Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Preparing a "Book Business Plan"

Today's guest post comes from Gail Martin, author of  The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book Without Losing Your Mind.  Please be sure to check out Gail's bio at the end of today's article and learn more about having a great book launch.  Enjoy! 

A “book business plan” isn’t the same as you’d use to get a loan for a company. It’s a shorter version that is especially helpful to use as a springboard for an on-target marketing plan. Think about which of the above scenarios comes closest to your reason for writing your book. Next, on a blank sheet of paper, do your best to answer these questions.

1) What is the transformative value of your book? How does it solve a problem for the reader, or provide value (entertainment, enlightenment, ideas, etc.)?

2) Describe your primary target audience in detail (age, gender, education, location, income, key concerns, hobbies, aspirations, etc.).

3) Justify why this is your primary audience.

4) Now, identify your secondary audience and justify its position.

5) Next, identify your tertiary audience and justify its position.

6) Do a SWOT Analysis. Your SWOT analysis should make clear your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Your business plan should have a goal or action that addresses each SWOT aspect.
  • What are your book’s STRENGTHS and features that differentiate it from other books on the same topic?
  • What are the WEAKNESSES of you or your book? (Examples could range from lacking a distributor for your book, to having less career success in your topic than competing authors.)
  • What OPPORTUNITIES currently exist in the marketplace for books such as yours? (For example, during an economic downturn, books on budgeting and saving money soar in popularity.)
  • What are the biggest THREATS you see to the book’s success? (This could range from you suddenly getting too busy with family, health or work issues to suitably promote the book; to having a crisis occur that makes your topic out of favor)
7) Do a “competitive analysis.” What research or data gathering have you done to understand who your competition is? What threat do they pose? How do their services/audience/service areas overlap with yours, and how might you turn weak competitors into strong collaborative partners?

8) Determine your annual marketing budget in dollars. How did you arrive at that figure?             

9) Determine your annual marketing budget in time. How did you arrive at that figure?

Once you have thought through these items, your book business plan should get clearer.

If you are writing in order to promote other products or services, or to promote yourself as a speaker and/or consultant, then your goals will focus on reaching an audience of good prospects for your other products. If you are writing for the love of the story, you have a goal of selling enough books to make it commercially attractive for you to write more books (either to a publisher, or to yourself, if you are self-published). If it’s the love of the topic that draws you, then you’ll need a clear understanding of where there are gaps in available materials on that subject so that you can make an authoritative statement. And, if you want to change the world, you’ll need to get a sense of how fresh and well-substantiated your approach is, so you can make a splash and fend off detractors.

Excerpted from The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book Without Losing Your Mind by Gail Z. Martin. Available on and other online retailers, and in select bookstores.

Bio: Gail Z. Martin is an author, entrepreneur and international speaker. She owns DreamSpinner Communications and is the “Get Results Resource” for marketing strategies that work. Gail is the author of The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book (March 2010, Comfort Publishing) and Social Media Marketing for Small Business: The 30 Day Guide (Fall 2010, Career Press).

She hosts the Shared Dreams Marketing Podcast and the Ghost in the Machine Author Podcast. You can find her online at http://www.gailmartinmarketing/, and on

Gail has just launched the Solopreneur Survival Guide home study course and resource kits at

In addition to her marketing career, Gail is the author of the bestselling Chronicles of the Necromancer fantasy adventure series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, and Dark Lady’s Chosen (coming in 2010) published by Solaris Books and distributed by Simon & Schuster. Her new series, The Fallen Kings Cycle, will be released by Orbit Books in 2011.


  1. Wish more writers and author followed those steps!

  2. Great blog! I am very much agree with No. 8, As you write your business plan, you should also consider the budget. Be aware on how the proposal works into its finances and how they can make the investment worthwhile with the budget they are willing to distribute to the project. Budget business plan is a basic and essential process that allows businesses to attain many goals in one course of action.