As a publisher, you are responsible for producing a quality product at all levels: writing, editing, design, printing, customer service and marketing (pricing, promotion and distribution). Poor quality – whether in product and service – can destroy a publishing venture over time. Negative word-of-mouth communication whether in person, in blogs, on discussion groups and forums, or through social media spreads quickly and is difficult to overcome. While you cannot control what others say about you on these media, you can control the source of their pleasure or discontent by maintaining high levels of product and service quality. Here are Ten Aspects of Product and Service Quality.
Writing your business plan as a manuscript can be a fun way to do the necessary work (what some people refer to as drudgery) of planning. It can also help you identify and deal with hidden assumptions and the people (characters) that impact your business. Your subplots help you recognize the value of previously unsought opportunities, perhaps in non-bookstore markets. And your narrative can point of the interdependencies of market segments rather than dealing with them as isolated groups. Here are the Top Ten Tips for Writing a Plan As a Novel.
You have options for getting your book into the marketplace. With today’s technology, you can sell directly to the reader, through your own website and many online retailers, acting as your own sales person. You can use social media to drive buyers to those places, but you’ll spend a lot of time and effort doing it, and unless you get really lucky and your book catches on (because all the previous components are stellar), you may not sell many books. You can hire people to help make this more successful, and who knows? It might land in the right hands at the right time, someone important will notice it and you’ll find yourself on the Today Show. But just in case, buy a lottery ticket today.
We’re authors. So for all of us, at some point, it became a dream to write the next great American novel. Some of us have been writing for a long time, and maybe some of us weren’t originally writers by craft. But we had a story to tell and knew it had value to others. A great story, maybe the next great best-seller. Just like in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” we thought “If you build it, they will come.” If you wrote a great story, people will buy it. We had to get it out there.
Now, you’ve written that book and you have boxes of it sitting in your garage. Now, you know it’s not that simple.
Who is your customer? Are you sure?
Your first response is probably, “That is a pretty silly question.” Of course, your customer is the person who buys your books. But if you interpret the question differently, your answer could have significant impact on your business future, since it determines your business model and where you will invest your resources.
In a retail setting, your customer could be the retailer who ordered your book to place on the shelf. And, it could be the distributor from which the retailer ordered your book. In non-retail segments people buy books not for resale, but to use as tools to sell more of their products, motivate their employees, generate more members for their association or educate their students. Couldn’t they all be considered customers?
Once upon a time, self publishing print books was a costly and risky endeavor. Minimum orders, inventory risks, and lengthy lead times were not self-publisher friendly. Then, print on demand came along. POD creates one-off and entire print runs of bookstore-worthy hard copies from a “print-ready PDF” hours after an order is placed (i.e. when you place an order with the printer or when a customer purchases a copy on Amazon).
The ease and affordability of digital publishing makes for a great starting point for self publishers, but there are plenty of reasons to go print as well. To name a few...
Not everyone has an e-reader