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Advice on my business plan?

5108 Views 46 Replies Latest reply: May 1, 2012 8:13 PM by thye chean RSS Branched to a new discussion.
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storebot Calculating status...
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Apr 8, 2012 1:23 PM

I installed iBooks Author and am now considering business ideas.


I have never authored a book before.  I am an expert Javascripter and have a MacBook Air but am relatively new to Dashcode. 


I have used an iPad, all told, about 20 minutes.


IIRC Apple's cut is 50%.  Which means if I set my price let's just say at $.99 my cut is $.495.  If I average 100 sales a day, that's only $50 profit/day or $18,250/year.


100 sales/day for a year seems naively high.  But I want to know the potential upside, so $18,250/year is what I estimate my upper limit to be.


This is assuming I can create a nice book. I was thinking of doing a children's story because my son is 2, and if I owned an iPad I would certainly buy from the iBooks children's category.  The iBooks Author controls are familiar looking and since I know programming I have some ideas around e.g. html5 storage.


Forget content for now.  How much profit is within reach, at what confidence level?  At this point, given what little I know, I would have to say I have about 5% confidence that I could make at least $18,250/year.


I am intentionally not considering the multiplying effects that are possible here.  If I were to produce several books, these could potentially each earn the same amount estimated above, and I could create a little iBooks authoring factory in my home.  The buzzkill is that I am also multiplying my assumptions.


This is to say nothing of my costs.  I have to buy an ISBN, spend time designing and authoring content at the computer, purchase art, probably pay Apple a hidden fee, and (need I mention) the opportunity cost of not working on other ideas.


How are these numbers coming out better for you guys?  Where is my early, rough business plan going askew?


"It's all about great idea, less execution."  - David Heinemeier Hannson

  • Dan-o ™ Calculating status...
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    Apr 8, 2012 2:02 PM (in response to storebot)

    I am not trying to be offensive, but if you want my brutally honest answer, it's this:


    1) This isn't the place to get business plan advice, anymore than going to your favorite sports web site is the place to get health advice. Talk to experts who know about running a business, face to face.


    2) You don't have a business plan; you have some very unifinished numbers you've thrown together, and what seems like a very iffy assumption on your part, as to how qualified you are to author a successful children's book and market it. You are definitely "multiplying assumptions" as well...


    My advice to you is to consider whether you're getting ahead of yourself, and if so, you should really take a step or two back and spend some time looking at what you are uniquely qualified to write about, if anything. I say "if anything" not because it's not possible but because most people (even those who are good at what they do or who are really interested in some topic) are not qualified to write a book. That is partly for lack of writing background, and partly because for popular topics like JS programming (free PDFs and how-to sites all over the place) and parenting / children's books (endless stacks at the bookstore), you have to have A LOT to share that isn't widely and freely available already.


    If every person who was really good at JavaScript or who had a 2 year old, decided they should write a book about either one, the world would end up filled with disappointed JavaScript programmers and parents.


    If you decide there IS something you are uniquely qualified to write about, I advise you to start small. Build a web site and start publishing short form articles, then get some published on third party sites also. As you gain popularity and expertise, THEN think about writing a book. That way, if you decide it's the right idea and the money equations work, you'll have a platform you've already built to market the book. Good luck.

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,855 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 2:03 PM (in response to storebot)

    storebot wrote:



    IIRC Apple's cut is 50%.


    No, 30%

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 3:18 PM (in response to storebot)

    storebot wrote:



    Now that we are not talking about content anymore we can focus on imagining the best-case profit scenario.  I am a no-name author and I have done no promotion/marketing.  What is my maximum conceivable profit, assuming prices of $1, $2, $10?

    I'm not sure that's a sensible question, because the answer is "many millions", regardless of the price of your book. If you make the NY Times bestseller list, it'll be many millions indeed…


    We know essentially nothing about your book, other than it's going to be a children's book. It's not possible from this to predict sales figures, so your profit could be anything, from zero to millions.



  • Fabe Level 3 Level 3 (620 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 3:35 PM (in response to storebot)

    Storebot - Your propfit idea is perfect but inflated. You need to divide by 100 and find another way to feed your child. Good luck.  - Fabe

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 3:45 PM (in response to storebot)

    storebot wrote:


    The NY Times bestseller list is for books made from trees.

    There are separate NY Times bestseller lists for fiction and nonfiction e-books.

    It is not possible to estimate how much profit the top no-name no-marketing authors in iBooks might generate?

    I don't think you will find any publicly available sales data for the iBookstore, at least not for specific titles. You could try contacting the authors of the books in the top charts to find out.



  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 4:02 PM (in response to storebot)

    storebot wrote:


    By arguing this point with me you're implicitly claiming that iBooks sales alone account for some no-name no-marketing authors on that list.  I don't think that's been established.

    I don't recall making any such claim, explicitly or implicitly. I stated that, if you make the NY Times Bestseller List, you are likely to make millions, no more, no less.



  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,855 points)
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    Apr 8, 2012 4:54 PM (in response to storebot)

    storebot wrote:


    Forget content. 


    That doesn't seem realistic to me.  Phase one of the plan should probably be to offer your book for free to see if anyone at all downloads it.  If they do, you will be a little less "no-name" and can perhaps make some more rational projections about sales at various prices.

  • Dan-o ™ Level 2 Level 2 (380 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 7:18 PM (in response to storebot)

    It is interesting watching your reactions...


    I can almost see the rationalizations materialize as you re-spin the questions, hoping for the answers you want. The truth here is you don't want most of the answers you're being given.


    You saying "forget content", makes no sense because without a very specific idea of the content you want to generate and the market for it, there is no plan. Just knowing the profit cuts and how many units it takes to make $X is not a plan of any sort. It's just a calculation. You don't need us for that; just hit the Dashboard key and use your calculator.


    As for speaking for everyone, no I can't. It's entirely possible Warren Buffet and Jack Welsh peruse this forum and are minutes away from giving you awesome business plan advice. But what I am saying is common sense: relying on an internet forum filled with people you know nothing about, to get business advice ("is this good / bad, smart / not smart"), is unwise. And whether you recognize it or not, business advice from a small business expert is what you need before deciding to pursue your book. Again, good luck.


    BTW I am a small business owner and published author (Wiley and others) so take that FWIW.

  • JoeScrivens Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 8, 2012 10:51 PM (in response to storebot)

    Stop feeding the troll everyone. It's not productive.

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