Five years ago, I planted a bush in the middle of my vegetable garden. Not wanting to just look at barren ground half the year, I chose a lovely evergreen shrub.
Each year, this bush requires some pruning to keep it looking neat, but it usually only grows about one to two feet. This year, the bush took off. It literally grew over four feet in every direction and was threatening to consume my vegetable garden.
Sometimes our publishing businesses are like my bush. They go along at a nice steady rate of expansion, and then one year, they experience exponential growth. This is a wonderful thing for a publishing company. However, like my bush, when this happens, it is time to do some pruning so that your business can keep growing in the right direction.
For some, pruning is required to keep your company on track. Often in the midst of exponential growth, we lose sight of our purpose and mission and begin to publish just about anything that comes our way. Pruning is required to get your publishing business back on track with a focus that keeps you doing what you do best.
For others, this pruning comes in reevaluating your marketing efforts. Each additional book published requires additional dollars for promotion. Take the time to look at how you are advertising and promoting your books. What is working? What isn’t? Where can you piggyback your efforts for multiple books and increase your sales without doubling or tripling your promotional dollars?
Still others may need to prune the dead weight, those books that are no longer selling. You may need to get rid of your stock to make room for new books in your warehouse. Consider selling these books as remainders or gifting them to a charity. If you do not want to part with a certain title but need room, you can transfer the book to a print-on-demand or ebook-only format and continue to make it available for sale without paying to store it.
Pruning is painful. My arms still ache from cutting my bush. Jesus knows the importance of pruning. In John 15: 2 he says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
The same is true for your publishing business. Pruning is required so that you can be more successful.