You want to make money as a writer. How are you going to sell your book?
You have sold a book! Congratulations. How do you turn that sale into a career as a writer?
You have published many books but why aren't they are selling. How do you increase your income?
You need a business model. Not a business plan, which is your plan for how you will run your writing business, but a strategy for how to make money from your writing. Spend this weekend with Money-Making Business Models for Writers and learn to execute a strategy for generating sales now and in the future.
In her non-writing life, Tonya D. Price helps entrepreneurs around the world grow their businesses and learn online marketing. She has started three companies of her own, and consulted with start-ups. She has taken the models she uses in other businesses into the writing world, where we sorely need this kind of organization. As an acclaimed fiction writer, Tonya is in the perfect position to marry the practicalities of business with the creativity of fiction—and she does that here, in Money-Making Business Models For Writers. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch
"A worthy book for writing entrepreneurs interested in thinking beyond business plans to business models. The book provides suggestions for those considering changing/expanding their business and clarifies considerations writers should keep in mind when making these decisions."– Karen L. Abrahamson, author, the Detective Kazakov mysteries and The Unlocking romance series.
"I didn't realize I needed to think about business models until I read Tonya's book. I didn't even know what they were but thanks to Tonya, I have a better idea of what a business model will mean for my writing business and why it's important to decide on one. She explains the concept in an easy to understand style without jargon. If you are a writer starting your own business, read Money-Making Business Models for Writers and learn how business models can help you."– Rebecca Senese, Canadian fiction writer, Honorable Mention award in “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” and nominated for numerous Aurora Awards
"Tonya digs into the nitty-gritty of business plans for beginning writers, concisely addressing different topics to enable any writer to create their own business plan (and modify it as needed over time). An added bonus is a myriad of ideas I had never considered as potential income streams. Many writers don't like to think about the business side of things, and Tonya makes it approachable."– Stephannie Tallent, fantasy and science fiction writer and knitting pattern designer and author
Every year I poll writers to determine what business area is of interest to authors who are not business savvy. I want to write business books that help them achieve their dreams of being full-time writing entrepreneurs.
I've been lucky because every year since I've started writing the Business Books for Writers series, readers mentioned one topic much more than the others for that year. Last year the answer was nearly the same from every author I interviewed: they wanted to know how to make more money with their writing.
There are a lot of great marketing books written for writers.
I didn't want to write a marketing book that would cover the same information other authors had already provided. However, when I asked questions, I learned these writers didn't want to learn marketing, they wanted to learn to sell more books. Many wanted to make more money doing something they were going to do whether their books sold or not.
In the course of these discussions, writers complained to me about receiving enticing emails advertising free webinars, promising to teach them how to sell their books. In the end, they reported finding themselves pressured to sign up for an expensive course or mentorship relationship they couldn't afford or didn't have the time to pursue.
The webinar presenters making these offers are usually not trying to take advantage of writers. Many want to share useful information, but as a writing entrepreneur, you have to understand they are charging you to learn the approach they used to make money. An entrepreneur would say, these presenters are sharing their Business Model. Notice I say, "make money" because many of these business models involve earning income in ways besides selling books.
For example, say a portion of their income comes from teaching online courses. The problem that arises is the approach these authors use might not work for you because, as writers, we are all different.
One of the first things I learned from my writing mentor, Dean Wesley Smith,1 was, "You are responsible for creating your own writing career." You handle your writing expenses. You market your books. You build your network to increase business opportunities. You decide whether to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise.
It is a daunting task that many authors are not prepared to undertake. We just want to write our novels!
Writers have various skill levels. Some of us write slow. Some of us write fast. Some of us write short stories or novels or non-fiction books. We sell to a variety of age groups, to a wide range of markets, and have bank account balances that range from zero to thousands of dollars.
No single approach for making money from our writing works for all of us. What these successful authors have discovered is that you make money when you have an approach that works for you. Base your approach on where you are on your writer's journey, how much money you have to reinvest in growing reader awareness of your work, the amount of time you have to put into selling your books, the size of your readership, and the extent of your network.
The key to success is understanding which business model matches where you are in your writing career and what your aspirations are for your business.
You can earn money with your writing with no money in your bank account. Most writers start out this way. But as that bank account grows, you will have the funds to begin to explore additional avenues to make money outside of writing stories. That is assuming you want to! Just because other authors have more than one way to sell their books doesn't mean you have to use their business model.
The way a new writing entrepreneur makes money is different from the way a long-time writing entrepreneur makes money because a new writer is running a start-up business. They are exploring and testing their business model. Start-up writers need to verify which group or groups of readers will buy their books. They do this by testing their initial assumptions behind selling their book.
For example, they need to determine if their YA novel is most popular among middle school, high school, college students, thirty-somethings, historical readers, or some other, unexpected group of readers.
What you will learn in this book
This is an introduction to the topic of business models. The goal is to provide you with information on the use of business models to gain insight into how to utilize this important tool to create a business that fits your company's revenue goals.
The Business Books for Writers series is written so that an author can read the books in a weekend because writers, and especially indie publishers, are very busy.
Business models are developed over time. This book will teach you what a business model is, how to create one, and how to use one to make more money from your writing.
We will cover:
•Why successful entrepreneurs have a business plan and a business model.
•Business models you can use.
•New ways to grow your business over time.
•How to spot new business opportunities you were not equipped to handle earlier in your career.
•How to create a unique business model that will make you more money.
Technology is constantly changing. The moment you quit fine-tuning your business model is the moment your sales will start to stagnate and decline.
What you will not learn in this book
This book is not about how to write a business plan. Many articles use business plan and business model as if they were the same thing. They are not. If you do not have a business plan, or are unfamiliar with them, I recommend you get The Writer's Business Plan 2 which gives you step by step instructions for creating a customized business plan for your business in a weekend.
A business plan defines what you want your business to be and the goals you have for your business.
A business model is the strategy you will use to make money.
A note on using this book
This book was written to explain to writers without experience running their own companies how to grow a writing business using business models. First, we will outline what a business model is and is not. Then we will review the Sears Roebuck Company to analyze how a retail company developed and eliminated products over a long period of time to stay profitable. In addition, I use my own indie-publishing company, Magnolia Lane Press, as an example of a writer's business model.
Several beta readers asked for a step by step guide to developing a business model, so I created a packet of worksheets you can download at: https://www.businessbooksforwriters.com/Business-Model-Worksheets.
These worksheets are designed to help you develop, evaluate, and implement a business model that fits your company at this point in time. You can use the worksheets for any future changes you might make to your business model.
I will continue to add supplements and information on the Money-Making Business Model for Writers webpage over time. Subscribe to The Writing Entrepreneur newsletter to get notices of new articles of interest to readers of this book.
All links found in Money-Making Business Models For Writers are kept current on the Business Books For Writers web site for easy access and later use.
Corrections to the book
Despite our best efforts, occasionally a typo gets by our editors. This is especially a problem for readers if the typo is in a URL or if a site changes the URL of a link included in the book. If you find a link that doesn't work, check our book update page where all corrections are listed.
Let's get started.
In Chapter 1 you will learn how a business model will make you money, what is a revenue stream and how a business can survive by altering its business model.
1 Dean Wesley Smith, https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/, has been my writing teacher and mentor for many years. He and his wife, Kristine Kathrine Rusch, founded WMG Publishing which offers writing craft and business-related courses at https://www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com. Take a look at their websites and see if you can figure out their business model! We will examine it later in this book.
2 Tonya Price, The Writer's Business Plan, Magnolia Lane Press, 2017.