Alright, after watching the market and giving it some considerable thought, I’ve decided to venture into indie publishing, if only to test the waters. I’ll release a couple of short stories first, mostly to learn how to format and release an ebook, and from there I’ll move on to other work.
I spent this afternoon drafting a business plan for the venture, using the resources available at the SBA website (thanks, Jerle). Here’s what I have thus far:
Mission Statement: To tell cool stories and have fun doing it
Projected Start Date: 31 March 2011
Founder and sole owner: Joseph M. Vasicek
Employees: 1 (services to be contracted on a freelance basis)
Location: Provo, UT (subject to change)
Product: Short stories, novels, and novellas
1) Summary of Growth
As the business has not yet been launched, there is no growth to report.
2) Future Plans
Stage One: Initial Release
In this stage, I will prepare and release two short stories, “Decision LZ1527″ (previously published in issue 58 of The Leading Edge) and “Memoirs of a Snowflake” (previously unpublished) as ebooks on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.
The goals for this initial venture are to:
1) learn how to properly format and release an ebook,
2) gain familiarity with the ebook publishing system, and
3) gauge a general estimate of ebook costs and profits.
Stage Two: Initial Novel/Novella Release
At least 3 months after releasing “Decision LZ1527″ and “Memoirs of a Snowflake,” I plan on releasing Sholpan, a novella based on the novel Bringing Stella Home. By doing so, I hope to:
1) learn how to properly outsource editing and cover art,
2) gauge the earnings potential for my novels, and
3) generate an audience for other books in the Gaia Nova series.
After releasing Sholpan, I will most likely wait for a few months to see what happens, submitting my other novels to traditional publishers in the meanwhile. If sales of my ebooks exceed expectations, I will consider moving to the next stage and fully implementing this business plan.
Stage Three: Full Ebook Release
If success in the previous stages justifies it, I will release my completed novels as ebooks, starting either sometime in July/August 2011 or after September 2012 (depending on how well my other works do, according to a metric which has yet to be determined). Currently, these consist of Genesis Earth and Bringing Stella Home, though Worlds Away from Home should be nearing the final phases of revision.
My business goals from here out are the following:
1) produce and release two novels each year (minimum of one),
2) consistently expand my audience through social networking,
3) obtain an agent to handle foreign/subsidiary rights,
4) obtain a print deal in order to build career prestige, and
5) earn enough to support myself entirely off of my writing.
If the works released in stage two do not sell well enough to justify moving on to stage three, I will continue to make them available as ebooks but will postpone releasing my novels until either my other works begin to sell well, or independent publishing becomes the generally accepted path for new writers.
Mainly, I just want to experiment with ebooks and figure out how they work. Since the initial costs are so low, my initial goal is not to make a lot of money, but to learn how to format and release an ebook. I was a little uneasy doing that with my novels, but I figure it wouldn’t hurt to practice on my short stories (all two of them).
So yeah, that’s the date: March 31st, 2011. I’ll release “Decision LZ1527″ for $.99, and “Memoirs of a Snowflake” for $.50 or so (since it’s flash fiction). I’m not sure how well it will sell, but I hope that all of you reading this right now go and buy it!!!1!! (that includes you, Mom) Hehe, just kidding. ;P
But seriously, I’ll keep you guys updated closely on how the venture goes. A lot of ebook authors are very transparent with their numbers, and I plan to be no different. And if you have any feedback on the business plan, please let me know. I’m kind of new to this sort of thing, and while it’s surprisingly fun, I’m sure I’ll make a TON of mistakes. Your help would be appreciated!