book business plan

Book Business Plan: How to Create a Successful One

Salmaan Ahmad

Salmaan Ahmad

June 1, 2023

Thinking about a book business plan? Your perfect vision of being a writer might be sitting in a coffee shop with your laptop out, busily typing away at the next Great American Novel you’ve always wanted to write. Writing is a passion, an interest, and a skill, but is it a business? Whatever your vision of a writer is, it should include viewing your book writing as a business.

Because while writing may be something you simply want to do, as a self-publishing author, thinking of your writing as a business will help you get your books into the hands of your readers.

Treat Your Book Writing as a Business

Thousands of people begin small businesses every year. According to Intuit, 17 million small businesses were started in 2022 alone. But for most of those companies, the doors didn’t open until a business plan was in place to make sure that the operations will run smoothly.

Business plans help to set the expectations for a business while solidifying the business’s purpose and goals as well as help to clarify what steps are needed to reach success. And writers can benefit from each aspect of this kind of planning, too. When authors treat their writing as a business and create a book business plan, it may initially seem less of an artistic endeavor and more of a financial one.

But selling books to build a readership is the goal for aspiring authors just like making money is the goal of a small business, so making a book business plan to map out your steps is a smart move for writers seeking success as published authors.

1. Identify Your Brand in Your Book Business Plan

Before a new business owner fires up a new website or opens the storefront doors, they begin by researching the niche they want to pursue, looking at what other businesses are doing in that niche, and defining what will make their new business different from others.

This step of brand identification is key to authors, too, because it will help authors to better understand how potential readers see them as an author, and, more importantly, how their writing will fit into the established genre.

  • Define yourself as an author. Create an author’s website to introduce yourself to your readers with a short bio, genre information, and anything that will help you connect with potential readers. Snag social media handles with your name or even your next book or project’s title and link them to your website to begin connecting your work with who you are as a brand.
  • Hone your writing voice. Although this is something you will continue to do throughout your writing career, being aware of your writing voice and what makes you unique as a writer early on can help you to sharpen your voice faster so you will be easily identifiable by readers.
  • Learn about your competition. Part of the branding process is studying the competition. Take a close look at the popular books in your genre to see what readers love, how the book covers are used to attract readers, and what types of stories are missing in the genre. Use this industry information to guide your work in the future so readers will be interested in your writing while still creating unique work that doesn’t sound or look like all of the other books on the shelf.
  • Pinpoint your audience. Knowing who is reading your book can help you to make sure to include themes, topics, and even small details in your writing that they will love, helping you to build a strong readership and fanbase for your work.

2. Calculate Your Resources in Your Book Business Plan

As a writer, you have two key types of resources to contribute to the business of writing. Your book business plan should address both the time you will spend on your work as well as any financial resources that will go toward the process of writing, printing, and marketing your books.

  • Time: One of the critical resources that writers contribute toward their own business of being an author is the time they put into it. Consider carefully how much time you can allot to writing so that you can create reasonable, reachable goals for yourself.
  • Money: Self-publishing authors will need to develop a plan for both the operational and financial resources required to take a book from concept to print to the reader’s hands. Many businesses use Kickstarter-type campaigns to help fund their new businesses, but authoring a book doesn’t come with the staggering price tag that opening a brick-and-mortar business might.
    Creating a book business plan that considers those initial costs, like upgrading a laptop or buying a book template is a good idea. And operational resources should be a part of your plan as well, especially for self-publishing authors that may need to consider using a professional editor, expert cover designer, or graphic designer in addition to the printing costs.

3. Partner with Businesses That Share Your Views and Values

The third part of your book business plan concerns choosing the vendors or professionals that you plan to work with as an author. Authors will now know what financial and operational resources they may want to use, so the next step is determining whom to work with and how to select those business partners.

  • Engaging a cover design expert is a good idea so you can be sure that your book will look appealing to your genre’s fans.
  • Hiring an experienced editor is key to removing those little errors from the final draft of your book that keeps it from looking professionally produced.
  • Using a trusted digital printer like Publishing Xpress ensures that your final product will be made with quality materials, your books will be delivered quickly, and you can reorder copies as needed without large minimum reordering requirements.
  • Working with a graphic designer can assist in developing the visual elements of your book resulting in a highly professional appearance.

4. Develop a Marketing Plan in Your Book Business Plan

This part of your book business plan will determine how you will get your book into the reader’s hands. Marketing can take place before the book is launched, during the launch, and indefinitely afterward until you meet your goals. First, establish your short-term and long-term goals for the book’s circulation and sales. Prepare for your marketing by crafting a media packet for your book that includes an author’s bio, book summary, any advanced reader reviews or industry influencer reviews as well as any other information that will help sell your book to distribution channels or promotional opportunities.

Next, determine the distribution channels you will need to utilize including retail sites, author’s websites, indie bookstores, and online sellers like Amazon. Create a strategy to contact each channel with a media packet once your book arrives or with an advanced print copy if you decide to create those. Detail your plans for promoting your book including setting up a comprehensive social media plan, organizing paid and unpaid advertising, and pursuing organic promotional opportunities like book reviews from media outlets and other respected authors.

 5. Periodically Review Your Book Business Plan

Schedule check-ins on your book business plan to evaluate how well you are meeting your short- and long-term goals as well as the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Update your media packet after your book is launched if your book has garnered attention since its release.

Organic promotional materials like great reviews from literary outlets or other authors can also be inserted into the media packet to show initial successes with your book’s launch. And by setting specific timeframes to review your business plan, you will be better able to manage your book business now and with any future books you write.

A Book Business Plan Prepares Authors for Success

The creative side of writing should be balanced with a thoughtful book business plan so you can make sure that your books are found by the right readers, building your fan base and setting you up for future success as an author.

And while it’s commonly understood that a new business needs a concrete plan, attainable goals, and a strategy for success, writing a book is essentially the start of your personal brand as an author. Intentionally building your brand should go hand in hand with writing, and creating a book business plan makes the most sense for authors who hope to find future success as a writer.

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