Guest post by Nina Amir.
Many writers dive right into their book projects as soon as the proverbial light bulb goes off. That’s not the best plan of action if you want to produce a successful book. It’s best to take the time to evaluate your idea and determine if it’s a viable one, one that will sell in your target market. Not only that, it’s important to evaluate yourself to determine if you are ready to help your book succeed.
The Book Proposal as an Evaluation Process
The best way to evaluate yourself and your idea is with a process used for decades by the traditional publishing industry. It involves creating a business plan for your book and determining if the information in that plan proves your idea is marketable.
The time-proven template for producing a book’s business plan is a book proposal. However, if you plan to self-publish, you don’t need a book proposal per se; you just need a business plan. You are proposing the idea only to yourself, after all. You simply need to use the sections of the proposal as book idea evaluation tools.
By completing the process of producing a business plan for your book and evaluating it in the same manner, or through the same lens, used by agents and acquisitions editors, you help yourself produce a marketable idea—one with the potential to succeed. This process helps you determine the publication readiness of your idea. You learn what you still need to do to make your idea marketable—and you learn this before you write. Plus, you learn if you are a savvy publisher or publishing partner ready to help your book succeed.
It’s easy to understand that your idea must be marketable. If your idea isn’t marketable, you won’t produce a manuscript that sells to readers. If you want a traditional publishing deal, you need to sell yourself to agents and to publishers. To become a successful indie publisher, you need the same qualities these publishing professionals seek. So, you must evaluate yourself, as well as your idea, through the eyes of an agent or acquisitions editor. They read book proposals and decide on the viability of a book project and the attractiveness of an author as a publishing partner. By evaluating yourself in this way—through this type of business lens—you discover what actions you personally need to take, and how you need to change your idea (or manuscript), to attract readers.
Why You Should Evaluate Yourself Using a Business Plan
If I haven’t convinced you to produce a business plan for your book before you write it, here are 10 more reasons to do so.
- You can avoid spending time writing a manuscript that will never sell—to readers or to publishers.
- You can determine if you have a large enough market to make your book a viable business proposition and write for the largest market possible, increasing the selling potential of your book.
- You can angle your idea to make it unique in its niche.
- You can find out how your credentials stack up against authors of similar books and brand yourself in such a way that you stand out as the best person to write this book and the thought leader in your subject area.
- You can create a content plan for a book that will be highly marketable because it meets readers’ needs.
- You can discern the correct time to publish your book based on your ability to best promote it.
- You can create an action plan consisting of concrete pre- and post-publication promotion steps to help you ensure that you and your book succeed.
- You can make sure you know what type of publishing best suits your personality and your situation.
- You can create a business plan to help you produce a successful independently published book.
- You can write a solid and intriguing book proposal that convinces agents and publishers you are an attractive publishing partner with a viable book project.
About the Author
Nina Amir, author of the bestselling How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writers Digest Books) and The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively (Writers Digest Books), 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, including Write Nonfiction Now and How to Blog a Book, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.
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So much truth here. I can’t tell you how many authors come to us wanting a website thinking that IT will be their ‘business plan.’ They honestly believe that “If we built it [the site] ‘they’ will come.” They don’t understand that a website is a ‘tactic’ and not a ‘strategy.’ I often think that a little ‘tough love’ coaching would be very beneficial for many new authors.
Alan N. Canton, Managing Partner
NewMedia Website Design
“Websites for authors, publishers, and small businesses at an affordable price”
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Thanks so much Nina. Very helpful as I am just beginning my endeavor as a nonfiction writer of self-help/improvement books. I feel I have a valuable perspective to offer on topics suck as: coming to know and understand ourselves and others, discovering our personal purpose and values, generally improving the quality of our lives, etc., based on the knowledge collectively gained through college courses, reading, observing, contemplating, and personal experiences. My life has revolved around understanding life and improving the quality of it; and I have come to realize that my purpose in life is to share my unique perspective with those who want to understand, but do not have the time nor desire to read many different books and sit in quiet contemplation as I have.
I am extremely excited and passionate about my new journey!