Why Every Writer Needs a Business Plan

As you’ve probably noticed, there’s no such thing as “only being a writer” anymore. If you’re hoping to turn that passion for writing into a career, havi...

As you’ve probably noticed, there’s no such thing as “only being a writer” anymore. And while many writers might not want to handle the business side of things, to give yourself and your books the best chance of success, it’s a must. If you’re hoping to turn that passion for writing into a career, having a well thought out business plan in place will be essential. It’s time to overcome that idea that as an author your only job will be to write.

Whether you’re working towards a traditional publishing contract or self-publishing, a carefully crafted business plan can help you establish a plan of action as well as a guide for how you will administer your resources. What good is a goal without a well-timed action plan to get there? To aid in this, I’ve broken down the writers’ business plan into five sections: Mindset, Finance, Marketing, Sales, and Operations. I know, I know. It doesn’t sound very appealing. But that’s where the first step of your business plan comes into play—changing your mindset.

Mindset: Personal Development

When you’re ready to take writing seriously, you have to shift your mindset. You can’t think of writing as something you only do when you’re feeling inspired anymore, but something you do because you must. You’ve got a mission, stories you’re ready to tell. And you’re determined to get them out into the world and into readers’ hands.

Not everyone has a business mindset and there’s nothing wrong with that. But even as pure artists, you need to be clear about your goal and mission so you know when to choose option A over B. For example, some authors might price their books low at first to increase readership and author-awareness instead of profit. The idea behind it is to get the books into as many hands as possible first to help create the buzz. They know that, even if delayed, the profit will come after that. Guess what? Choices like that are called business decisions. And knowing when to make those calls will come when you train your brain to think more business-like.

This same mentality goes for traditionally published authors who want their agent or publisher to handle all business-related issues. If you have clear-set goals you’ll be better able to judge when and if your agent is steering you in a different direction than your vision.

The point is, no matter what kind of writer you are, you will need to make business decisions at some point. And that’s where having a business plan comes to play. A business plan, even just a basic one, can help recognize what’s important, your key goals, and design a timely action plan to get you from Point A to Point B with better chances of not getting sidetracked.

Finance: Investing in Yourself

Just like every business out there, you’ll need some start-up money to launch your business (that’s what we’re referring to your writing career from now on). I know everyone wants the writing to speak for itself, and while it can, you’ll still need to do some investment to get it out there. In this section of your business plan, you’ll need to create a publishing timeline, a budget to meet the timeline, and a savings plan. I’ve listed the major things you’ll want to invest in below.


What most writers have been doing to get their work out there is self-publishing. Getting discovered out of the blue and having a publisher invest thousands of dollars in an unknown writer is just very rare and hard to accomplish in today’s time. The best way to get picked up is by self-publishing your book, creating a successful audience for yourself, and having an agent catch on to all the buzz around you. To know just how much you should be saving up for publishing click here to explore publishing packages. Don’t forget Xulon Press always offers interest-free payment plans to make publishing achievable for every budget!


You know you’re going to need some level of editing for your manuscript before it’s published. So make sure to make a plan early on to begin saving up for a minimum of one round of editing at the “line-editing” level. Any full edit will be priced per word, so naturally the more words you have the more your edit will cost. If you’re wondering just how much you should be saving, take your estimated word count and visit our Editing Pricing Page, look over the editing plan you need, and simply multiply your word count with the cost-per-word listed on the website. For more tips on how to work with an editor, click here.


Marketing is definitely an expense that should not be skipped over. After all, this is what creates awareness for your book as well as the demand. No business can function without some sort of marketing efforts. Plan to spend money on social media advertising, internet advertising, a press release, book events, and if needed book reviews. Explore some of the pricing for marketing services by clicking here to help set your budget for your book launch.

Marketing: Creating Your Brand, Awareness, and Demand.

Before you begin your business plan you have to define who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Establish your goals, your vision, your intentions, your plans—everything! Your brand should sum up everything that makes you a writer. Think of this as your elevator pitch. 

While you won’t market yourself in the same way as a big corporation, you do still have to brand yourself as a writer. You won’t be looking at creating a typical brand, but instead focusing on personality branding. You’re a unique human that thinks, acts, speaks, and writes in a certain way. You wear certain clothes and you’re attracted to certain colors. You have a unique eye and pay attention to certain things. What you’re defining here, is how to present yourself to the world. 

In the marketing section of your business plan you’ll be defining your brand, your target audience, and creating an action plan on how to acquire that audience. In other words, how to let your future readers know that you exist! The best way to do that in the 21st century is by establishing an online presence. If you’re not sure where to start, save the following blogs for a read:

Sales: Communicating Value

Marketing and sales go hand-in-hand. After you’ve established your brand, you’ll create awareness by establishing an online presence for your targeted audience. As you’re working on creating the author awareness you desire, you can start marketing your upcoming work. You’ll start documenting your writing process and sharing them with your followers, creating the demand for your upcoming book, blog, poem, etc. 

When your book is ready for launch you want to have that excitement already created. Even though your mission with writing might be bigger than just selling, selling is an essential part of every business. It’s what eventually can break or make a career as an author.

Operations: Servicing Customers

Everything that happens within a business to keep it running falls under operations. This sounds more complicated than it actually is. With the operations section of your marketing plan you’ll just want to make sure your readers are satisfied and your business is running as effectively as possible. You do this by sticking to an action plan and making sure you’re adjusting the business plan as needed. You need to stay up-to-date with trends and change with the market. It’s a fast-paced world and what may skyrocket your career one year might not have the same effect five years from now. 


To wrap up, I hope you see business plans don’t have to be just about numbers or sales projections. They can also be about defining who you are as an author and what you want for your dreams. Once you’re comfortable with knowing what you want, where you stand, and where you want to go, you’ll be unstoppable.


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