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I have an idea for a book – now what? Part 4

We are so pleased to see you come back and check out this next instalment in our “I have an idea for a book – now what?” series. In part 1 we gave you some hints and tips about getting your idea out of your head and onto the page. In part 2 / 3 we shared some tips about honing and refine your work so that it starts to read like a book. In part 3 we want to talk about choosing the publishing route that’s right for you.

We know that what holds so many people back from their dream of one day publishing a book, is knowing the steps it takes to get there. With so many paths, options, and decisions, publishing a book can be elusive and daunting. It’s easy to get lost or waste time and money if you don’t do the necessary research or have a plan in place before you start. This is precisely why we want to give you a few tip tips to help steer you in the right direction.

Choosing your path to publishing will vary significantly depending on your book and your budget and how realistic you are about your desired results. The most important thing will be doing thorough research or getting help from someone who has been through the process before – like we have. However, first, there are some general steps you can follow, which can give you a good sense of where to take your next step.

Make a publishing plan

A publishing plan is your version of a business plan. You are, after all, in the business of being an author, right? We know enough to know that no business should be started without a well thought out plan. A well thought out plan can help you manage aspects of the publishing process which can help you manage your publishing journey with more confidence. A publishing plan will help you focus on ‘the what’, ‘the why’ and most importantly, ‘the where next’.

1. The What – Articulating Your Publishing Goals

When you create a publishing plan you need to focus on the reasons for writing your book. Who are your readers? What will they get out of your book? Where will you sell your books? These simple questions are the primary reasons why you’re creating a book and they should always be at the forefront of your mind. Creating a vision and setting tangible goals will help keep them at the forefront and be something that you can always return to.

It may feel like an overwhelming task or even time wasting if you are really keen just to get going, but setting goals can be pretty easy and, ultimately, is a rewarding process. Setting goals determines the direction and destination that you want to move towards. Thinking about your motivations and imagining your future will help steer you. Although we add a note of caution here about being realistic, there is nothing wrong with dreaming big as long as you can achieve the steps to get you there.

Remember to think about what resources you have available to you. What are your skills, access to skills, budget and time availability? What life challenges do you have? You don’t necessarily need all the answers at this stage as the path may only open up to you once you start walking, but it is better to know what hurdles you may face so you won’t be surprised if they raise up before you.

Once you’ve written them down stick them somewhere you can see them every day.

2. The Why

Your ‘why’ is your dream/your vision. It is the end point, and everything in between is what you need to incorporate into your publishing plan.

What books do you want to create? In part one we spoke about genre so hopefully you’ve already a fair idea about the type of book you want to create. If you are a prolific writer, have you thought about how often you might want to publish a new book?. And how will you sell these to readers? You might think about some other income streams such as affiliate income that complements your publishing goals. Are there any speaking engagements or book event opportunities that will expand your audience? What can you do to encourage readers to purchase again and again? Taking these factors into consideration will help you make informed decisions.

3. The What next? – Taking Action

Now you’ve got your ‘what’ and ‘why’, it I time to turn your planning into, actionable steps. Make it really easy on yourself with 4 simple steps:

a) Set SMART goals (SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)

b) Create a list of actions

c) Set timelines

d) Designate resources

Actionable steps can easily be crossed off your ‘to do’ list once completed and are a great way to see your own progress.

Don’t worry – if you have a 5 year plan, you don’t need 5 years’ worth of action steps at one time. In the first instance, think broad brush plans for a year and then break that down even further to create, say, a 30 day action plan. This will keep your mind in focus and the action steps will become a pathway to your big dreams.

Once you’ve set your goals it will be easier to know what your preferred publishing route is.

More to come in the next instalment....!

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