If you’re diving into the world of self-publishing, the best thing you can do for yourself is become your own CEO. And few CEOs would leap into a major investment without a business plan in place. Before you launch your self-publishing empire, consider creating a written business plan that will guide your efforts and crystallize your goals.
Key Elements Of A Successful Self-Publishing Business Plan
Determine your author brand. When people think of Disneyland, certain things come to mind (innocence, fun, playfulness, etc.). The Disney empire is made up of countless smaller products and experiences that all support the singular Disney brand. So, as a writer, what’s your brand? What do you want people to think of when they think of your books? Dedicate at least one paragraph to exploring your author brand, then guide all of your efforts toward that intention.
Create a mission statement. Now that you know what you want people to see in your author brand, the question is: What do YOU want for your writing career? Keep in mind that your mission statement isn’t simply a goal (like making a million dollars): it’s a steering statement that moves you toward and encompasses your ultimate goal. An example of a mission statement for self-publishing might be: To use my resourcefulness and creativity to promote a memorable author brand and sell my books.
Set a budget. If you’re not careful, the costs of self-publishing could slip out of control. Set a budget, then earmark certain funds for specific investments.
Identify the key players on your team. Who is available to help you in your quest to take the literary world by storm? List these people and their talents. When you’re building a self-publishing empire, you need to rely on others for help. If you try to “do it all,” you run the risk of cutting corners, working ineffectively and inefficiently, and burning out. Learn more about the 8 people who can make or break your self-published book.
Write up your action steps. Break down your self-publishing odyssey into concrete, actionable steps (and put them in the order that you plan to tackle them). We’ve made a small sample list to help you get started. But bear in mind that some of the tasks we list will have to be broken down into subtasks (for example: in order to create a great author website, you’ll have to gather foundational knowledge about how great websites work; then you’ll need to find a Web designer who understands the needs of authors).
Also, in your written business plan, you may want to break your action plan up into subheadings, like Manuscript Prep, Internet Marketing, Handselling, Advertising, etc.
Sample Self-Publishing Action Steps:
- Hire a freelance editor to improve content.
- Find the right self-publishing company to partner with you.
- Create an effective author website that will build your readership.
- Establish social media profiles that you can grow using promotional campaigns.
- Send pre-launch copies of your book out for blogger or professional reviews.
- Write a press release for your self-published book.
- Contact booksellers and libraries about speaking engagements.
- Book any paid-for advertising as needed.
- Plan a book launch contest.
- Follow up with reviewers and local publishing pros.
- Submit a query to an agent (if you’re seeking to parlay your self-publishing success into a traditional publishing book deal).
Your Self-Publishing Business Plan Of The Future
Finally, use the last section of your author business plan to decide what you’ll do next. Are you going to continue to work on your next manuscript while you’re launching your first book? Here’s the place to solidify your plans and strategize your next steps.
Question: Have you ever written a business plan?