If you write for a living, especially if you self-publish, you should know that you are running a business. Your books are the products your business creates and sells to the public, and thinking of yourself as a business can help make your plans for the future more concrete. Even if you work on your own without an assistant, you are still a business and can benefit from creating a business plan.
I had thought about creating a business plan for a while, but it wasn't until I read Denise Grover Swank's series on creating a business plan for writers over on The Writer's Guide to E-publishing that I finally sat down and did it. Here are Denise's posts, which I highly recommend reading:
- A Business Plan for Self-Published Authors (Part One of a Three Part Series)
- A Business Plan for Self-Published Authors (Part Two of a Three Part Series)
- A Business Plan for Self-Published Authors (Part Three of a Three Part Series)
I followed a lot of the format laid out in these posts for my own business plan, though I made adjustments as I felt I needed them. Mostly my business plan is a guide for me for the coming year. I have a clearly defined business statement, as well as a list of my currently offered products for sale. I have a section that lists the books I plan to release this year, as well as any other formats coming from other entities (since I'm a hybrid traditional-indie author, I don't produce all of my products myself). I also list my current pricing strategy and notes about targeted promotion. I also included a schedule for this year, with dates of when I need to have certain steps done on the projects I plan to release. At the end of my plan, I also included a Five Year Business plan, which details my goals for the next five years. This includes how many books/novellas/short stories I hope to be producing each year by then, and all genres I hope to be published in.
Writing out this business plan has helped me see all the hopes and goals I had bouncing around in my head and make them feel more real and more attainable. It also helps me feel like this really is a business, and not just me playing around on my computer all day! At the end of each year, the business plan will be updated to add the projects I released that year to my current products for sale, and then new projects will go into the production schedule.
Have you created a business plan for your writing business yet? If not, have you thought about creating one?