You Need to Build a Plan for your Book
Building a business plan for your book is one of the keys to success. There is no magic formula. Every book and every author will build a unique plan. The purpose of this discussion is to provide you with the basic information necessary to build an effective business plan for your book. A plan you can use as a blueprint to make more informed decisions regarding the many aspects of marketing your book.
Each plan should contain at least four component steps in addition to a mechanism to continually review and revise the document. These steps should answer basic questions and detail the specific steps you want to take to accomplish the vision for your book.
While following these steps in no way guarantees a successful book launch, they will improve your chances of success. Your overall success will depend on many factors well beyond the scope of building a successful business plan. But as the old adage says, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Step 1 – Understand Where You and Your Book Stands Today
To start any planning process, you must first take a realistic view of where you and your book are today. Complete an honest situational assessment of your book. Is it ready for publishing? Have you had it edited? Are all of the typo’s and thinko’s out of it? What resources (both financial and personal time/effort) do I have to put against marketing the book? Once you have completed the assessment of you and your book, then you can begin to develop a plan of where you want your book to go and how you can best get it there.
Step 2 – Have a Vision
What is the desired future state with regard to your book? Are you trying to make money? Make a statement? Cure a disease? Entertain? If you spend time writing a description of the future desired state, you will begin a critical-thinking exercise that will lead to a clear vision of your book’s desired future state and help you identify a whole host of other questions that need to be answered. And the answers to those questions will be easier with your new focused approach.
Step 3 – Build a Roadmap
You can’t get anywhere without a roadmap. Even your GPS has an electronic roadmap. Remember the last time you put the address of a new destination into your GPS? If it is like mine it quickly gets a fix on your current location and then calculates the best route to get to the new destination. Sometimes it will flash on the screen, “Analyzing thousands of possible routes.” Your book needs a roadmap too. You know where you are now and through your vision, where you want to be in the future. Now the only thing standing in your way is the analysis of possible routes to get there. Hopefully not thousands but very likely 3 to 5 good options you should consider.
Step 4 – Make a List
Next you should make a detailed list of all of the action steps that you must accomplish along the route you have planned. Be as detailed as possible. This list will allow you to focus on the tasks necessary to accomplish your goals. Don’t be afraid to add to the list or replace tasks as you go. If you are like me, the final list of tasks completed will be several times longer than the initial list you create.
Step 5 – Revisit and Revise
Do not be afraid to continually update your plan. Things change within the market, your personal situation and the publishing industry. Don’t wimp out by continually revising the difficult to achieve goals or actions. Similarly, don’t continue to load the wagon when the horse is already dead. Persistence in pursuing courses of action that have been proven ineffective will not move you closer to achieving your vision. Continually look at the plan against the goals that you are trying to accomplish and adjust the action steps as you go. The best business plans are the ones that are as dog-eared as your book’s original manuscript.
Following these five steps will help to move you closer to a successful book launch.