Are you thinking about publishing a book? There are vast amounts of information and misinformation available to independent authors, and it’s difficult to know what to do, whether you’re working on your first book or your 15th. In our 20-plus years of working with writers, at Infusionmedia we’ve learned that the best way to approach book publishing is simple: define your goals, then let your goals determine how best to publish your book.
The Four Goal-Setting Questions
After we’ve reviewed your manuscript, we ask you four questions:
- Why did you write this book?
- What expectations do you have regarding the book’s success—what does success look like to you?
- What kind of book do you want to do—print or ebook or both?
- What is your budget?
These questions are interrelated and important for you to think about, no matter how, or with whom, you publish your book. Your answers help us provide you with good counsel and help ground you and clarify your thoughts.
Why Did You Write This Book?
Not every writer considers why he or she is writing. Sometimes the story controls the writer, and sometimes the writer has a plan. No matter how you have started your book, you need to consider your why before you publish. Is it to tell a good story to a larger audience, maybe a story that’s been percolating inside you for years? Is it to establish yourself as an expert? Is it to tell your family story or your company history? Is it to help your favorite charity with fundraising? Is it to attract new clients?
What Expectations Do You Have for Success?
Once you’ve established the reason for your book, next consider what your book’s success will look like to you. It’s the second question we ask because it helps us determine what form your book should take.
How you see success depends on your goals for your book. Someone who has published a book to be used as a teaching tool, perhaps for a class or seminar, might equate success with an increase in registrations and positive reviews. Someone who has produced a book as a fundraiser might equate success with reaching a financial milestone for the charity. There are authors who are happy to have their words finally in book form—a family history, perhaps, or personal story—and anything else they might receive is a bonus. Other authors use their books to establish credibility with new clients or potential employers, and success is achieved with every new client earned or new (and better-earning) position. You’ll notice that so far these goals haven’t included money per se. They may lead to money, but that’s not the first objective.
What Kind of Book Do You Want to Publish?
The third question is one that many authors have already decided. They want to do a print book or an ebook, and that’s that. But sometimes the decision isn’t so clear-cut. There are advantages and disadvantages to the three main ways to produce a book—offset, print-on-demand, and ebook—and we go over those with you. What you want your book to achieve is also a consideration when determining its form. Your audience may expect a print book, for example, and would be disappointed if you only offered an ebook. Many of our authors do a print book and an ebook, and that may be the best path for you as well.
What Is Your Budget?
The fourth consideration is a realistic budget. There is a balance that needs to be maintained between what you can spend and what you want your book to include, as well as what reasonable expectation you can have regarding revenue. Your publisher can help advise you as to what is possible within your budget.
Meeting Your Goals
There are some authors who don’t even begin to write a book until they’ve figured out whether there is a market for their book idea and how big it is. That may or may not be you. Writing is a creative, personal process, but it helps to do some intentional thinking and planning before you publish your book. Once you’ve answered the four questions above, you should have a plan that will help you determine how you can publish your book and successfully meet your goals.