Do self-published writers need a business plan?

If self-publishing a book, do you need a business plan? The answer depends on your goals and objectives.

A business plan lays out your financial goals and a detailed action plan for achieving them. For the most part, a business plan is created to obtain a loan from a bank or other financial institution. Even if not seeking a loan, such a plan can be useful in guiding your strategy to grow a business.

Generally, creating a business plan is unnecessary for self-published writers, even then they establish their own “publishing company” that owns the ISBN to their books. Such businesses generally are a self-proprietorship, and any royalties coming to the author is considered personal income.

Given this, rather than a business plan, self-published writers ought to be more concerned about creating a simple budget to keep their publishing expenses (for editing, cover design, etc.) in check and about developing a marketing strategy for boosting their sales. Perhaps a timeline for writing and publishing books also would be helpful, though this has less to do with the business than with maintaining good writing habits.

A business plan becomes necessary when you publish enough books with large enough sales that you can quit your day job. By that point, you have a serious small business going, and the writing effort no longer can be viewed as just a hobby or a side job. In addition, a business plan is necessary if the writing leads to the creation of another business, such as consulting, speaking, editing writers’ books, designing book covers, or self-publishing titles the writer didn’t pen. In this case, though, the business plan is geared less for the self-publishing of your books than for the small business you’re running.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.