Writing a Business Plan

Every month or so I meet with a small business mentor who helps me focus on the next steps in growing my business. During our first meeting he encouraged me to write a business plan. I started and then stopped for quite a while… I’m meeting with my mentor again this Thursday, so I decided it was time to continue working on my business plan. It’s not finished, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

Business plan management diagram

Executive Summary

Our Written Lives provides publishing services for independent authors. Working with OWL saves authors the time and money required to set up their own publishing business if they want to break into mainstream production and sales without waiting to be picked up by a large publishing company, which could take months or years. The OWL collection includes fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children. Each book has an element of Christian inspiration or teachable values.

Business Description

  • OWL business will grow as the title collection expands and independent authors around the country promote their books. As authors make local business contacts and sell books at bookstores, sales numbers increase proving books are sellable. These numbers assist in promoting each book to major bookstore chains, retail shows, and special non-returnable sales to organizations.

Business goals

  • Join the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), which will represent books at the International Christian Retail Show.
  • List particular books with Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS), which will promote the book for large quantity non-returnable sales to various buyers in the non-retail market (organizations, etc.)
  • Work to have 200 active published books
  • Work only at OWL

Business Activities, Services & Products

  1. Networking:
  • Social Media, LinkedIn, etc. send emails to new contacts
  • Talk to librarians, bookstore managers, etc.
  • Join business lunches and other networking groups
  • Leads local Christian writers’ group
  • Makes several new contacts monthly, signs people up for newsletters
  • Public speaking at schools, community events
  1. Marketing:
  • Social Media: Newsletters, Bog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, website
  • Press Releases for each author, adjustable for each event (book signings, speaking engagements, etc.)
  • Ads: email blasts through larger publishing houses & distribution systems ($50-$60)
  • Promotions for resale opportunities through larger companies
  1. Consulting:
  • $50 for a one hour constructive feedback meeting
  • $30/hour social media training
  • $50/hour writing coach (currently working on Life Coach certification)
  1. Freelance Editing & APA:
  • Secures freelance editing jobs from authors, gives free estimate
  • Provides editing and APA formatting primarily for international doctoral students
  • High School – $10 for the first page, $1 for each additional page
  • Undergraduates –$15 for the first page, $1.50 for each additional page
  • Master’s Level –$20 for the first page, $2 for each additional page
  • Doctoral Level – $30 for the first page, $3 for each additional page
  • o   Undergraduate APA – $20 an hour with a minimum of one hour per project
  • o   Master’s APA – $25 an hour with a minimum of one hour per project
  • o   Doctoral APA – $30 an hour with a minimum of one hour per project
  1. Freelance Writing:
  • Elanc.com, Link247, P7 Bible Clubs, Ghostwriting, Resume Updates, guest blogs
  1. Publishing Services: $600*

*Based on 200 pages or less, for black and white paperback books with color covers. Prices vary for full-color or hardback books. Does not include manuscript editing. Free quote and consultation with accepted manuscript submissions.

  • One-on-one consulting and collaboration
  • Layout and design of book
  • Original cover art
  • ISBN
  • Library of Congress catalogue number
  • Barcode
  • Listing in Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Amazon.com
  • E-book edition (Kindle)
  • Book and author listing on the OWL website and blog
  • Inclusion in OWL overall book marketing plan
    • Includes information and discounts on ads and promotions available through associations OWL is a member of
    • Includes promotion of book to various business contacts and stores
    • Blog posts, reader reviews, Facebook event promotions
  • The first 50 books mailed directly to author
  • A discount on all future book orders (printing + shipping + $2/book)
  • Public Relations assistance as needed, including press releases, flyers, and assistance in setting up book signings and other events and yearly marketing meeting
  1. Available Products
  • Books available for resale at a 40-55% discount from the listed sale price:
    • Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance, $15
    • The Tiniest Tree ~ El Arbolito, $25
    • Pot Belly Pies, $11
    • Lovable Lappy: The Fish with the Golden Coin!, $23
  • Pending Publication:
    • Patterns of Light (poetry)
    • My Time in Atlanta (poetry)
    • Plastic Reality (educational, self-help)

Market and Competition

OWL has two markets: independent authors and retail businesses. OWL sells services to     independent authors and products for resale to businesses. Business partners include bookstores, churches, counseling centers, non-profit social and human services organizations, coffee shops, gift shops, etc.

What makes OWL unique from other publishers?

  • Open to Christian topics secular businesses may not be willing to promote
  • One-on-one with the writer, more personal collaboration
  • Affordable and cost effective way to access the benefits of mainstream publishing without the hassle of setting up a whole new business for authors who have a business, congregation, or a venue to sell their book
  • Author maintains more control over the product and has unlimited potential
  • Print on demand doesn’t require warehouses or purchases of large quantities up front
  • Independent, small press publisher, a hybrid between a traditional and self-publishing company.

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