Your Book’s Business Plan: Why You Need One and How To Write It
9 Strategic Steps to Increase Your Book Sales, Grow Your Audience and Connect with New Readers
By Bree Weber, The Book Octopus
Let’s face it, as an indie author you are a business owner, and as such, you need a business plan. This is the tool you’ll use to understand how your book fits into the market, how it stands out from the competition, and how best to identify and market to the right readers.
Your answers in these 10 sections will help guide you during every book launch, so let’s get started!
1. Brand Overview
Jot down your brand’s history, sort of like a resume for you and your book(s). Write out (as objectively as possible) a history of your career as a writer.
2. Market Analysis
Take a look at the market for your book’s genre. Consider how many authors and books are already in this space, and how open it is to new stories or new authors. What percentage of this market do you already hold?
3. Target Customer
Visualize just one reader who is the perfect buyer for your book. Think about his/her demographics, background, education, personality, and lifestyle. Get to know your ideal customer!
4. Customer Needs
Now that you know your target customer, detail all the ways your book meets his/her needs.
For non-fiction authors, it is likely that your book provides information or helps solve a problem. Think back to your ideal reader, and be specific when writing about the problem and the solution your book provides.
For fiction authors, remember that Fiction is an account of the human condition; in fiction we find insights, inspiration and often pieces of ourselves. What will your reader learn about his- or herself from your story?
5. Competitive Analysis
With a strong idea of your customer’s needs, write down the other books that could fill the same need. Are there competitive products like magazines or TV that could also fill your customer’s needs? Now brainstorm all the ways your book compares, and why a buyer will choose your book over the competition.
6. Marketing Plan
Here is where you can finally get into your marketing plan. Remember to keep your target customer and his/her needs in mind when considering your pricing strategy, promotion calendar, and distribution plan.
7. Book Operations
Map out your book’s lifecycle with Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely goals. Consider the overall editing, production and publication schedule, as well as day to day logistics involved in marketing and promoting your book.
8. Management Team
If the previous step leaves you feeling a bit overwhelmed, you may want to consider which areas you can bring in help. Although the term, ‘indie author’ refers to an independent author, the most successful writers are rarely doing it alone.
9. Financial Plan
No need for income statements yet, but you will want to outline a basic summary of your current and projected financial income. Take into account how much you are receiving or expect to receive from book sales and any expenses associated with producing or marketing your book.
Lastly summarize your answers above into a single brief paragraph or two. You’ll be able to glimpse back at this section when you need to revisit goals, update your competition or make changes. Your summary should answer the question why is your book going to succeed?
This plan will serve as your compass, keeping you accountable to your goals, helping you avoid mistakes and reminding you to keep your ideal customer in mind at every decision.
The full version of this article may be found here.
Bree Weber, The Book Octopus, is a book designer and publishing consultant who loves Oxford commas.
In London, Bree studied for her MA in Publishing Culture, while working for several large publishing houses, including Penguin and MacMillan. This is also where her latte addiction first flourished.
Post-Europe, Bree contributed to NYC boutique presses and literary agencies as a digital marketeer and publishing consultant, until deciding the road was the place for her.
Now, as a digital nomad and founder of The Book Octopus, Bree uses her traditional publishing experience to help indie authors produce, publish and promote their books.
If you want to connect with Bree you can reach out to her on Twitter at
@thebookoctopus and on thebookoctopus.com.