A writing business sounds like a lot of extra work, but as you will soon see, it's not difficult at all. Starting a book selling business is the key to making a long term income from your writing. When you go at the whole writing process without a business mentality, you will not have the same motivation, drive, and dedication when taking your work further than the computer.
In order to maintain discipline throughout the writing process, you must separate your personal life from your writing. Achieving all of your writing goals and reaching all of the expectations from your books, you must think of your writing as a business. This does many things for you and sets your life as a writer up for success.
As a fiction writer, you have a unique opportunity to make a lot of money from your creativity and writing. You are producing a unique product that you can sell to a target market. Even if you haven't finished your book or you are just starting out, considering your work as a writing business will enable you to do many more things than you can do with your writing as just a simple hobby or a "thing to do" to pass the time.
I know you are probably confused and wondering why you even need to make your writing a business. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you go any further:
1. Why am I writing?
2. What am I trying to accomplish with my writing?
3. Do I want my writing to compensate me for all of my hard work and creativity?
4. Am I serious about publishing my book?
If you've answered "No" to any of these questions, you really need to take inventory of yourself and determine where you want your writing to be in the future. A writing business, or a business where you write and sell your own books, is a truly easy way to make a living once you know what it is you want from all of it.
You are in the vast fiction market, the entertainment outlet for the entire world! Reading fiction is an intricate part of society - people love to read for the sheer entertainment value of it. Your fiction is pure entertainment! It is the perfect product for a successful business because it entertains and is unlike any other product out there!
Every business meets four criteria. As an author, you meet most of them right out of the gate. Here are the four things needed by every business and how they relate to your business as a writer:
1. You need a niche area of concentration or consumer market to focus on (otherwise known as your target market). This is your genre of focus with your writing.
2. You have something (supply a product or service) that nobody else has that people want (something in demand). This of course will be your fiction books and your ideas are certainly unique to you.
3. You need a product or service that is in demand around the world. Entertainment is one of the most sought out products in the world.
4. You want to make money from your product or service. This is totally up to you no matter what kind of product or service you have.
If you meet these four criteria, which you have at least the first three as a fiction writer already (the fourth one being totally up to you) then you have the makings of great business potential with your fiction writing.
Your writing business is an intricate part of your writing efforts and should blend effortlessly with your book marketing efforts. This will help produce a very strong foundation and prosperous future for you and your fiction story writing.
Just having a business mindset toward your writing will make a world of difference when you decide that it's time to start making some real money from your writing.
It is very easy to create a business from your writing, even if you have no previous business experience. Whether you are going to author a fiction story under your own name or you are going to use a pseudonym, you can easily create a business in any country of the world.
Since each country and every state within the United States is different, I can't tell you exactly how to legally establish a business presence for wherever you are from, but in most cases in the United States, especially if you are not writing under your own name, you should obtain an Employer's Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (which doesn't cost you anything) and a fictitious name registration with your state and/or local area (this usually requires a $10 fee). This will allow you to separate your personal income from your business income when you start making money from your book sales.
The reason you want to keep your personal and business income separate is because you want your business to continually grow. By reinvesting the money you make with writing business back into the marketing efforts for your books or writing services, you will make even more money. Keep reinvesting and making more money until your fiction writing business is self-sufficient and has enough money left over to pay you every month.
I do encourage you to form an S-Corporation or Limited Liability Corporation to benefit you even more, but I highly recommend consulting with a business attorney who specializes in writers and business.
With a corporation, your income will be taxed after your expenses are taken out, lowering your overall taxable income. Most of the time, though, you will run a sole proprietorship which is the easiest form of business to create.
With either method (a corporation or sole proprietorship) you can combine your business taxes with your personal taxes so you don't have to submit separate ones (unless of course you want to). I encourage you to research the many types of business entities out there and determine the form of business you would like to use for your writing business.
