A Model For Your Plan: The Business of Being an Indie Author Off the Grid
Welcome to Part 5 of the 8-part Indie Author Business Plan. In this segment of our series, we’ll start to build out the framework for a plan of action to bring in a hefty profit in return for all of your hard work. We’ve packaged our final product and it’s now ready to hit the market, but what’s next? Let’s start crunching the numbers and build a strategy that will convert reader interest into real revenue.
Part Five: The Business Model
Creating a solid business model is crucial and must be carefully thought out in order to achieve success in a competitive digital landscape. We’ll begin by distinguishing our revenue model, keeping in mind that we are selling a digital product.
At this stage in developing a business model, we’ll determine what our main sources of income will be, and hopefully develop even more sources as this endeavor continues to mature. Since we are dealing with eBooks, we know that digital downloads will be a primary stream for us, but it is also wise to try and conjure up some ideas that you may have not previously considered. Selling hard copies is an additional source of revenue to consider if you can justify the cost of production compared to projected sales, but it is also a great idea to get creative if you find yourself in a special situation. Say, for example, your name as a respected author starts to gain serious traction; you can leverage this by booking live readings at various venues for a fixed price.
When conceptualizing your revenue model, always determine if the work is worth the return. If it isn’t –don’t waste your precious time and energy. That’s what matters in the end.
Determine Pricing, Sales, and Distribution
Remember, before you can get paid you have to set a price (although a “pay-what-you-want” model has worked for some). The price should be calculated but fair. Depending on which online ebook distributor you decide to use (Amazon.com, Apple iBookstore, etc.) your royalty payment will differ. Be aware that you will have to pay a fee to the host website and make sure to do your homework so you don’t end up receiving a lower royalty payment simply because you did not research other options. Another huge factor is studying and comparing your pricing considerations with similar ebooks already out there on the market. This way, you have an idea of what the field looks like and how you can best fit into it.
If you’re not committed to a particular online distributor platform and are interested in selling exclusively via your own website, this is a fantastic idea if you can overcome a few common hurdles that may occur down that road. You’ll have to decide if you want to apply Digital Rights Management to your files so that when they are downloaded, they only open when they recognize a pin number assigned to the device they were purchased on. DRMs can become expensive to apply.
Again, decide if the work is worth the return. In this case, is the return going to be worth the time and energy that goes into maintaining a website and acquiring DRMs for your eBook? In addition to this question, consider your current fan base and ask yourself: Do I have enough influence to draw customers from big name distributors such as Amazon.com and iBookstore? And if not, do I want to use a portion of my budget on ad-buying and marketing to entice a fan base of my own from the ground up?
Develop a Customer Pipeline
Best practices for any business model always includes stepping into the customer’s mind and journeying through the process of obtaining the product. The typical customer journey begins even before the customer knows that you or your eBook even exist. It is a series of decisions or steps that begins with the origin of what led the customer to the point of being a lead in the first place, and further to the point of conversion. It is highly recommended that you map out the customer journey and use it as a guide for your model, continuously adding granular touch points into each stage as you learn more about what makes your fan base tick.
Be sure to check out Authorpreneurlaunch’s sixth installment of its 8-part Indie Author Business Plan, where we’ll dive into assembling a team of competent professionals to help you move forward!
— Marquina (@Marquina) July 26, 2016