Business Plan


This section describes an author’s business plan by leveraging the Business Model Canvas as described in the book Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder. This approach views the Product or Service as a means to an end, which is the Value the Customer (or Audience in our case) derives from that Product or Service.

There are nine elements to the Canvas, enumerated below. The first four focus on how one interacts with the target Audience to deliver Value to them. The next three (Activities, Resources and Partners) focus on the activities that create the Value

  1. Audience - who is your target audience?
  2. Value Proposition - What are you hoping to provide them?
  3. Relation - How will you interact with your Audience?
  4. Distribution - How will you provide your Value to your Audience?
  5. Key Activities - What activities will you perform to create the Value?
  6. Key Resources - What resources do you have that helps you create the Value?
  7. Key Partners - Who will you work with (i.e., outsource) to create your Value?
  8. Revenue - How will you create revenue so you can create/deliver the Value?
  9. Costs - What expenses will you incur creating/delivering the Value?

Product / Market Fit: Ensuring Value

The first two elements (Audience and Value) seek to establish whether there is a Product-Market fit. This means you are focused on ensuring what you are creating (Product or Service) is targeting the right market. A typical audience will have Pains, Gains and Jobs–needs that lack fulfillment including emotional, physical and mental. A typical Value Proposition will have Pain Relievers, Gain Creators and Products & Services

  • Audience
    • Are you writing to the right audience (teen, young adult, adult, male, female)?
    • Facebook has a capability that helps you identify an audience.
  • Value Proposition
    • Amazon lists books by Genre, which helps identify the Genre. There are services that help identify “hot” genres
    • Are you using Tropes consistent with the Genre?
    • Are your Themes addressing the want/need of your Audience?
    • What do you hope your Audience will feel/think in reading your Product?
  • Products & Services
    • Work: Will you write a single novel, a short-run (e.g., trilogy) or a series?
    • Electronic Books (Kindle, Nook, iBook, etc.)
    • Paper books (paperback, hard cover)
    • Audiobook (Audible, etc.)

Marketing: Building the Tribe

Relation involves how one interacts with the Audience. This is building the Tribe or loyal readers who will continue to engage with your business.

  • Social Media
  • Website
    • Will you create a website?
    • Will you blog on the website?
    • Will you put samples on the website?
  • Advertising
    • Will you use Facebook ads?
    • Will you use Amazon ads?
  • Email / Newsletters
    • Will you be engaging your audience via email distribution lists or newsletters?

Distribution: Delivering Value

Distribution describes how you will provide the Product/Service to the Audience

  • Electronic Book
    • Kindle, Nook, iBook?
    • KDP
    • Will you grant Amazon exclusive rights?
  • Paperback
    • CreateSpace?

You will need to decide if you want your books to sell domestically or internationally.

Key Activities / Resources / Partners & Cost

Key Activities (KA) are all the things you need to do to create the Product/Service, and support both your Relations and Distribution. Key Partners (KP) are those individuals or organizations that support your business. Key Resources (KR) are those things you have available. In the list below, where there is a Key Partner (KP), I will include the Key Activity

Product Creation

  • KR: the Work (short-story, novella, novel, series)
  • KR: Audiobook
  • KA: Writing
    • KR: Text Editor (Google Docs, Scrivener, etc.)
    • KA: Create the Series
    • KA: Create the Work
    • KP: Copyright Registration (US Copyright Office)
    • KP: ISBN (self-purchased via Bowker, or borrowed from Publisher/Distributer)
    • Cost: Purchase price for the Text Editor
    • Cost: Purchased ISBNs
    • Cost: Copyright Registration
  • Editing/Revision
    • KP: Developmental Editor (KA: Well-Designed/Developed Work)
    • KP: Line-Editor/Proofreader (KA: Well-Written Work)
    • Cost: Paying a Freelance Editor or Proofreader (~$3.50/pg)
  • Formatting
    • KA/KP: Format the paper book
    • KA/KP: Format the ebook
    • Cost: Paying a Freelance Formatter
  • Cover
    • KR: Cover & other artwork
    • KP: Graphic Artist (KA: Cover art, other artwork)
    • Cost: Freelance Graphic Artist
    • Cost: Any licenseable artwork
  • Publishing
    • KP: CreateSpace (KA: Publish paper book )
    • KP: Voice-Over Artist (KA: Create audiobook)
    • Cost: VO Artists can be paid via profit splitting
    • Cost: CreateSpace books are paid per sale


  • KP: Amazon (and other providers you choose) - for electronic/paper book
  • KP: Audible (and other providers you choose) - for audiobook
  • Cost: Costs using Amazon are paid per sale


  • Advertising
    • KR: the Ad
    • KA: Create Ad
    • KP: Facebook/Amazon, other advertising platforms
    • KP: Freelance marketing person
    • Cost: Freelance Marketing
    • Cost: Ad
  • Email list / Newsletter
    • KP: Mailchimp (or other email distribution list provider)
  • Social Media
    • KP: Facebook
    • KP: Twitter
    • KP: Amazon (Author page)
    • Cost: No cost for social media presence
  • Website
    • KR: Domain Name
    • KR: Content Management System (CMS)
    • KR: Hosting platform
    • KP: CMS provider (e.g., Wordpress)
    • KP: Domain Name Registrar (e.g. Google Domains)
    • KP: Host provider (e.g., Google Cloud)
    • Cost: Domain Name
    • Cost: Hosting Platform
    • Cost: CMS


Revenue would come from two sources: Book and Audiobook Sales.


The following are recommended prices based on length of Work

  • Short-Story - $0.99
  • Novella - $1.99 ($2.99 if established)
  • Novel - $2.99 ($4.99 if established)
  • Cost of production + 25%. That is, if it costs $8 to make the book, sell it for $9.99.


The regular price on Audible for the product is generally priced based on its length. However, Amazon reserves the right to set the prices. Narration occurs at around 125wpm, but Audible uses 175wpm for calculating duration. Divide your work by 9,400 to estimate the duration in hours.

The table below assumes you are profit-sharing with the Producer (ACX Option 1), where each receives 20% of the royalties.

Duration Price Royalty (20%) Work length Type
<1 hr: <$7 $1.40 9.5kw Short Story
1-3 hrs: $7-$10 $1.40-$2.00 9.5-28.5kw Novella
3-5 hrs: $10-$20 $2.00-$4.00 28.5-47.0kw Novel
5-10 hrs: $15-$25 $3.00-$5.00 47.0-94.2kw Novel
10-20 hrs: $20-$30 $4.00-$6.00 94.2-188kw Novel
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