Aim with the end in mind

My mother publishes books about Brighton, and her company is a non-profit organisation which she trades from her home. As a self-taught publisher, she relies on her many years of art and design techniques, and yet with her advancing years she produces excellent books as well as managing her own website and blog.

One thing she has to be aware of is the current economic situation. In the past she could price her books according to its content, and there were no restrictions in size, length or capacity. Nowadays she has had to plan her books from the finished product, that is, work backwards so that she starts with the end in mind, making sure there are the correct number of pages, photographs, chapters, etc on the correct size of page to fit in with the printer’s requirements, who are also cutting back on costs to achieve the desired result. People won’t spend abundantly any more, so a fixed retail price of under £10 is set, and the contents, paper quality, presentation and final finish have to be budgeted accordingly to fit.

As a result my poor mother was greeted with a last minute request from her printers to reduce the sizes of her pages so that they would fit ’six up’, a term which means how he lays out the pages within his large pieces of paper to reduce costs. Now my mother, being self-taught on QuarkXPress only a couple of years ago, didn’t relish a massive change to her book layout in less than 24 hours, so had to call on technical support to help her sort out this problem. She did it with five minutes to spare – goodness knows what her blood pressure was like!

Do you work with the end in mind? It is certainly I will have to do when I restart my business in the autumn. Previously I have been winging it, and it has certainly contributed to my increased stress levels resulting in my Bell’s Palsy. Now I will concentrate on one project at a time, planning it to the enth degree, totally completing every stage and transferring it to full automation on the net. That is a sure-fire way to cope with any project to make it both successful and profitable.

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