Author’s Business Plan

I would be ashamed to pay anyone to write a business plan for me. All it requires is research, organization of the information, and writing it down. You can do the same if you know where to find the right information. Paid services range from complete business plan writing, to templates which can be purchased online. Authors have special needs, rights, and protections not found in any other industry. Rather than spend money, I am going to provide you with an outline and resources specifically for self-published authors. This process taught me a great deal about my own business and trends in my industry. The knowledge you gain from this do-it-yourself process will put you in control of your company and its future. Also, it will help you decide if owning a business is right for you.

This is a simple business plan outline which could be used for nearly any industry.  This series is going to breakdown each section showing you how to cater your entire plan to self-publishing.  The business plan is your road map to accomplishing your goals for your writing.  It is easy to get overwhelmed by everything an indie author must do themselves, but a strong business plan can help keep you focused.  

Today’s installment focuses on the executive summary.   The executive summary consists of several parts, and introduces your company.  It should be concise and only one page.  Most sources (including The Small Business Administration) recommend writing this section last.  I write it first so I can build off of the mission statement.  No matter when you write it, include the following points;

  • Mission Statement- The mission statement should be a short statement that details the entire focus of your company.  Yes, the entire scope of your company in less than a paragraph.  Disney’s mission statement is a good example, We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere.”
  • Company Information- Who are the business owners? When was it founded? Have you hired anyone?  If you are the only employee, then explain your roles.
  • Products and Services-  List the products and service you will provide.
  • Finances- If you are seeking a loan you will need to describe your company’s current financial situation.  Include bank account information, any investments already received, and any creditors.  
  • The Future-  What are the future goals of your company?

Yes, I know I haven’t kept my promise.  This is pretty basic information which can be applied to nearly any business plan.  Next, I’ll breakdown a couple of points specifically for authors.

  1. A writer’s mission statement should be deeper than, “Billy’s Small Press is dedicated to selling as many books as possible.”  Is that a mission statement you would frame and hang over your desk?  Did you notice the Disney mission statement said nothing of money, sales, or business?  They simply want to make everyone, everywhere happy with their entertainment.  Consider the goal of your writing.  A horror author’s mission statement might include entertaining people by terrifying them.  Writing non-fiction?  Then your mission should include the need to educate.  Who are you educating?  The point is to think about your genre and the feelings you are attempting to evoke.  Incorporate all of this into a simple statement which draws in people.  
  2. Products and Services-  Many emerging authors must supplement their income by selling more than just their own titles.  This business plan is for a small press, which allows for more than just publishing your own work.  Under the umbrella of your company, you can offer your writing services to other writers, businesses, and the general public.  It can be tricky to choose which services you want to provide.  Proofing, editing, and ghostwriting can be time consuming ventures.  It is up to you to find the right balance between time, money, and promoting your own work.
  3. The Future-  How often will you publish new titles?  Do you plan to publish other authors?  Do you already have ongoing projects?  What is the schedule and future of those projects?
My next article will focus on your company description and how to do a market analysis of the book industry.  The numbers we discover will surprise you!

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