A One-Page Business Plan for a One-Person Publishing Company

  • MONDAY: Submissions. Any respectable publishing house will have no trouble getting submissions. At the start, you may like to look at incoming manuscripts outside working hours, and fill your Mondays with other profitable activities; but when the volume exceeds what you could sensibly handle, you’ll need a filter, and a way to pay yourself to read. This could be the ‘buy a book to submit’ concept, which is becoming increasingly popular amongst small presses, or you could run a competition and charge an entry fee. To give each manuscript an average 15 mins of your time, you’d need £6.25 from each submitter, plus extra for any prize money offered and promotional costs. Keep fees fair, and be generous with feedback where you can; you don’t want to swindle anyone.
  • TUESDAY: Admin. Books need to be registered in the right places, boxes need to be ticked, freelance editors need to be hired. (This model assumes you’re doing no editing yourself, but you could take some on outside the 20 working hours described above; just note your fee below). You also need to keep financial records, but one day a week should be plenty.
  • WEDNESDAY: Design. With the right templates, a book can be designed by any computer-literate person in two working days — so two Wednesdays a book. Yes, I’m serious! It’s all about getting those templates in place.
  • THURSDAY: Publicity. Best achieved through a lively, essential-reading email newsletter, regular social media, and targeted approaches to the press. You can write your blurbs here too.
  • FRIDAY: Communication. As a one-person publishing house, you are going to have a LOT of emails. Use this day as overflow too; if a crucial task from the other days is left undone, start your Friday with it.

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Founder and Chairman @valleypress, consultant in independent publishing. Based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK.

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Jamie McGarry

Jamie McGarry

Founder and Chairman @valleypress, consultant in independent publishing. Based in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK.

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