Building a Better Budget, Part 2: Forecasting Sales

June 2010
by Marion Gropen

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Building a Better Budget, Part 2: Forecasting Sales

by Marion Gropen

For many of us, forecasting sales is the hardest part of planning our way into publishing success. I divide this task into three parts:

1. Collect and review information you already have—specifically, information on past backlist sales and estimates you have made about sales of current and future frontlist titles. At the same time, collect your marketing plans for the next year. When you have all the information and estimates, review the estimated sales, and update them.

2. Turn total sales estimates into monthly sales numbers, and compile all of them into one overarching sales forecast.

3. Make major strategic and tactical decisions based on those forecasts and adjust the estimates as required by those decisions.

Collecting Information

Collecting the frontlist sales projections should be the simplest part of this process. Most publishers do at least one single title P&L before acquiring a manuscript, and another one right before releasing it. For your frontlist, simply exhume the latest of these estimates.

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