If you have not set your publishing intentions you are missing step one of the book publishing process – and that could be a big missed opportunity for you, your business and your book.
I am in the middle of writing a series of books about how to self-publish a book. The series is called the 5Ps of Successful Self-Publishing and each P is a guide to one key aspect of the publishing process. The first P is for Planning and the first step of the planning process is to set your publishing intentions.
Why does planning matter?
I know that not everyone is a fan of the plan. Some prefer to dive in and make it up as they go along. Others plan too much and never get started with the work itself and still others do some planning but not all of it and end up focusing on the wrong bits. Writing and publishing a book takes up a lot of resources (time, money, energy, focus), especially when you do it for the first time. If you do not have a plan you could easily lose your way and end up not finishing it at all.
Having a plan will save you a lot of stress and heartache because you can work out the practical stuff in advance but most importantly, you can set your publishing intentions. What that means is that you can decide what you want to achieve with your book so that you can do what is necessary to make that intention a reality. For example, if you decide your main intention in publishing your book is to raise your profile and enjoy all the benefits that come with it, then you can make sure you write, publish and promote your book so it will achieve that objective.
Once you have done this, you can start to think about your title and topic ideas and ask yourself: ‘Will this book help to raise my profile? If not, what do I need to do instead?’ That thought process will shape your book. You are not just putting any old title together you are putting a title together that help you raise your profile. This clarity will make it easier for you to research your market, define your topic and maintain a sense of purpose so you keep going all the way through to the end.
Know what you want to achieve
When it comes to publishing, it is easy to think that you know what you want to achieve. You probably have a list of things you want your book to do for you. That list probably includes making money, getting more people on your mailing list, selling more of your services or products, finding joint venture partners, getting press coverage, raising your profile and getting unforeseen opportunities come along, what I call ‘gifts from the universe’.
To achieve these results, a book needs to be planned around achieving one key outcome. Why does this matter? If a book is not aimed like an arrow at one target, it will not only miss that target, it will miss all the others as well. If you do not have one clear target, you cannot plan your book launch, your follow-up marketing, your sales offers or your events around maximising that outcome.
The other problem with not having a target is that you never know whether you have hit it. So as well as not being able to focus your energy on achieving one specific result, you cannot measure your results either.
So, before you do anything else, sit down and think – and feel in your gut – what it is that you want to achieve with this book. Write it down, let your thoughts develop and when you are sure, write that outcome in a way that means you can work towards achieving it and so you can measure your success.
Once more, with feeling
While it is important to put some numbers and timescales on your desired outcome it is also important to add some emotion to it as well. ‘I intend to write a book that makes my readers feel excited about doing x’ or ‘I intend to enjoy the writing and publishing process’, or ‘I intend to feel inspired when I see my book in print and on sale on Amazon’. When you hit a glitch or you start to feel stressed about some aspect of your book, remind yourself of what you intend to achieve and remind yourself that you have a bigger goal than just business results.
You can include specific outcomes as well as motivational ones as part of your intention: ‘My intention is to publish a book that excites my readers and that I am proud to put my name to. I also want to make a minimum of £1000 from book sales within 3 months of publishing my book. I intend to achieve this goal with joint venture marketing, webinars and a book launch at my local Chamber of Commerce.’
You see, when you set your publishing intentions, you also put yourself on a path that will guide all your decisions about your book, from the title and cover to your marketing strategy. It really is that important.
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