Is Publishing Your Book a Business Venture?

I’m constantly preaching to writers that they must wear not only a writer’s hat but a businessperson’s hat. So, I was happy to read the following post by my guest blogger, Sue Collier, a publishing consultant and head of Self-Publishing Resources and co-author of the newly released The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition. She clearly shows that writing and publishing a book should be viewed as a business venture–at least if you want your book to achieve success.

Is Publishing Your Book a Business Venture?
By Sue Collier

A traditional publisher looks upon any new book as an investment of its resources because making a profit is the desired end result. Book publishers are interested in books that fit their specialty, fit a market niche, and will sell well enough to make money.

Self-publishers who want to make money need to approach their venture in the same way. So set aside your subjective evaluation of your work and look at your book from a publisher’s perspective.

Ask yourself the following questions before you publish:

  • Do you have a compelling title?
  • Is the projected length appropriate for your genre?
  • How many illustrations will you have? Who will create these?
  • What is the projected completion date?
  • What are the leading competing books (author, title, year of publication)?
  • How does your book compare to the competition? How does it differ? What makes it stand out?
  • Name three benefits for readers of your book.
  • Who is your audience? How will you reach them?
  • How will you price your book? Is it appropriate for the genre?
  • How many books must you sell to break even? To make a profit?

Ultimately, authors must also decide upon their goal for the book. Is it to make money off book sales? Is it to establish “expert” status in your field? Is it to serve as a platform on which to base a consulting career? Your reason for publishing should be an important consideration in deciding on how many resources you intend to invest in the project.

About the Author

Sue Collier is a publishing consultant and head of Self-Publishing Resources, a book writing, production, and marketing firm that assists authors in all aspects of the book publishing process. She is also co-author with industry guru Marilyn Ross of the newly released The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition and the upcoming Jump Start Your Book Sales, 2nd Edition. Sue blogs about the publishing industry at

Profile photo of Nina Amir About Nina Amir

Nina Amir, the Inspiration to Creation Coach, inspires writers and bloggers to create published products and careers as authors. Additionally, she helps her clients and readers achieve their potential, fulfill their purpose and make a positive and meaningful difference with their words. She is the author of How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual, and Creative Visualization for Writers, all published by Writer’s Digest Books. As a hybrid author, she also has published 17 books independently. She is a nonfiction book editor and doctor, proposal consultant, and an Author Coach and Trainer as well as a Book and Blog Coach. Some of her clients have sold 320,000+ copies of their books and been published by major publishing houses. Nina also is an award winning blogger and journalist, international speaker and founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, also known as the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge, and the Nonfiction Writers’ University. Also a Certified High Performance Coach, Nina strives to help creative people Achieve More Inspired Results personally and professionally.


  1. I learned this stuff the hard way…made all the mistakes without any help. This piece should prove helpful to those fortunte enough to read it before they plublish! Thanks for that…


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