Notwithstanding the laments voiced by fans of literature about Nigeria’s poor reading culture, books are being bought in this country. Tons of them! The evidence can be seen in the demand for textbooks by the ever swelling population of students, the increasing interest in motivational and self-help books, and the undying love that the more bookish Nigerians have for fiction.
Authors’ manuscripts have to go through a publication process in order to become books worthy of a place on bookstore shelves, consequently, book publishers have gained somewhat from this state of affairs.
While some traditional publishers admit that they face challenges (such as piracy), there’s some positive noise being made by smaller scale participants in the market, who are able to operate in creative ways to beat the usual obstacles. There’s also the option of electronic publishing; OkadaBooks, an e-book publisher, has had over a million e-books downloaded from its online outlet in just four years.
If you’re interested in the book publishing business, you’ll find this article helpful. Here are the steps to follow in setting up your own company:
Make up your mind
Decide whether you really have what it takes to venture into this business. Study the industry and get as much information as you can about it. Talk to people who have some experience in this area. Next, choose a genre and market for the books you will be publishing, Will they be school textbooks, fiction, religious works, or general stuff? It’s wise, to begin
Next, choose a genre and market for the books you will be publishing, Will they be school textbooks, fiction, religious works, or general stuff? It’s wise, to begin with a specific type of material.
You should also decide your publishing format, i.e. whether it will be print, digital, or both.
Choose a name, and register it
Your business’s name shouldn’t be a trivial thing; it creates an impression upon the minds of people. Do what you can to make that impression a positive one. Register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to get it recognized by the authorities (this will also ensure that your business name isn’t claimed by someone else).
Get an ISBN Number
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is an identification code allotted to published books. It’s also used to track book sales, so you will need it if you want your books to be sold in proper bookstores. The ISBN can be purchased from the National Library of Nigeria (NLN). Guidelines for obtaining ISBNs, as well as locations of the National Library’s offices nationwide, can be found on the NLN’s website.
Write a business plan
Whatever your plans are for your business, it’s important to have them documented. A business plan details a company’s organizational structure, products and services, competition, marketing strategies, and financial projections for a specific length of time from its creation. It serves as a roadmap which you can refer to and measure your progress against. It’s also a key document to have if you’re seeking a loan for the business from investors. Your business plan, if well researched and written, will be an evidence to show that you have scalable goals and a strategy for reaching them.
Find editors, designers and printers
Manuscripts go through a number of stages in the process of being transformed into market-ready books. Editors correct grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors; designers create book cover designs, and printers produce the physical book copies (you won’t need a printer if you’re publishing an e-book). You may choose to employ staff that deal with these aspects of the publishing process, or (as a cost-cutting measure) outsource some of these tasks to freelancers or other companies that offer these services.
Call on authors to submit their manuscripts
Invite an unpublished writer you know to publish their work with your company. Reach out to the community of writers wherever they can be found, as far as this is possible. Social media forums, websites popular with writers, as well as print media and physical gatherings are great ways to get in touch with your potential customers.
Set up a website
A book publishing website makes detailed information about your company easily accessible. Potential authors, as well as readers, could be attracted to your book publishing firm through it.
Do your thing
Get into the business proper. Accept manuscripts with commercial potential, deliver quality service, and make your authors into your best fans. This, in summary, is what building a successful publishing business boils down to.