Writing a One-Page Business Plan: 5 Questions A Self-Publisher Must Ask

Whether you are about to self-publish your first book, or start a micro-niche publishing company, you need to have business plan in place. A business plan will give you a basic roadmap for your new business. An easy and quick way to do this is to create a one-page business plan. This will let you quickly clarify your own thinking about your new business. This short, one-page plan, can also be used as an outline for a longer more in-depth plan. With some research, you should be able to complete this one-page plan in under one week. Here is a list of five questions that you must include in your simplified, one-page business plan.

1. WHY do you want to self-publish?

Your answer cannot be only about the money. It needs something more than that. It also needs to be short, very specific, and very personal.


a. “I want to write a book that will help new nurses be more productive, more effective, and more marketable in today’s tight job market.”

  1. “I want to write small-business management books so that I can share my knowledge and expertise with others that would like to start their own small-business. I gained this knowledge and experience over the last 35 years while starting and managing my own successful small-business.”
  2. “I want to write and self-publish a book to give myself more credibility in the eyes of my peers.”

2. WHAT will you write about?

Explain it in one sentence, in very specific detail. You must understand what your writing niche, or specialty, will be.


  1. “I will write and publish books about all aspects of self-publishing for people who have not written a book before.”
  2. “I will write a how-to book for experienced nurses who want to advance to become part of nursing management in a hospital.”
  3. “I will write a how-to guide for new parents who are raising a deaf child.”

3. WHO is your market?

You must narrow this down to a very specific group of people. Your answer cannot be “everybody and anybody”. You must know exactly who buys your type of book. You only have a limited amount of time and money for marketing and promotion. You must target your best efforts at those who are most likely to buy your book. Keep your answer down to a few tight sentences.

  1. “The market for my book is American nursing students that are in nursing school, or have just graduated as RN’s with an AS or BS degree in nursing and are searching for their first job. They are generally females between 20 and 26 years of age. Half of them like to read a hard-copy of a book; the other half like to read the eBook version. They are very worried about getting a job after graduation because the nursing shortage has ended.”

4. HOW do you define success?

You might spend the next twelve months writing your first book. And then a year later you might only be selling 8 copies a month on Amazon. Therefore, you must come to terms with what success means to you. Does success mean seeing your name on the cover of a book? Does it mean being able to give each of your customers a copy of your book so that they will have more admiration and respect for you? Does success mean getting letters and emails from people who read your book – telling you that your book has helped them in some positive way? We all can agree that making a lot of money is great – and is possible as a self-publisher – but it cannot be your only reason for writing a book. Therefore, you should write a paragraph here about how you define success for your book.

5. HOW HARD are you willing to work at it?

How much time and hard work are you willing to put into your self-publishing venture? This is probably the step that you must put the most honest thinking and most thought into. Are you willing to spend most of your time marketing and selling your book? Your book might take 6 to 12 months to write. But you will spend the next several years marketing and promoting it. Are you willing to put yourself out there and market and promote yourself, your name, and your book, the for next several years? Are you willing to keep writing and building your next book? The more time and effort that you put into your self-publishing venture, the more success you will have. It will be much easier to go the distance if you love your subject matter. And the more you love your subject matter, the more successful you will be at self-publishing. It is as simple as that.

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