It is helpful before starting on any project, to work out some likely returns.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy smancy spreadsheet (not everyone finds them sexy). It is simply a way to see if your book is going to provide you with a return on your investment, and what that might look like.
This does not always translate to money. It’s all about figuring out what you have to give, to get this book published – and what do you hope to gain, from publishing this book.
The first 5 book projects I undertook, were purely about revenue. They never made it onto the bestseller charts, they were not even listed on Amazon, however thousands of units were sold and financially, they yielded a good return. The next two were bestsellers (according to Amazon), yet only ‘broke even’ financially. However, they did launch a new career-path that was more lucrative than the previous one. So all seven books had a positive return on investment – just in different ways. There is no one way, it all gets back to your ‘why’ ♥
How do you work out the investment?
Let’s break it up into 3 parts and answer these questions:
1. Time Investment
- How much time will it take to write the content/create the content/curate the content for my book?
- How much time am I willing to invest in promoting my book
2. Emotional Investment
- What do I have to give up (even temporarily) to get my book project off the ground. Is it sleep, family time, a sport, being relieved of some of work/household/volunteer responsibilities for a while?
- Who else needs to be on board with this, for me to get this done (family, friends, external help).
3. Financial Investment
For the spreadsheet-averse, this is quick, I promise!
Before getting too far down the rabbit hole in a project, estimating your project profit and break-even point can sometimes help keep you on track, particularly when extra costs or opportunities to spend money that has not been budgeted for pop up – and they often do!
Here is a quick download where you can plot all the costs. It is not meant to be exhaustive nor exact (I recommend an excel, numbers or google spreadsheet for that), and you may not need to fill in all of the items, depending upon the skills you are bringing into this project. The idea is to note down the common fees associated with putting together a book, such as designers fees, ebook conversion fees and printing costs. This will enable you to clarify the financial investment and some projected returns.
What do you have to gain from this book?
It’s always nice to consider the other side of the equation and balance out the investment with the potential gain. It is THESE things to keep top of mind when if you hit any bumps and wobbles along the publishing path.
What do you have to gain from producing this book?
- Is it authority in your niche? This may position you to teach, train, speak in your industry, with the addition of a book. Or will this provide you with the confidence to raise your fees? Or perhaps you would like to add ‘author’ to your list of achievements within your industry and strengthen your personal brand?
- Does it provide an additional revenue stream? If so, the spreadsheet will be helpful to fill in so you know how many books to sell to put you in the black.
- Is it to launch a new career for yourself (as an author). Do you dream of becoming a professional writer?
I encourage you to have an entrepreneurial attitude towards publishing your book, and treating it as a business, or a unit of your business – just as someone else would if they were to publish it for you.
(Even if this is a total passion project, keep your expenses tracked separately for this.)
It helps you to work out, with a little bit less emotion, if the publishing model you have chosen is a viable one for you. And if it isn’t, it can always be adjusted, shaped and moulded to fit your outcome.
Next step… Which Path Should I Take?