Given this rather simplistic view of how you become a traditionally published author, let’s take a look at what a publisher, or rather the acquisitions editor and the whole pub board at a publishing house, consider when they examine your business plan.
- Your idea. You must have a good idea or story, which means one that is unique and necessary in its category.
- Your book’s market. The market analysis must indicate the potential for great reader interest, therefore, large sales.
- Your book’s competition: Similar books in your category must show a proven track record of high sales.
- Your credentials and author platform: Your bio and your pre-promotion of yourself and the book must show that you have the ability to help sell the book once it is released. In other words, you just have a proven ability to write or expert status plus a large, built-in readership, known as platform, for your book in its target market.
- Your promotion plan: You must show a concrete plan to use your author platform to sell books in a variety of ways upon release, not only for a month but for 3-12 months and beyond. The more creative and extensive the plan, the better.
- Your plans to write more books: Publishers seek multiple-book authors because the more books authors write, the more books they sell. Additionally, they prefer to invest in authors who will continue to produce products for the company or who have ideas for how to brand themselves by writing more books.
- The manuscript or sample chapters: Your writing must prove you can produce a quality product with the potential to sell.
Publishers Want Business Partners
If you look over this list, you’ll notice that of the seven items evaluated by the publisher, only four (1, 2, 3, and 7) pertain directly to your book. The other three (4, 5, and 6) pertain to you and your ability to be a good business partner. In fact, if you write a great business plan that proves you have a marketable idea and that you can produce a great product, which involves numbers 1, 2, 3, and 7, you also demonstrate your business acumen. (All seven of these items actually should be included in a book proposal.)
And that’s what publishers really want. They want to find aspiring authors who are good business people. That means that if you want to land a traditional publishing deal, you must prove to the publisher you, and your book idea, are a good financial risk. Even if you write fiction, you increase your likelihood of becoming traditionally published if you prove your business savvy.
As you write your business plan for your book—your book proposal, keep that in mind. Produce a document that convinces a venture capital partner you are a worthy business partner with a viable product, as well as a creative idea, and you might find yourself with a contract faster than you thought possible.
And that nagging question? It will disappear because by producing a business plan for your book you’ll have done the work to prove your idea is, indeed, one publishers want.
…is a home for bold ideas and big thinkers.
We’re an Indie Publishing Company aiming to help educate, inspire and coach new and experienced authors. We’re a different kind of publisher who believes that writers should be able to make a living doing what they love, AND BE PART OF THE PUBLISHING PROCESS.
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