The Business of Self Publishing

The Business of Self Publishing

By Laura Pepper Wu

Peter Rowan’s workshop was based on the premise that entrepreneurship is an essential ingredient for an author in the current publishing climate. So what should we keep in mind as indie authorpreneurs?

  • That’s is okay to fail early, fail often
  • To know that failure can be fun

And… to put together a business plan.The Business of Self Publishing

The Author Business Plan

Peter’s advice when it comes to learning how to do a business plan is that it doesn’t need to be 600 pages! You just need to put together the basics. The most important part of any business plan is understanding who the customers are.

To put together a business plan, use the free resources out there that are geared towards entrepreneurs. Learn how entrepreneurs pitch, not how to pitch a publisher or write a query letter. One free resource that Peter recommends is

The Bare Essentials Of A Business Plan

1. Readers: What, who, how many, where.

Peter used the analogy of building a bridge. Don’t just go along pushing a book without knowing who the customers are. Go to the other side of the bridge and find those customers. Then make sure that your path to reaching them is the shortest and fastest way there is.

2. The blocking strategy: Make your book unmissable. Put it everywhere, on YouTube, social media etc. Then get in front of people.

3. As part of your business plan, work out your financial goals – How much do you want/ need?

Katherine from BookTrope added to the discussion: Don’t be afraid of giving your books away as part of your growth strategy. Giving away books is not the enemy of indie authors, obscurity is.

Conclusions: Self pubbing is not a marketing strategy, it’s a set of tools. Failing over and over, and the ability to be nimble is what separates the indie authors who sell from those who don’t. So as entrepreneurs, authors should have a long-term vision of their “business,” their plan. “The graph is up and to the right.”


About Peter:

Peter Rowan has taught entrepreneurship and new venture strategy since 2005, receiving an Award for Teaching Excellence in Business from UW. He is active in the entrepreneurial community as an advisor, mentor and investor. He also teaches the course The Business of Digital Publishing as part of UW’s Certificate Program in Digital Publishing. Since 2010, Peter has dedicated significant time to writing, self-publishing numerous works of fiction, including a novel (Inner Circle, 2012).



Meet-Laura-199x300Laura Pepper Wu is a freelance writer and editor at The Write Life Magazine. She lives in Seattle where she enjoys reading, writing, and hiking with her dog – often in the rain! Find out more about the digital magazine for writers, published monthly at Follow her on Twitter @LauraPepWu.