How does one create a book cover? Does it materialize in the mind of the designer in a brilliant moment of inspiration? Or is it a formula in which the designer plugs in the genre of book and out pops a cover?
Creating quality control protocols is just as important for the book publisher as it is for the factory. At the end of the day, book publishers are producing a product that will be mass manufactured on an assembly line and, hopefully, consumed by many people. The implication here is that we need to take great care in producing the books we publish, from design and editing to marketing and distribution.
Here is how it is going to happen.
- The new publisher establishes an imprint with one or more books that will sell.
- A website is built for the imprint. This includes a book submissions page with information on how to submit book proposals.
- The initial books are successful and penetrate the market, the publisher gains new contacts in the industry, and the imprint becomes known.
- Authors and others learn of the imprint and the submissions roll in.
- An undisciplined, new publisher sees these submissions and gets excited. This enthusiasm leads to taking on projects that the publisher doesn’t know how to market.
- Alternatively, the disciplined publisher browses the submissions, finds no leads and thus rejects all submissions, and then continues with the original business plan.
Book pricing is difficult and a bit like cold fusion—many people claim to have discovered the key to success, but none can prove it. That being said, there are steps that publishers can take to eliminate some of the magical guesswork from the process of setting prices for books.
Publishers must always remember why prices exist. Prices exist to create profit. The publisher should strive to generate their desired profit from the primary audience. Understanding the primary audience and the price elasticity of the book within the primary audience is critical to designing success and achieving profit goals. What follows is the method that I use to decide prices for books.