Goals are the foundation of a solid book publishing plan. They provide a target at which to aim and the standard against which you can gauge your progress. Author goals divide your vision statement into manageable steps and provide a path to its realization. And written goals provide a means for looking back to see how far you've come.
One thing many indie authors come to terms with is that they’re not just publishing a book, they’re starting an author business. Here's what you need to get it going: a publishing imprint comprised of an appropriate name and logo, a budget that takes into account the book marketing you'll need to do to make that money back, and—more likely than not—a little hired help.
To every writer who tells me, “It’s not about the money,” I first say, “Good.” (Something like 1 percent of writers are able to support themselves through writing.) Next, I say, “Think like a publisher.” Some authors aren’t keen to view their books as commodities, but books are products, and it’s best to make financial decisions with a publisher’s mindset.
Are your book sales at the point where you expected them to be when you published your book? Are you doing the same things you always did to try to sell them? Have you heard the maxim, “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got”? If your sales are below forecast, maybe it's time to try something different.
Recently, the publishing world has been in a tizzy about the “fixing of the lists” by a now notorious first-time author, Lani Sarem. There is a wonderful summary of all that transpired by Vox writer Constance Grady if you’d like to read the storied background of how this scandal erupted (and you should). This self-published author temporarily tricked The New York Times into bestowing the much-coveted best-seller appellation upon her book (but they later removed Handbook for Mortals from the rankings).
More and more, Amazon and Amazon companies are encouraging or requiring authors and publishers to use them exclusively. CreateSpace offers free ISBNs and design services for authors, Kindle offers KDP Select that allows for extra marketing options, ACX will allow budget-restricted publishers/authors a chance to get an audiobook created and produced for free in exchange for 50% of the profits. All of these options give authors opportunities that they would otherwise have to work harder for, but in exchange, they require that the publisher/author agree to work with them exclusively.
The term special sales is commonly used to describe sales opportunities outside of bookstores. Also referred to as non-bookstore (or non-traditional) marketing, it can be a profitable source of new revenue.
When something isn’t new anymore—whether it’s your car or your book—value disappears with each passing day. But while that new-book smell might decrease, the value of your book to you, as a creator, doesn’t have to if you know where to look.
I want you to brace yourself for what I am about to say . . . Christmas is coming. Yup. This is not a drill, not a joke, and you are not hearing things. While we are sweating in the summer heat and trying to keep our gardens and lawns under control, there is something that most of us are NOT doing, something we need to add to our summer “to-do” lists and PRONTO. We need to start presenting and pitching our books for the upcoming holiday season.
As a rule, you should always be evaluating your publishing efforts to identify when and where a problem may exist. By setting up a system that quickly points out where problems exist, you can determine their cause and take steps to solve them.