Developing an Author Business Plan

I just finished my final edits to A Quill Ladder and it is ready to go to the editor. Yay! ARC copies will be available October 3rd(ish), so if anyone wants to take a sneak peek sign up for my email list (existing subscribers can just send me an email at

It is now exactly one year since I decided to go indie, and as a result, it is probably time to be more explicit about my business plan. I have always kind of had an implicit plan - six books in three years at a reasonable budget, then reassess.

I did some research on business plans for authors and found them to be really lengthy and detailed. I am a big believer that for the most part the best business plan for authors is simply "write and repeat," and I am not at a point in my business where I need a thirty page plan. Most of my plan is in the form of post-it notes on my desk and a general schedule and budget in my head. But I thought I would run some numbers, just for fun. So, in the spirit of sharing, here is my business plan for year two of my indie author business. As you can see, I am going for the slow build, but results from year one have been promising.

Apologies for the somewhat wonky looking tables. They are images from my word document. My website editor does not support tables.

Four Year Goal:

Make $30,000/year profit.

Implications: With estimated production costs of $10,000/year (for 2.5 books a year), this will require selling the following number of books at the following price points.

Plan: Work up to this number of sales with continual production, high quality products, and building of fan base.

Year by Year Goals:

Initial Strategy: Selling first 1000 books was first-year strategy based on Tim Grahl's Your First 1000 Copies. (I am thrilled that it took less than 8 months to do so.)

Overall Strategy: Slow build, recognizing that many overnight successes actually took a few years to become overnight successes. If sales exceed targets earlier, great. If not, stay the course.


  • One middle grade book, one adult book and three short stories/year.
  • Move adult books to slightly more steamy romances for featuring smart women.
  • Reassess products on a biannual basis based on sales and competitors.

Production Schedule:

Words to write and edit in years two and three:

*Note Adult novels for years two and three already half written.

Based on total intended production, the number of words/day required is as follows:

*50,000 words must be added in to editing days for adult novels already written.


*FL = full length.

If budget reductions are required, cut proofreading first, then print formatting, and ebook formatting as these are all activities that can technically be done in-house.

Promotional Activities:

Tasks for Year Two

  • Write one blog post every two weeks.
  • Participate in anthologies.
  • Participate in Facebook author groups.
  • Write 4-6 book reviews for Underground Reviews.
  • Tweet (more effectively).
  • Network with other writers.


Tasks for Year Two

  • Attend one international conference.
  • Take copyediting course.

Budget: $1200

Business Development Activities:

Tasks for Year Two

  • Explore other platforms:
    • Go perma-free with first installment of The Complicated Weight of Air once second installment is complete.
    • Put In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation on other platforms when current KDP enrollment period expires.
  • Explore other review sites including Books Cartel and Library Thing.
  • Continue to experiment with price pulsing.

 So that is it from my perspective. What do you think? What have i missed?