Top 4 Bottlenecks for Romance Publishers

Let’s say you’ve gained some traction and success with your romance publishing business or platform. You have an engaged audience ready and waiting for new releases, and you’ve built relationships with writers, editors, and managers to serve the need. What happens next?

Naturally, now you want to grow. 

But most of us have learned the hard way - that is never as easy as it sounds.

We've worked with thousands of publishers over the years, which has given us a front-row seat to the bottlenecks and challenges they face when they’re ready to scale. It’s also given us the opportunity to design solutions to those problems.

Whether it's a small indie publisher or a large-scale, multi-million dollar publishing platform - these are the top 4 bottlenecks we see over and over again when businesses try to scale, along with just a few of our expert opinions on how to solve them.

Bottleneck #1: Not Enough Writers

Often times publishers will have a solid team of writers in place when they first embark on a goal to scale. It’s that foundation that indicates it’s a good time to scale in the first place. 

But then you add an additional 5, 10, or 20 projects and issues start to arise. Maybe several of the new writers you’ve brought on turn out not to be a good fit, or suddenly writers from your original group have changes in availability or aren’t delivering their work on time.

Now you have even more projects to manage while also trying to recruit, screen, and train new writers to fill project vacancies. All while other project management tasks are piling up.

Our Tip: Have backups in place or work with an agency.

When hiring writers, aim for locking in two sets: Your lead actors, so to speak, and then your roster of understudies who can step in if anything should go wrong with your original team.

You can also partner with an agency like ours. They’ll handle creative staff management for you, including recruitment and reassignments.

Bottleneck #2: Quality Decreases with Scale

The more projects you have in progress, the thinner your time is stretched among them - putting you at risk of quality issues slipping through the cracks. But the even bigger challenge is ensuring your team understands what your definition of "quality" is in the first place, especially with something relatively subjective - like what makes a good story.

We often see clients struggling to define a clear baseline of quality standards that can apply across the board to maintain consistency with a large number of simultaneous projects. Articulating your vision for your overall brand and pen names can be hard, and it gets even harder when you have a lot of stories in development at once. 

Our Tip: Don’t underestimate the value of example content!

The best way to establish a baseline quality standard is to make your top-performing content required reading for everyone on your team.

This is also an essential cornerstone for you as a publisher to refer back to so you don't lose sight of what kind of content you need. Listen to your audience. What are they responding to the most? That's the kind of content you need more of.

Bottleneck #3: A Struggle to Supply Enough Story Ideas

This is a huge bottleneck for publishers. Once they have a team in place, they will often face delays as they work to generate and develop new story ideas. And an all too common result is that by the time the plots are ready, the original team they had lined up is not. After all, this is how your writers and editors make a living. They have bills to pay, and they can’t wait around forever.

The number one thing you can do for retention of your creative staff is to ensure they aren’t sitting around for weeks at a time with no work to do, and this goes for delays while they wait on feedback too, which we'll revisit in a moment.

Our Tip: Don’t underestimate the value of writers and editors who are experts in their fields.

Don’t just strive to hire good writers. Hire writers who love the genre you hired them to write for, who know the popular trends and how to deliver story ideas for them. 

Giving that team some creative freedom with the development of a story, in combination with their expertise in their genre, will result in a steady stream of story ideas and outlines that result in stories your readers will love.

Bottleneck #4: Delays from Reviews & Feedback

This is the #1 bottleneck we see with almost every single client who attempts to scale - be it with 5, 10, or 20 projects. You’ve got a roster of projects in progress, writers who are eager to move forward, but they’re all waiting on you to give the green light and you only have so many hours in the day to read through their progress.

Our Tip: Have other team members in place that you trust to assist in providing feedback.

It will be impossible for you to continue to scale if you’re expecting to be able to read every single book you’re publishing. Sooner or later, you will need editors or project managers in place to review the work. 

We recommend establishing that support early on, so you have time to test out potential candidates on projects and establish a team you trust even before you start to scale. 

Our #1 tip for scaling your publishing business? We’re a little biased, but Inscrive Scale is specifically designed to solve all of these bottlenecks and more.

What it all comes down to is that finding, hiring, and managing a team you trust takes time. And when scaling, it’s impossible to do it alone. That’s why our service does all of the work for you - enabling almost instant scale. 

Reach out to us today to learn more about how our Scale Service can conquer the bottlenecks your publishing business is facing. 

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