Make Your Sales Forecasts More Than Fortune-Telling

December 2007
by Brian Jud

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Make Your Sales Forecasts More Than Fortune-Telling

by Brian Jud

Have you ever listened to a forecaster’s prediction of pleasant weather, made plans accordingly, and then been dismayed when it rained? That is the nature of a forecast—it is simply a best guess at what might happen in the future. The point for publishers is that we should think of forecasts not as absolute predictions of the future but as guides to taking meaningful action in the present that will affect the future.

As we approach the end of 2007, this is a good time to begin analyzing what worked and what didn’t work this past year, and to use that data to forecast dollar and unit sales for 2008. (Publishers of first books would be wise to delay forecasting until they have a body of experience to draw upon; similarly, publishers who are starting new lines and/or entering new markets may want to amass experience with them before attempting forecasts for them.)

Sales Forecasting

A sales forecast is an estimate of the level of sales during some future time period. But it is also a tool for monitoring your company’s health, since the process of forecasting analyzes past sales—the lifeblood of your business—to set a goal. This process can yield many benefits, including:

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