Authors: Do You Have A Business Plan?

business plan for authors business-idea-831053_960_720One of the hardest things about being an indie author is learning the business side of writing. You can be the best writer in the world, but if you can’t figure out a way to sell books and maintain those sales, then it’s going to be really hard to turn your talent into a career.

I’ve been published for just over four years now. I have over twenty books under my belt and I still have so much to learn. Over the past few months, I’ve set aside some time to really get my head around the business side of writing. I’ve somehow managed to wing it this far, but 2015 was a rough year for sales and I need to up my game.

So, this month, I decided to take the time to write up a proper business plan. I have found the task challenging, but also insightful. I hope it will keep me on track as I attempt to make 2016 my best year yet.

I based my business plan on three blog posts I read by a best-selling indie author, Denise Grover Swank. She was kind enough to break down her business plan into three helpful articles and I followed each step, creating a Melissa Pearl business plan.

I’m really excited to see how this will impact my year. Will it make a difference? Will I be more successful because I have a well thought-out plan? I guess that will remain to be seen. All I know for sure is that doing this task has taught me so much and really made me think about what I want to achieve as an author, and the steps I need to take.

Having to really think about each part of the business plan forced me to consider exactly who my target audience is, who I can specifically advertise to when I’m trying to push my new releases. It helped me to think more precisely about my budget and what I should be allocating for the business side of things (not just editors and cover designers), plus what I hope to earn. I was able to sit back and tweak my budget so that I’m spending sensible amounts on the things that work and not wasting money on marketing tricks that don’t. My financial predictions helped me figure out the kind of profit I might make and I know which months I can spend a little more and which months I need to restrict my expenditures. I mapped out a really specific release schedule spanning all of 2016. I know exactly what I’m publishing this year and what steps I need to take to reach my deadlines on time. So far, I’m on track.

Now, you never know what life is going to throw at you. My writing schedule and financial plan may end up looking nothing like the original by the end of the year, but it has been great to plan ahead, set some specific goals and see what I can achieve.

Author: Melissa Pearl

Melissa Pearl is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of multiple novels spanning a variety of genres, from YA fantasy and paranormal to romantic suspense, including award-winning novel, BETWIXT. For more on Melissa, visit her blog or her Amazon author page.

10 thoughts on “Authors: Do You Have A Business Plan?”

  1. Sure, I’ve got a business plan. Following it is the problem 🙂
    If you have a hint for that difficulty…well, you could probably sell it and make a fortune.
    Thanks for the boot. I’ve gotta get with the plan, I know.

    1. I make the last day of every month an admin day. I check in on my business plan, make sure all my finances are up-to-date, write out the things I want to achieve for the following month, etc, etc, etc. I’m finding it really helpful having this check-in day. You could do it once a week if you wanted. I’ve actually found myself ‘checking-in’ a couple of times a month, but the admin day is when I record my final sales and budget for the month.

  2. Very good thoughts. One of my favorite quotes is, “Most people aim at nothing, and hit it with unerring accuracy.” You’ve got to know what the target is, before you know if you’ve hit it.

  3. This was interesting. This year I decided to plan out my writing year so I could have a good sense of what was coming down the pike. It’s already veered off course, but I think it helps to have a course set.

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