You should also learn more about taxes and your writing business and how to properly write off all of your writing expenses such as your computer, software programs used for writing, and fees you pay for editors and design. These can all lower your taxable income.
You don't want to earn a bunch of money as a writer and not claim your income or writing expenses. Knowing this before you start your writing business will set you up that much further ahead of the game.
Once you've gone through the process of starting your writing business, you should create a simple business plan to help guide your writing in the right direction. It doesn't have to be elaborate, just a simple plan for your business - where you want to be in the future and how you are going to get there.
A properly drafted business plan for a writing business should include the following topics:
1. An Executive Summary. This is a paragraph or two description of what your business is all about.
2. Your Product or Service. Your product or service is easy. In this case, your product is your book or books if you plan on writing more than just one. Or if you are going to offer your services as a writer, it is the type of service you are going to offer.
3. Your Target Market. This is the fiction readers who will be interested in your book, including age group, area (such as country), and more detailed genre or type of book(s) you are writing such as a mystery novel, science fiction, or romance.
4. Your Competition. Do some research within your market to determine how many published authors have written books similar to yours within your specific market. This can be rather difficult, but it gives you an idea of how many other writers are really out there in your genre. Competition is a good thing - that means there is money in that market. If there is no competition, there is no market.
5. Your Marketing Plan. This is a vital part of your business plan. This is where the money comes from to get your book in front of as many potential readers as you can. You should concentrate on this part the most. This involves the marketing process of how you will advertise your book (from before publishing to post publishing), the selling process or how people will purchase your book, and the distribution process or how people will receive your book after they buy it.
If you need some help in the form of how to market your fiction stories, you should use my exclusive book selling guide for your writing business, Fiction Book Marketing System. It will help you choose the right marketing platform for your type of writing.
6. Your Financial Projections. The financial numbers in your plan show your potential earnings based on goals you set for your business - what you would like to earn and how you will earn it. This may also be represented with how many books you need to sell in order to reach certain financial goals with your writing business. This shows you the potential for your business and helps you establish writing goals [writing-goals.html] to get it done. It is also a great motivator to help keep you chugging along.
If you aren't an accountant or don't know how to determine financial projections, you should definitely find someone that can help you with this. Share your ideas with them, determine some financial goals, thus determining how many books you must sell in order to break even with your writing business. This also includes your expenses, so it is always good to create a writing budget to present to your accountant to give them a good place to start.
7. Risks, Failure, and Mitigation. There are always risks when you start a business. You are going to fail at some things. You should always consider all of the risks and potential areas of failure involved with your writing business and a plan to mitigate those risks by applying your creativity.
An example of a possible risk involved with book marketing is having a bad book signing where no one shows up to buy your books. In this case, you would determine how you will overcome this by perhaps quickly conducting another book signing in a better location using the same props and books you have bought for the first signing so it doesn't cost you any more money in preparations.
Once your business plan is written and ready to go, you must take action on your plan and follow through with forming your writing business. Make it official! Let everyone know you have established your writing business and that you have deadlines and things you must do to make money with your writing.
If you are going to be a sole proprietor (running the business as yourself), your name is your business. Your name will be your "brand", just like Coke is a brand of Coke. People will associate your name with "that great book" they read last week. You want everyone to know your name and you want to protect your name by producing a great product or service.
Your family should be very supportive of your goals and will be your best customers. If they are not supporting you, you are not sharing your true passionate dreams with them or they just don't understand what you are set out to accomplish with your writing. This is very important and you must share all of your goals and dreams with everyone involved. Let everyone know you write fiction and they will want to read your books.
In a nutshell, that's how to establish a writing business for your fiction writing, publishing, and marketing efforts. Now let's pursue the most important aspect of your writing business, your marketing plan, and learn how to develop a solid foundation for your writing business so you can start selling a lot of books.
Jason Moser is not an attorney and is not providing legal advice. His professional opinion is based on his personal experience and is in no way meant to advise you on tax or business legalities.