I’ve noticed a few people searching for an example of an indie writer business plan, so here’s my example:
This post will look at the big ideas, the market, and your strengths and weaknesses. Tomorrow’s post will look at Promotions, Platform, and Operations, and wrap up this ‘series’.
Told ya to watch this space 😉
(This is a longer post than usual, so feel free to skim straight down to the nitty gritty stuff)
When I started writing, I had the pipedream version of what an author is in my head. A lot of that still rings true. I still want to live (at least mostly, because I’m a teacher as much as a writer) off my writing, I still want a house on a beach (or on a mountain), and I am absolutely enjoying an arty farty lifestyle of writing, painting, and music.
I’m a lucky lady to have a lot of this already.
The fact is, I am at the beginning of my writing career. Actually, I’m near the beginning of my teaching career, too – I only graduated from my BEd about four years ago. Now is the best time to plan, to experiment, and to take risks. I figure that even if I waste the next five years of my life (which I won’t) I’ll still only be 30. It’s all go!
Now, to business:
I used the template from wordbitches.com to write mine, but have altered it slightly. What I’m going to write will be based on the way I interpreted their ideas. I will also use examples from my own business plan to guide you. Please support their greatness and visit their site.
Why write a business plan?
Um, why not? If you’re self-publishing you are a business, so you better get business minded! Having said that, going back to my business plan every day helps me refocus on my goals, and feel like I am prepared for the journey – and the hard yakka – that I’m signing myself up for. I think it’s even more important if you haven’t published yet, as you’re one step ahead of yourself.
I find it really motivating as well.
This is the biggie. What do you want? Envision yourself 10-20 years from now as a successful author. What does that mean to you?
I wrote down short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals:
In the short term, I aim to build readership.
In the mid term, I aim to complement my income.
In the long term, I aim for writing to be my primary income.
My primary goal is to inspire children to go out and believe that anything is possible, while supporting myself financially.
Five Year Goal
I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. For this, I’ve included Year 0 (from May 2014 – April 2015), and the five years thereafter, as well as an over-arching blurb. My five year goals are below, though it is important to note I will review them regularly and adapt to the situation as needed. I’ve made my goals specific, challenging, and doable.
Year 0 – Gain loyal readers, publish several works, gain confidence, and build public profile. WRITE LOTS.
Year 1 – Establish readership, confidence, body of work, public profile, and work Mon-Fri, <15 sessions ~ 50 sales / month.
Year 2 – Build readership, interactivity, expand my platform /public profile, and work <12 sessions ~ 250 sales / month
Year 3 – Maintain & expand readership, body of work, artwork, and public profile, working <10 sessions ~ 500 sales / month
Year 4 – As above, establishing expertise as a writer and illustrator in NZ, working <10 sessions ~ 800 sales / month
Year 5 – As above, teaching creative writing to children and young adults, working <10 sessions ~ 1200 sales / month
Books and Audience
List titles and brief descriptions if you can, or at least the genre and age group.
For target audiences, list primary and secondary audiences. Note their reading preferences, like thus:
Children 8-14, who like adventure, fantasy, escapism, and the possibility of fiction. Also children who want to improve their writing.
Chn 8-11 read mostly paperpack, and rely on parents and librarians. Chn 13+ read eBooks & wattpad as well.
In the wordbitches article, they call this step ‘Competitor Analysis’. I’ve decided it’s more useful for me to find people who are a few steps ahead of me and analyse what they do. In all honesty, I haven’t done this step in-depth yet, but I have chosen the authors I am using for my inspiration. Next to each author, I’ve listed how many books they’ve published, when they started publishing, and an overview of some of their marketing strategies. This also helps me keep things in perspective!
I’ve chosen to only look at self-published authors:
David Hayden, Hugh Howey, Lindsay Buroker, Catherine Mede, Julian Roasado-Machain, Richard Parry, Christine Campbell.
I will succeed because:
This is also fairly self-explanatory. I’ll just give my example:
I take my work seriously and create a (flexible) schedule and business plan to guide my actions.
I have a loyal social media following, and am building my platform as a children’s author.
I have excellent critique partners, and pay for professional services when necessary.
I continuously improve my craft and my knowledge of narrative.
I have a great imagination, with which I can create weird, lovable characters, interesting worlds, and gripping plots.
I have friends and family who support my career choice, and believe in my ability.
I keep up to date with the publishing industry and marketing strategies.
I experiment with ways to market my books.
Obstacles & How I will Overcome Them
Think carefully about your weaknesses, and your constraints. I know, I know, you’re perfect, right? Wrong. You’re human. Here are mine in a nutshell:
Finances & Time – I can support myself through Kip McGrath part-time, and only reduce hours when I am confident that my novel income stream is steady. I will not quit completely, but reduce teaching sessions.
Motivation & Accountability – I will regularly review my goals, do a weekly goals post once a week, see writing as my primary career, and talk to other writers / artists.
Mental Health & Energy – I will look after myself by putting myself first, exercising regularly, eating well, saying positive affirmations, reading / listening to self-improvement courses, and building on my friendships.
Any questions? Anything to add? Do you have a business plan? Are you going to write one?
Leave your thoughts below.