Indie Authors: What is Your Business Plan for Your Self-Published Book?

by Karen Jonson

What’s That? You Don’t Have a Business Plan? Here are Five Reasons Why Creating a Business Plan is an Important Step on Your Book Selling Journey

Business Plan Word Cloud

If you don’t have a business plan for your book, you should consider the advantages of creating one.

A common phrase I hear from self-published book authors is: “I just want to write.” What they mean by this statement is that they do not want to engage in the tasks required to actually sell their books.

Selling is hard. There is no way around it. And not selling your books is fine — if you are content with “just having written.” In that case, writing is a hobby and you are entitled to choose that path.

However, if an author wants the satisfaction of actually selling the books he or she took great pains to write, then they must take several steps beyond the act of writing. An author must engage in marketing if they want to sell books to more than just family and friends. This is true for both indie authors and authors published the traditional route.

The smartest first step an author can take on the journey to marketing their book(s) is to create a business plan.

What Will a Book Business Plan Do for You?

Managing any product means fully understanding it. Creating a business plan for you book will help you fully understand what it’s going to take to sell your book.

A book business plan will give you five vital advantages: a business state of mind, a direction to move in, an overall marketing strategy, incremental tasks to do over time, and the motivation to keep moving forward no matter what potholes you encounter along the way.

Here is how a book business plan can help you become a more successful book marketer.

1. Enter into a Business Mindset. If you’ve written a book that you want to sell, it’s time to see your book as a product and yourself as a businessperson. You need to take off the writer hat, and don the business hat. Writing a business plan will help put you in a business state of mind.

2. Set Your Book’s Marketing Direction. A business plan sets the stage and gives you a direction for the work you need to do to sell your book. Several factors help you set your direction, including capturing your book’s fundamental marketing message(s), identifying the key audience(s) for your book, understanding why they’ll want to read it, and determining where you need to find your potential readers, for example, which social media, traditional media, and venues.

3. Create an Overall Marketing Strategy. What does your book’s marketing plan look like for the life of the book? Will your marketing include publicity, social media, advertising, public speaking, or other promotional activities? This is where you sketch out your entire long-term plan for letting potential readers know your book exists and telling them why they should buy it.

4. Structure Incremental Marketing Tasks Over Time. Once you have the overall marketing strategy for your book, now you need to break it down into tasks to be completed in specific time frames. You should plot out what you need to do in the first three months of your book’s launch, then what to do the rest of the first year, and then for the next five or ten years or more.

5. Assess Your Results and Keep Moving Forward. There are bound to be missteps on the path to marketing your book. Without a business plan, it’s all too easy to let these missteps derail you. With a business plan, you simply move past the mistakes and the failures, and you keep moving on to the next thing. This approach creates a momentum that ensures that your book’s marketing plan stays vibrant and effective over the long term.

Create Your Book Business Plan in the Indie Book Marketing Community

It’s important to mention that there is no one-size-fits-all book marketing plan. Every author’s book marketing plan will be different, because no two books are exactly the same. You need to tailor your plan to your book, your target audiences, and your own goals, skills, availability, and budget.

The new Indie Book Marketing Community, which is a yearlong training and support program for indie authors that kicks off on January 1st 2013, will begin by covering in detail the process of creating an action-oriented business plan for self-published books. A business plan for your book could make all the difference in reaching your sales goals for your book.

If you are interested in joining the Indie Book Marketing Community, please go to this page and add your name to the Early Bird list. You’ll receive more information in December about registering for the course’s limited number of seats.

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