A Market Of One

Q: I have two great ideas, but I lack the knowledge to see them manifested. I wrote a book. Also, I have an idea for a magazine. I am in college majoring in communications; my previous major was nursing. My book is about my experiences in nursing. The magazine is geared toward a specific market of women. I believe deep in my heart that they will be a success! I am confident God is on my side. However, I don’t know the first thing to do. I would really appreciate it if you could tell me where to begin.
—E. Barbee, Chicago

A: I strongly suggest that you buy and read Drive a Modest Car & 16 Other Keys to Small Business Success by Ralph Warner (Nolo Press; $24.99). Pay particular attention to “Chapter 4: Understand How You Make a Profit” and “Chapter 8: Target Your Customers.” It’s not enough that you believe in your ideas. You have to demonstrate that there are thousands of other people who share that belief and are willing to buy your book or subscribe to your magazine. Once you’ve identified a market of potential readers for your dreams, then the real work begins—getting them published.

For an idea of what it takes to start a magazine, check out the article “Publishing for Profit” in the May 2004 issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE. In it, you’ll find a number of resources to help you learn about the magazine industry. To learn more about becoming a published author, read Writer Tells All: Insider Secrets to Getting Your Book Published by Robert Masello (Owl Books; $14). The author covers everything from developing your book idea to finding an idea agent to how books are promoted and sold.