The 3 Pieces To An Author's Business Plan
Are you just getting started with indie authorship and want to get started on the right foot by crafting together an author business plan? Or maybe you're already further along and feeling the need to get your formal plan down on paper. If so, you are definitely in the right place because this is going to be the first in a 4 part series all about crafting a business plan as a self publishing fiction author. In this post, I'm going to talk about the three different puzzle pieces that come together to give you a holistic indie author business plan.
Do authors really need a business plan?
Before I jump in, I want to address the first question you may be wondering - do I need a business plan as an indie author? And the answer is - yes!
But maybe not in the way you are thinking. It's true that as an indie author, you are an entrepreneur. You are developing products (your books) and selling them in exchange for money. And if you got into authorship because you want a career that can support your lifestyle and bring in profit, you’ll want a business plan. Many authors are VERY hard workers and still wonder why their efforts aren’t creating more success. They feel like they’re trying their hardest, but really not being rewarded. Why is this!?
We’ve all heard the infamous Benjamin Franklin quote, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” And this is truer in business than just about anywhere else!
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
- Benjamin Franklin
You need to have a plan of how you will achieve success, or else your chances of doing so are pretty slim.
Now let's get back to where I said that your business plan as an author might not look how you are imagining it. All of this isn’t to say that you need to go out and spend two weeks typing up a 50 page document. Your business plan can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like. After all, we all function differently in life and our approach to our work - and any plan is better than none at all.
What to put in an author business plan?
So what is a business plan? And what should you include in one as an idea author?
Simply put, a business plan is a plan of how you will run your business and how you will make money. It’s about that top-level stuff though, so as much as I love a good goal setting strategy session, that’s not what this is. When I help authors put together their business plan, there are three main components or “puzzle pieces” I encourage them to look at.
The Business Foundation
Think of this as the core of your author business. This is the part many people think of when you hear the phrase "business plan".
Your business foundation consists of your business legalities, financial processes, your core values as an author, the types of books you will write and publish, what readers you are writing for (AKA - your ideal reader), how you fit into your market, as well as the types of avenues you will use to make sales.
This piece is important to put together because it becomes a sort of “guide” as you maneuver your way through authorship. You’ll have this important information to fall back on as you plan your goals and decide on projects to pursue.
Your Business Model
There are actually many different ways for indie authors to structure their business. Some of them include strictly writing fiction books and publishing them, while others incorporate other products and services into their business plan.
This is important to decide on because it allows you to keep your focus and avoid shiny object syndrome but it also can help you make a big-picture vision of what you want your author journey to look like.
Your Book Release Plan
The different elements you’ll want to include here are your book production process - as in what steps will you take to develop the final product - and what that ideal timeline looks like.
You’ll want to include your release strategy. How often do you plan to release a new book? Once a month? Once a year? Again this varies greatly from author to author so knowing what your plan is here can help you develop a book production schedule that helps you reach that release goal.
The final thing here in your book release plan would be to develop a pricing strategy. Will you be doing a perma-free book or reader magnet? Will your new releases launch at .99 or 4.99? What about sales prices and seasonal promos?
The book release plan is important because it saves you from simply going through your author journey winging it. You’ll know how many books you want to release each year as well as the process you’ll go through to get there.
How to create an author business plan?
There are many ways to create your business plan, depending on how in-depth you want to be. You can scribble it all out on a piece of paper in your planner, write yours out in Google Docs, or integrate it into your project management system somehow.
My favorite tool for this is Notion. If you want to grab this indie author business plan template, sign up below and I'll send it to you for free.
So that’s the general overview of an indie author business plan and the 3 pieces you need to put together - your foundation, your business model, and your release plan. Throughout the rest of this series, I’ll be diving more into each one of these to help you craft your indie author business plan.
Part 1 - The 3 Pieces To An Author's Business Plan
Part 2 - The Key Components of Your Indie Author Business Foundation (Coming Soon)
Part 3 - Business Models For Indie Authors (Coming Soon)
Part 4 - Indie Author Release Strategies (Coming Soon)
Next up in this series on indie author business plans, we’ll be diving into how to create the first part of your business plan - your business foundation. You’ll find the links to the other posts in this series above once they release.
I’d love for you to tell me in the comments - did you create a business plan for your author business? Are you working on one now? What’s something you’ve struggled with in the process?