Indie publishers: do you have your backup plan?
Your success is only partially dependent on your goals. They are important, but your key to your success as an indie publisher is your backup plan.
Always have a backup plan. It is my mantra and everyone who knows me has heard me say it.
Why? Because we live in a technologically changing world.
Backup plans are crucial in fast changing industries
Indie publishing exists because of a major technological advancement that has changed the entire industry. Just look over the past decade and you realize that we operate in a period of profound change. That change means it is almost impossible to know what our industry will look like in ten years. Will books be gone? Will we tell stories and teach each other through virtual reality instead of books? Some futurists believe we will.
Right now the indie world is buzzing about the latest debate over whether e-books are on the decline or not. The Guardian recently ran an article insisting that e-book sales are down as readers return to print. They dubbed this decline “screen fatigue.” Screen fatigue used to mean your eyes were tired after staring at a computer monitor all day. Now it is morphing into a marketing term to describe supposed rejection of e-books for print books. Many believe this is a fantasy of traditional publishers and it may be.
I myself tend to side with Passive Guy's skepticism regarding the conclusion of traditional publisher sites that seem to be celebrating a decline in e-books. Maybe the traditional publishers think this will drive all those unprofessional indie publishers out of the market. As Passive Guy so rightly points out, why would traditional publishers celebrate this news when e-books could make so much money for them if only they would quit fighting so hard for print editions.
How to create your backup plan
Here are 3 keys to setting up a backup plan so you can adjust just quickly in the evolving publishing industry:
- The time to create your backup plan is when you set your yearly goals. Some pundits tell writing entrepreneurs not to set goals. After all, with all this change you can't predict what will happen a year from now, let alone two or three years into the future. That is true, but you can't achieve success without a plan. So what do you do? Create a backup plan so you can adjust when the market changes.
- If you have already spent time anticipating potential changes in the market, then you will be prepared for any shifts in buying behavior. This means you can react much faster and reap the rewards from the change sooner.
- How do you know when to implement your backup plan? You need to spend time each month monitoring the indie publishing environment. Subscribe to three newsletters that recap the latest indie publishing business news. Read three blogs that discuss the latest trends in indie publishing. Participate in at least one online community where other indie publishers discuss what how their sales are doing.
You can handle the ups and downs of reader choices if you have a backup plan
Expect changes in the publishing industry to continue. The way to build a successful business is not to panic when market conditions go up or down, but to be prepared, so you can be one of the first to react to the change thanks to your backup plan!