How to Evaluate Your Book for Marketability
I talk and write a lot about business plans for books. The reason for this is simple. Publishing is the business of selling books. Indie publishers are entrepreneurs. Traditional publishers seek viable products to bring to market. No matter how you publish, you have to produce a marketable book.
I’ve never much liked writing book proposals, but I wanted to get one (or more) of my books published by a publisher. For that, I needed to write a fabulous book proposal.
I write nonfiction, and nonfiction is sold off of a proposal, which serves as a business plan for a book. A nonfiction book proposal contains just a few sample chapters, not the whole manuscript. Fiction proposals tend to be requested after submission of the whole manuscript, although these days more and more agents ask for a fiction proposal with sample chapters as well.
I also have self-published a number of books. These days, however, I write a business plan—a proposal—for my self-published works as well.
Every Book Needs a Business Plan
Actually, I believe every book needs a business plan, which is why I wrote The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively. The process of writing quite a few book proposals sparked the idea for this book, which is my second traditionally published book. I noticed that each time I completed the process, I experienced a moment when I knew I had created a great book idea. By that, I mean a marketable idea, or one that would sell to readers if I could get it to market. Also, at that moment I felt ready, excited about and confident to write the book.
Experience Precious Moments
I call that my “precious moment.” However, there are many smaller precious moments that happen as you write a book proposal or business plan for a book. You experience them when you analyze the market, for instance, and discover that you could angle your book a bit differently to target a larger number of readers. You might experience one when you analyze the competition and realize that another author has left out some information in his book and you could include it in yours. Or you might have a precious moment when you discover your book is a bit too close in subject matter to a few already published titles, which requires you to retool a bit but sparks a new idea and makes your book more unique and beneficial to readers.
How to Succeed as an Author
My precious moments made me realized that every author needs to have this experience to produce the best possible book—a book with the potential of selling the most copies. So I wrote a book that explains how to write a business plan for your book and use it as a tool to evaluate the marketability of your idea as well as your own ability to help your book succeed in the marketplace. In The Author Training Manual I explain exactly what needs to go into each section of the business plan and how to see that information through the same lens use by agents and acquisitions editors, who see book ideas as “products” as well as creative ventures and know how to determine if they are viable. The book even includes sample plans reviewed by agents and editors, which allows you to train yourself to see through their eyes and “training exercises.” When you put all of this together—the business plan, the sample plans with reviews, and the training exercise, you get a manual that takes you through the necessary steps to train to become a successful author and to write a successful book.
Self-Published Authors Need a Plan
While those who want to traditionally publish must go through the process of creating a business plan for their books, it is all the more important to do so if a writer wants to self-publish. Indie authors don’t have agents or acquisitions editors to offer feedback on the marketability or viability of their “products.” Instead, as publishers, they must make that evaluation themselves. The only way to do so is with a business plan and the ability to see their own work through the same lens used by publishing professionals.
So, like it or not, taking the time to produce a business plan provides the means to that precious moment when you know you’ve created a marketable book idea. And it provides you with the opportunity to write a book that sells, which means gets read.
About the Author
Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time and The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively, transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she moves her clients from ideas to finished books as well as to careers as authors by helping them combine their passion and purpose so they create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world. A sought-after author, book, blog-to-book, and results coach, some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She writes four blogs, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.
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