total of 4,177 copies distributed.
If I add the Kindle Unlimited page reads, the number jumps to 4,401 people who have a copy and presumably most have read it.
I’m closing in on having distributed this novel to 5,000 readers in its first year of self-publication.
For a self-published book, those are good numbers. I may not be making a living from fiction, but I’m meeting my goal of widening my readership without spending more than I take in. I had defined my primary goal (See Part 2, Self-Assessment) as building an audience.
Do I hope to enter profit territory with my books after the next one is published? It would be nice, but still isn’t my primary goal. My primary goal remains to get my novels read and cover my costs. So far, it’s working wonderfully!
Keep your eye on the big picture — the longterm success for your career.
Advertise if you’re ready, but if not, use social media to make your author self known to the world.
Then look again at your business plan. What are you willing to spend to widen your audience? In my first year with a first novel, after I re-published it, I almost broke even. But I also gained about 700 readers. BIG WIN! I had my eye on sales, but when I realized I’d gained so many readers, it struck me that my future path had widened.
If your goal right now is to widen your readership, check on what’s the cost, and plan for what you can afford. Plan to change your plan as your readership changes, as you publish new books, and learn more about writing, book marketing, and the business of being an author.