Lee Welling

The Actor?

The 9 steps of why writing a book should be like running a business.



I finished my novel, The Actor? almost 3 years ago.  I looked at the manuscript sitting on my desk, and needed to answer the following question: What do I do with the book now?


I had graduated from Babson College years ago. Newsweek magazine ranked Babson as the # 1 business college in the United States for several years. I knew I had to take what I learned at Babson, plus personal experiences running companies, and treat my book as a business.


Therefore, I developed a 9 step program, for self-publishing authors.

STEP 1    FILING       
When setting up a business, one must register with the state.  In publishing I registered with The Library of Congress, and obtained my Library of Congress Control Number. I then proceeded to obtain my ISBN number, which all books should have. I was now legitimate.

STEP 2   HIRING CONSULTANTS
How would I know if my product was good or bad? The first step was to hire consultants. In publishing they are called editors. Three top editors were hired, their fees paid, and instructions were given. All I wanted from them: read the manuscript and tell me what they thought. All three came back loving the story. In fact, one said, “it is one hell of a ride”. Yes, a good story, but, and it was a big but,” a lot of work is needed in the writing. You need better story and character development.”

STEP 3    HIRING A DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
My Director of Development was a writing coach/editor. For one year and a half I worked on character development, plot development, and all facets needed to make my story a thriller and a page turner.

STEP 4     SET UP A FOCUS GROUP
Was my product going to be liked and accepted by the consumer? Like a business introducing a new product, I put together a focus group of actual readers who were sent the manuscript. The results of the focus group were gratifying. Although there were a few who didn’t like the genre of the book, the lion share of readers raved. ( “Loved the book” “Couldn’t put it down” “It is a page turner” ”Can’t wait for the next book” “Will make a great film”). With the excitement in the results, I was ready to proceed further.

STEP 5       MARKETING STRATEGY
I couldn’t afford to roll out the book on a national level, so I developed a marketing strategy to reach potential customers who enjoy the book’s genre. I also zeroed in on readers who live and work in the world and Industry I write about.

STEP 6  MANUFACTURING OF THE BOOK
Who would publish the book? That was the next biggest question needed to be answered. There are two basic answers. 1. Main stream publishers or 2. Self-publishing operations. To go the main stream route, one must find a literary agent. It is these agents who introduce the product to the main stream publishers. This is a most difficult job.  After dozens of rejection letters, I needed to find another way. It wasn’t that my book wasn’t good, but agents and publishers do not want to invest money and time in first time authors and their novels. So I explored the self-publishing route. It is the biggest development to come along in the publishing industry in the twenty-first century. It was satisfying to learn, that there is a long list of small self-published books finding a market, and then made into a Hollywood film. (“Still Alice”, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, “The Martian” “Legally Blonde” just to mention a few.) So the decision was made: self-publishing. I knew I had to be careful, for there are many bad eggs out there. I carefully studied, researched, and chose a self-publishing firm. The final step in manufacturing is packaging the product. I hired an artist to design the cover conveying what was inside the book.

STEP 7  SEED MONEY AND CAPITALIZATION
The one negative on deciding on self-publishing is that the author must pay the freight. I was able to advance the seed money needed. But If I couldn’t, I would have to raise capital from investors, as any start-up business must do.

STEP 8   ADVERTISING, PUBLICITY AND MARKETING.
I created an organization chart to make sure all the areas below were set up, developed and accounted for:

  • Publicity Agent
  • Advertising
  • Web site
  • Social network
  • Email blasts
  • Reviews
  • Media exposure
  • Radio TV and Podcast interviews.
  • Blogger reviews blasted out to followers.
  • Press releases with pitches about the book.


 STEP 9  ACQUISITION OR CLOSING THE DOOR
The next twelve months will tell me; will I have a successful business operation, or not?


There are only two basic outcomes for this business.

The book sells well and is discovered by  main street publishers, ( who would now look at my company) and/or Hollywood film studios, television networks, and any entity looking for product and content for their  entertainment business


The book doesn’t sell and the company has to close.  I will have to react like any person who has ever set up a business and forced to close its doors.  It will be a time for resilience, and developing the strength to move on.

ONE LAST THING
All of my marketing and advertising professors at Babson would never forgive me if I didn’t mention the following:

YOU CAN BUY THE BOOK HERE.


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