A blog about writing and self publishing

The Top 3 Reasons Successful Indie Publishers Have A Business Plan

By Tonya D. Price

I ask every indie publisher I meet to tell me about their business plan. Most of the authors I talk to admit they don’t have one. Some want to write one, but don’t know where to start. Many believe they don’t need a business plan. But talk to a successful indie publisher and they always have a business plan.

Running a business without a business plan remains one of the biggest mistakes an indie publisher can make. As the indie publishing industry matures, this crucial tool provides a tremendous advantage in a market flooded by self-publishers lacking business experience.


Let’s look at the top three ways a business plan contributes to the success of an indie publishing company:

1. A business plan requires you to decide how you are going to run your company and what you want your company to achieve.

We all have some idea why we are starting our business, but a business plan forces you to sit down and put into writing your goals and strategies for building your company. When you face obstacles, you can reread your plan to determine where you went off track and how to adjust.

2. A business plan forces you to think about how much money you have to spend, how much money you need to run the business and how much money you will need to grow your business.

You need to spread your limited financial resources between outsourcing work you can’t do yourself and the tools you need to produce, market and sell books. Don’t spend money you don’t have, but make sure you have enough money in the bank to pay for a sudden increase in sales. A business plan will prepare you for the cost of success by helping you anticipate the cash coming in against the cash going out.

3. A business plan focuses your planning on your short-term and long-term goals and your strategies for achieving those goals.

With so many revenue streams available (eBooks, print books, audio books, etc.), new indie publishers often attempt to do too much too soon. Following strategies developed as part of your business planning will keep you focused on the most effective opportunities for growing your company.


Image courtesy of Pexels under Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

One final note:

People will tell you not to do a business plan because:

  • Business plans take too long to write.

They don’t. You can do a simple one in a weekend and should continuously update your plan as the market changes.

  • Business plans are for borrowing money.

Not true. They increase the odds you will make money.

  • A business book plan is more useful than a company business plan.

You need both. The effectiveness of you business book plan, (book marketing plan), increases when based on your strategies and decisions contained in your company business plan.

You can’t profit from a business plan if you don’t have one, so take a weekend and develop your roadmap to success!


tonyapriceTonya Price is a published author, former business executive and has helped many startup companies with their marketing and online strategies. As a speaker, she has addressed high tech, Higher Ed and author audiences through webinars and at regional, national and online conferences. Her talks have covered a variety of topics related to small business, entrepreneurship, and business planning. Tonya owns Magnolia Lane Press, which publishes both fiction and non-fiction titles, including The Business Books for Writers series books such as The Writer’s Business Plan: A plain English Guidebook

12 Responses to “The Top 3 Reasons Successful Indie Publishers Have A Business Plan”

  1. jenanita01

    I know I should have a plan of some description, but what if you are only good at writing, and not everything else?

    • Tonya Price

      Being able to write is a great skill to have when doing a business plan! The plan is just a document you create where you list your goals and strategies for achieving them given the amount of money available for your business.

      For example, many writers do not have experience in finance or wouldn’t say they are good at financial plans, but you can come up with how much money you want to make and how much you have to spend. Track your sales and revise your numbers if you fall short or exceed your goal. In this way, you learn what works and doesn’t work over time.

      Have a trusted advisor review a draft of your business plan. They often have great advice and suggestions for improvements. If you review your plan periodically and add what you learn, you will stay on track and get continuously better at hitting your goals.

      It is intimidating to create a plan if you have never done one. Worksheets and Templates can help make the process easier for you. Don’t feel you have to know everything when you start. Do be the best you can and add new ideas for improvements.

      Remember, you can outsource your cover design, copy editing and marketing, but you want to do your business plan yourself because it is your business and your money at risk. The great thing about taking the time to write a business plan is it will help you get better at running your business in the short and long term!

  2. Yecheilyah

    Reblogged this on Pearls Before Swine and commented:
    Quote – “Running a business without a business plan remains one of the biggest mistakes an indie publisher can make. As the indie publishing industry matures, this crucial tool provides a tremendous advantage in a market flooded by self-publishers lacking business experience.”

  3. boundrose

    The biggest struggle I see from most authors including myself is we aren’t business people and the resources we turn to aren’t as geared to us as people think. At the point I have a philosophy of asking “What makes your advice different” because a lot of books and articles simply give ad nauseum bare bones vague ideas that anyone knows. Yet the authors, rightfully, hold back the sort of details that’d help most people move forward. It’s not malicious just business, so they will generally give advice and we generally get advice without examples to ground it to. For people who struggle with initiating plans, organization, and the like this is a barrier we struggle to get around. Further almost all advice and books overlook how you even tell what is or is not working. I try SEO. I try facebook. I try reddit. Etc. But do I know what works? Not at all, and no one really tells or seems to know why one thing works over the others. I say all of this because I find it makes it impossible for most writers who don’t have a mind for business to develop one. Instead we shill out money in the hopes we make it back and most don’t. So even constructing a business plan is impossible for most people nor do most people get how a business plan actually helps their business in this field. Those are the hurdles of this industry.

    • Noor

      So true. There are so many “resources” for authors out there, but none of them are very good at helping you determine what works and what doesn’t!

      • boundrose

        And part of that is strategy…another part of it I think is just not being a good teacher…which is probably clear. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Marion

    I just read the preview and bought the e-book. This will be a valuable resource. Thank you, Tonya for publishing this book. It is much needed for indie writers/publishers.


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