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Making the business case for your book

Following on from Ian’s blog post last week, The cost of publishing, I wanted to explore a little further what it is that creates the value of a book that he talked about.

It may be useful to think of your book as a new product – which of course it is. To bring the book successfully to market you will need to make a business case for it – particularly if you are pitching the idea to a big publisher. You will need to show the commercial potential of the book and convince a publisher that they should run with your book rather than someone else’s.

I would argue that even if you are taking an independent or self-publishing route that this exercise is a good one. You may need to seek investment to fund the book or you may simply need to persuade business partners or board members that a book is going to bring in the ROI your business needs.

I recently worked with a highly successful entrepreneur, who grew her most recent tech venture from zero to a multi-million pound turnover company in 4 years. Her objective for writing and publishing a book was not to sell lots of copies or gain visibility through the book trade, but simply to create a buzz around her company at a major trade show. The book did exactly what she needed it to do and her company is now well on the way through its next phase of growth.

Sometimes the value can be achieved simply by focusing on getting the product right to do a particular job with the right readers. A book’s influence can be very beneficial even in the smallest pinprick of limelight.

Here is a suggested list of questions for you to answer to begin to create your business case.

  • Why do you think the book will help your business generally?
  • What do you see happening specifically in your business within a year of publishing your book?
  • Why is now a good time for you to be investing time and financial resource into this project over others?
  • Who is your book aimed at? Be as specific about your market as you can.
  • Why do they need your book?
  • Why do they need it now?

Create a laser-like focus for your book and you will surely hit the value x 3 target: that’s value for yourself, value for your readers and value for your business.


This blog post was brought to you by Sue Richardson, managing director and founder of SRA Books and author of The Authority Guide to Publishing your Business Book.

If you have written, are writing or are thinking of writing a book, you may like to join Sue and other authors for a one-day seminar ‘Get Published!’ in Bristol on 21 April 2017. Click here to find out more.

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