Alright, we did a ton of theory, but let’s talk a few examples. We’ll call example one, Bob.
Bob wants to write a book. He’s not sure he ever wants to write more than one, it’s kind of a bucket list item. He’s thinking what he’d like to write a biography of his grandfather or perhaps, a full historical war novel around world war 2.
In that sense, he’s not sure he’ll ever do more than a single book. He’s written most of the work from his grandfather’s stories, but he’s also not certain how good it is, since this is his first attempt at writing a book. Right now, it could either be form with the help of a good editor.
In this sense, Bob’s not a career writer. Not yet. His dream isn’t to make a living out of writing, but to see his book published. He’d prefer a bookstore, but he’s open to the idea of indie publishing.
When asked about timeline, Bob’s also open. He doesn’t have a need to get this work done soon, his grandfather is still healthy though he’d prefer it to be released before his grandfather passes away. In that sense, faster is better.
Knowing that, Bob can begin working his career and marketing plan.
First, he decides that he’d rather have it released faster than wait for an agent and go trad pub. He’d need to do a lot more work, and he’s still not sure which way to go. So, first he has to figure out his product.
Research shows there’s more of a market for historical war fiction than a memoir, so he decides to shift the book in that direction. He decides that he’s too new to really know how to write the book properly, so he knows he’ll have to get the full suite of editors. Since he’s paying for at least a developmental editor to assauge his personal concerns, he figures there’s no point looking for a small publisher who might take him on. He just doesn’t have a product ready for them and by the time he does, he’d have spent a large portion of his budget anyway.
In terms of product types, well, he wants a hardcover edition for his own personal use. A paperback seems a decent option and maybe large print for his grandfather. All that will cost money (or time) to do the formatting, so he starts doing estimates of cost on top of that. Audiobooks are put aside though, since he knows his budget is going to be eaten up all by editing.
When it comes to pricing, Bob wants to breakeven more than anything else. In that sense, he decides he’s going to go in with a higher base price, put it on KU since that’ll let him sell it ‘cheap’ at the same time. Adding the paperbacks that he’ll have created, it’ll definitely anchor the price better he feels.
Distribution wise, since he’s going with Kindle Unlimited and Amazon, Bob’s pretty set. He needs to use a PoD printer, like Ingram Sparks, but that’s not a major issue and Bob knows that he’ll probably not sell a lot of books. The Large Print edition isn’t likely to sell much either, but that’s for his grandfather so it’s a cost he’s willing to bear even it it makes no business sense.
He also likes the idea of KU and being Amazon exclusive since he doesn’t want the hassle of managing multiple accounts. Having one account to worry about for the most part works for him since he has to do all this in-between his full-time career.
That just leaves promotional strategies. Building a website seems a lot of hassle for one book, so he decides to skip that. Bob still uses Facebook, so he doesn’t mind creating a FB Author page and getting an Amazon Author account. A mailing list seems to be more work than he’s willing to do and he figures it’s only useful for future books he will not release. So, in this sense, he’s chosen to skip that for now.
He knows he could get people on his mailing list, but he has a large number of friends, so he figures he’ll just bother them. It’s not the best option, but it’s easy enough for him to do. Along with joining FB groups and the various forums about world war 2 history that he joined while researching the book, he figures that’ll be a decent platform.
Bob glances at the other promotional options, for spending money and decides he doesn’t want to spend the time learning various marketing platforms. It’s too much work and he just doesn’t care.
After writing it down, Bob’s got a rough idea of what he’s going to do. It’s not the most robust of marketing plans, but it works for him. He gets back to writing, hoping that everything he’s done will help sell some books and recover his cost.
Now, remember, Bob’s main goal isn’t to make money (though breaking even would be nice). It’s to have a published book he can point at and say ‘I did this’. In that sense, Bob’s willing to spend money and come out at a loss which is why he’s compromising on so many portions of the promotional aspects.
And that’s one example.
If Bob had more confidence in his writing, he might instead try shopping his work out to a small publisher. They would take over the editing and promotion process, with Bob having a much lower royalty rate.
This might even be the ‘better’ option financially, especially since Bob doesn’t care about making money. His issue is what most writers have – lack of confidence in his work. In Bob’s case, this might be true due to his lack of experience. It’s hard to say for sure since this is just a made up example. 😉
But, here’s two different paths for the same person. Next week, we’ll play around with some other examples for career writers.
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