How to Write a Business Plan for a Writing Career

Being a writer who wants to achieve viability and a long-term career means you are a ‘business’, defined as ‘the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services)’. Your writing career is probably going to be a one-man or one-woman business, but if you want to develop it as a career, it still needs a written business plan that focuses on the essentials regarding organisational structure, products and services offered, marketing strategy, sales strategy and a clear description of your financial strategy.

Prospective investors include more than your readers — banks and other creditors will evaluate your plan before providing you a single penny, and you may need external help from such people to keep going, especially in the early years. That may sound intimidating, but don’t panic.

Here are 7 basic steps toward formulating a coherent business plan

1. Set out a template, something like this:

Cover page

Executive summary

Company description

Market research

Products and services

Marketing/sales plan

Financial projections


Or you can use any number of off-the-shelf templates and tools to help produce a clear format.

2. Describe your business

Begin writing your plan by describing your business, including any pen name that you use.

What markets do you serve, and how do your books or stories serve those markets?

What unique features will make your fiction competitive?

How will your readers find out about your work?

Will your organisation as a writer be as effective as your competitors? i.e. will you be able to produce the required volume of work over time?

3. Analyse your market

Identify who needs your fiction