So You Think Your Book Belongs in a Store?
It is every writer’s dream to see his or her book in the front window of the local bookstore. It is fun to imagine tall, colorful stacks of your books surrounded by throngs of curious readers flipping through the pages while others rush to the cash register with their copy. Feel free to continue this fantasy as you pound the keyboard, but if you’re interested in turning the vision into reality, then stop writing for a moment and read on.
The Four Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before your Finish your Book:
1. At what retailers do your readers shop?
Are you SURE? (Don’t guess – go to those places and make sure.)
Too often, I find myself assuming that I know something to be true because I believe it to be true. Things that used to be fact a few years ago may not be anymore… but I forget to take that into account. I have learned the hard way that before I make any plan that involves other people or money, I need to CHECK to make sure that what I THINK is actually SO.
2. Do those retailers buy books like yours?
Are you SURE? (See above)
3. How many of your types of books sell each week?
If you are going to be looking for a publisher or publishing yourself, you need to know what books like yours sell for. You also need to know how many units sell each month. That data will be KEY when presenting your book to an agent, a publisher, or a retailer. “I want to sell a million copies” is not a sales plan. It is a fantasy. If I told you that business books helping managers become better leaders only sell 23 copies a month at one of the major airport bookstore chains, what does that do to your financial plan? You NEED the facts to make a solid plan… data, not wishes makes for a successful book.
4. Is your book as good as the ones already there? (Be honest and really LOOK at what is on the shelves already)
- Is your cover as good as the ones on the shelves?
- Are your priced competitively?
- Does your book offer something new to the market?
- Do you have the amount of reviews and endorsements that the books on the shelves do?
- Are you going to spend the same amount of money on promoting your book that their publisher did?
- Do you KNOW what the author and publisher did to promote their book and are you able to give it a similar amount of time and energy?
- Do you have several good reasons why a buyer should risk their profit margin on an unknown author or book when they have proven successes already on their shelves?