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Business plan for your book

Traditionally publishers have required authors to produce business plans for their books. These plans are most often referred to as book proposals. Although self-published authors don’t need a formal book proposal, because they alone make the decision to publish their work, they do need business plans. As the publishers of their own books, they alone must determine if their books are viable business propositions. Traditionally published authors rely on agents, and, ultimately, acquisitions editors, to make this determination.

Brian Klems (photo) contends that no matter how you want to publish, and whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you should produce a business plan for each and every book you write and publish—before writing a word of your manuscript. He offers eight good reasons:

1. A business plan helps you hone your message or story into a viable product.

A clear statement about your book’s benefits, why someone would want to read your book rather than someone else’s book on the same topic or with a similar story.

2. A business plan helps you determine if a market exists for your book.

Ensure you know who you are writing for and that you have a large enough market.

3. A business plan helps you produce a unique and necessary book.

You want to write a book that is different enough to make it stand out from the pack — what is your point of difference.

4. A business plan helps you create a marketable structure and content for your book.

A business plan includes a table of contents and chapter summaries.

5. A business plan allows you to tweak your idea for maximum product viability.

Recheck the benefits—the value—you plan to provide readers.

6. A business plan offers you an opportunity to plan for success.

Promotion needs to begin the moment that light bulb goes off in your head, it makes sense that you should start planning how you will promote your book before you even begin writing it.

7. A business plan helps you evaluate your readiness to publish.

A fan base, or a large, loyal following of people who know you means a higher likelihood of selling more books upon release.

8. A business plan helps you determine if you are a one-book author.

The more books you write, the more books you sell. When you write a business plan for your book, take time to consider spin-off books, sequels and series.

For more, see Brian

Brian A. Klems