If you’re a self-published author, having a business plan is essential to your success. Let’s be honest: Writers may have brilliant, creative minds, but we’re often less gifted with business and marketing know-how. A business plan is a great tool that will guide you, keep you on track, and help you stay focused on your end goals.
How To Develop A Business Plan For Your Self-Published Book
Identify your mission. A mission statement will help you clarify what you want to achieve. What is your main goal with this project, and what does your timeline for achieving that goal look like?
Be sure you know the correct genre for your book, since this information will play an important role when you are ready to begin competitive analysis.
Set deadlines. Goals are less attainable if there aren’t any deadlines attached to them. The road to procrastination is paved in non-commitment, folks! But keep in mind that deadlines should be realistic. For instance, it would be unrealistic (and exhausting!) to set a goal of holding a book-signing event on every day of the month. But you can set a more attainable goal of scheduling at least one book signing a month in various venues.
Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. Publishing is a very competitive business, so it’s important to identify exactly what you’re up against by conducting a competitive analysis. A good way to check out the competition is to identify a few authors (roughly 15-20) who write in your genre and then do a little investigating. Who is their target market? How are they promoting their books? Where are they selling them? Most importantly: Why have—or why haven’t—they been successful? Take notes and learn from their mistakes. This will help you determine how to best market your book, which leads to our next step…
Create a marketing strategy. This is one of the most crucial (and most frequently neglected) steps due to the author “business-mind deficiency” we mentioned earlier. But if you want to sell books, you will have to use a few marketing strategies and tools. (Try one of these!) Authors with successful marketing plans usually start before they’ve finished their books! To ensure you will have an audience of readers ready and waiting to buy your book, take these steps as soon as possible:
- Define your author brand. Who are you and what do you write? Keep your message consistent across your various social media platforms.
- Investigate your target audience. How old are they? What are their interests? What kind of hobbies do they have? Where do they purchase the books they read?
- Consider your book format (e-book? Paperback? Audio?) and pricing. Will you be selling your book on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com? What is the best price point for a book in your genre? Again, this is where checking out the competition will help you come up with the best answers.
- Determine places where you can hand-sell your books. Festivals, writing conventions, book-signing events, and even craft fairs are all viable options.
- Establish a budget for marketing expenses. How much will you need to spend on promotional materials or book tours? Will you need to hire help? All these costs must be factored into your business plan so there aren’t any surprises that could derail your efforts.
- Create a checklist of action steps: Learn more here.
Here are a few tools to help you create an effective business plan and meet your goals:
A self-published author has to write the book, promote the book, and sell the book (more and more, so do traditionally published authors!). We’ll admit, this can be a little daunting. But you don’t have to go it alone. Self-Publishing Relief specializes in helping authors reach their publishing goals, and we can help you reach yours too. Schedule a free consultation today to find out how we can guide you to becoming a success story.
Question: What do you think is the most important element of a business plan for self-published authors?