PSU Insight

The Importance of "Running the Numbers"

Cost of Publishing Your Book

Now you may be protesting “that’s fine for a pastry shop. They deal in pennies. But speakers don’t need to be that precise, do they?” Well, sometimes they do.

About the same time that I was teaching the business workshop for the pastry shop owner, I was also working with a speaker who wanted to boost sales of his self-published book. He was making some money by selling his book back-of-the-room, but he wanted to make even more money by selling it through the large book chains. (He had his own reasons for publishing a physical book instead of an ebook.)

Fortunately, I persuaded him to “run the numbers” before he made any decisions.

We ran his numbers. To his surprise, he discovered that — although he was making a profit when he sold his book BOR — when the bookstores took their sales commission out of the book’s price, he would actually be losing about 50 cents on each book he sold!

In his particular case, increasing his sales volume would turn his modest profit into a huge loss.

He had a problem. But armed with knowledge of his production costs, he also had a solution. His printing costs were too high, so he reprinted a less-expensive version of the book, one which the bookstore chains could take their cut from and still leave him with a profit.

He did… they did… and they both proceeded to make money from the sales of his book.

Here’s the bottom line — neither the speaker-publisher nor the pastry shop owner would have been able to solve their problem if they hadn’t first ignored the “obvious” solution and instead… run the numbers!