Why You Want to Create a Publishing Plan
After you make the decision to write and publish a book, the next step should be to create a plan. I know that saying, “I’m planning my first book,” is not as exciting as saying, “I’m writing my first book,” or “I’m negotiating a publishing contract for my first book,” but the planning stage is what makes the more exciting talking points possible and less stressful.
Creating a plan is about:
- helping you appreciate all the steps ahead of you so that it will be less likely that you will become overwhelmed or surprised later on and
- helping you think about how you will handle each step before the time comes when you have the pressure of a deadline, unanticipated budget limitations or other matters of life threatening to replace book publishing as one of your higher priorities.
So sit back, relax, grab a piece of paper and a pen to take notes on building your plan, and read through the posts on this page to help you build your publishing plan.
Book Publishing Process in a Nutshell
This book publishing guide is divided into what I consider to be the four main stages of book publishing:
- PLAN Your Book,
- WRITE Your Book,
- PUBLISH Your Book, and
- SELL Your Book.
But trust me, there is so many smaller steps involved along the way. Here are the seven key milestones that you can look forward to celebrating along the way, and to help you put them in perspective I’ll group them under their respective stages:
PLAN Your Book
WRITE Your Book
Milestone # 2: Write Your Book. I definitely recommend celebrating as you complete the rough draft of each chapter, but finishing your first-draft of your entire manuscript is truly a cause for celebration!
Milestone #3: Polish Your Book. This milestone is all about editing your book, but I prefer to describe the milestone as “polishing” because I like the imagery of a rough piece of work gradually becoming better after gradually buffing away imperfections.
PUBLISH Your Book
Milestone #4: Prepare Your Platform. This milestone is reached after you build a marketing system that uses offline and online tools to build meaningful relationships with the people who need your message the most by using your message to help them reach their goals.
Milestone #5: Produce Your Book.
If you want to work with a traditional publishing company, this milestone is all about finding a literary agent and pitching your book to traditional publishing companies until you sign a publishing contract or finding an independent publishing company that is willing to work with you directly and will sign a publishing contract with you.
If you plan to self-publish, this milestone is reached after you your design files for your print book are complete and submitted to your printer or Print-on-Demand (POD) company. If you plan to release an e-book or audiobook, you will need to produce those files as well before you reach this milestone.
Milestone #6: Distribute Your Book. If you are partnering with a traditional publishing company, they will handle distribution for you. If you are self-publishing, you will want to find the right distributors for your book who can help you get your physical book into the hands of readers and you complete all the steps needed to supply sales demand, you will reach this milestone.
SELL Your Book
Milestone #7: Promote Your Published Book and Platform. Once you are published, you should always be promoting, but this milestone refers to each of the 90-day marketing periods that I recommend you spend planning, running and re-evaluating your marketing campaigns.
It is possible to simply move from one milestone to the next and choose to handle it when you get there, but when you start by choosing your publishing goal, you have a better chance of being satisfied with where you end up by the time you complete each of the seven milestones.
How to Reach Your First Milestone
This milestone is all about setting goals for your book and outlining a plan that can get you there. The book publishing industry has so many options to consider that quickly drafting your goals now will help you focus on the writing, publishing and selling options that will work best for you. With that said, please click here to make your 15 Minute Guided Publishing Plan. I promise not to run away if it takes you longer than 15 minutes, so take your time. Remember that the plan is more about setting your goals for how you’d like things to work out with your book. Think big!
If you’d prefer, browse these resources to quickly explore what book publishing has to offer and then complete your 15 Minute Guided Publishing Plan.
Now that you have had a chance to explore your options and make some decisions about what you want to do, it is time to set a timeline for your book. If you’re feeling ambitious, this could be a good time to draft a budget for your book project too, but then again you can always do that later after your first draft is complete and your editor is combing through it. So with that said, once you have copies of your completed publishing plan and timeline, you’ve reached your first milestone!
For more resources to help you create a comprehensive outline for writing, publishing and selling your book, please browse the Resource Gallery for Milestone #1.
Starting your book with a plan creates a roadmap that reduces fear of the unknown and organizes the creative chaos that goes into writing, publishing and selling a book. Authors always have the chance to revise the plan and adapt it as they go, but having a solid starting point is wise.
If you want feedback on your plan or simply prefer to have someone else complete the plan for you, click here to learn about the Book Blueprint Service that allows me-Danielle-to handle it all for you.
After you complete milestone #1 as described above, you are ready to begin the WRITE Your Book stage.