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Your Book Business

self-publishing, platformYour book is a business-builder. Or it should be. You want to spread your message, become known and create an audience for your ideas and ultimately for your business. (We’re speaking primarily of nonfiction authors here.)

This is apparently news to Publisher’s Weekly, which just published an article looking at the self-publishing marketing for the coming year:

As more and more authors go it alone, they are increasingly treating their self-publishing ventures as businesses. This means realizing that their publishing efforts must be part of a broader business model that takes into account everything from branding to media outreach to editorial collaboration, according to Beat Barblan, director of identifier services at Bowker.

“There has been a realization over the last year, I would say, that, in order to be successful, self-publishers must see themselves as business owners and recognize that writing the content is only the first of many steps,” says Barblan.

(You can read the full article here.)

Entrepreneurs, thought leaders and anyone who is looking to disseminate a message or outline a service or process for improvement of any sort already looks at a book as part of a larger effort at increasing business, using their platform as a way to engage with the audience. Even self-published authors of fiction know that they need to treat the publication of their books as part of a business plan – and pay attention to prices, release dates, audience engagement and promotion.

Publishers Weekly also sees a coming hybridization of traditional and self publishing. That is, traditional publishers who will offer self-publishing to authors, rather than authors who look at both and perhaps choose both types of publishing models. I think that traditional publishers will continue to scan whatever lists exist of self-published bestsellers to try to find authors who are growing an audience.

Although business authors are becoming savvier about their publishing options, whether they publish through traditional publishers or do it themselves, they need to think of themselves as author-entrepreneurs. And the bestseller list is an important part of that.

Beyond the traditional lists, though, I hope that in the coming year more media outlets will try to find ways to report on sales of the increasingly dynamic self-publishing part of the industry.

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