The Coffee Break Business Plan by Amy Denim

Please help me welcome Amy Denim to my blog today. Amy has a fantastic blog and book for you. Check it out!

Coffee_Break_Guide_to_Business_Plans_copy_2Have you thought about putting together a business plan? But, oh, it’s such a long and complicated process. Ugh. Why bother, when you could spend your valuable time writing. But, wait, what’s this? A guide to help authors write a business plan on coffee breaks?

Okay, so I find when things get boring and staid that some humor and creativity makes it all much more fun. And let’s admit that a traditional business plan is anything but fun. But having one can be an important part of taking control of your writing career. To get you started I’ve created a quick and easy set of questions to get you started and it really should only take you about a coffee break to complete it.

Okay, put your thinking cap/top hat/beanie with the helicopter rotor /tiara on. It’s time to think about what you really want.

These questions are to get you started thinking about your goals, but don’t go crazy here and spend hours making lists and/or daydreaming about your success as a writer.

I call this the Coffee Break Business Plan. This is all about basic goals, which you can expand on to create a full-blown business plan, so spend only a few minutes thinking about each of these questions. Write a couple of sentences to answer them or make yourself a nice bullet-point list. If you’d like a template to print out to help you with this exercise, you can download one at

Grab a Cup of Coffee and a Pen

Write down the answers to these questions.

• How many books do you plan to write? In what genre?

• What’s your projected word count?

• When will you finish each project? Or, how much time will you need to complete each project? (Don’t forget to build in time for critiques, beta readers, editing, and all those other activities… besides actually writing the book.)

• How will you publish these books? Traditionally, self-published, a hybrid approach?

• If you’re self-publishing, what services will you need and how much will you spend on those?

• Who is your competition? Who else writes books like yours?

• How will you sell and market your books?

• How much money will it cost you to publish and market? What services might you pay for to help you do that?

• How much money do you plan to make, and when will you see that revenue?

• When do you plan to achieve these goals?

There you go. You just created a basic business plan. For real. Laminate that sucker and put it up big and pretty in front of your computer. Every time you sit down to write, take a look and focus on writing to achieve those goals. If the IRS comes knocking, you can wave it in their faces.

If you’d like help expanding your business plan I can help with that too. Leave a comment on the blog today, ask questions about business plans or anything else you’d like and one lucky commenter will win a copy my new book The Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Authors: The Step-By-Step Guide to Taking Control of Your Writing Career. But, if you can’t wait to win it, it’s available now on Amazon.

Aimee DenimAmy’s Bio

Amy Denim writes business books for writers and contemporary romance. She loves hot heroes (like chefs and cowboys) and curvy intelligent heroines (like chefs and cowgirls.)

She’s been a franchise sales coordinator, a lifeguard, a personal shopper, and a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. But now she spends her days reading and writing at her local library or in her book cave.

Amy started out her writer’s life scared out of her wits because she didn’t have a business plan, hadn’t yet created an online platform, wasn’t on twitter, didn’t have a Facebook fanpage and had never even heard of Goodreads. She just wrote books. So she spent a year becoming a publishing industry information fiend and now does consulting for creatives on how to use take control of their writing careers. She started Coffee Break Social Media to help writers and artists learn to use SM platforms effectively (without the scare tactics) but still have time to create. She believes business plans and social media can be every writer’s friend, sometimes they just need an introduction.

Visit Amy on her author website at or for tips and tricks on the writing business at

25 thoughts on “The Coffee Break Business Plan by Amy Denim

    • Melissa,
      Yes! Having a business plan is all about inspiration. Seeing those goals in print, hanging up somewhere by your computer will really spur you to achieve those writing career New Year’s resolutions.

    • Aww, thanks for the shout out on Twitter, Andrea. You rock. You’re right, the new year is exactly the right time to get your goals in order with a business plan! Glad I could help/give you a kick in the pants. 🙂

    • Judy,
      Oh yeah. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when you’re planning out your goals. I feel ya. It’s actually a huge part of the reason I decided to write this book. I was all over the place with my goals and rarely ever accomplished half of what I wanted to do. A business plan really keeps me on track. There are a whole bunch of downloadable resources on the Coffee Break Social Media website, like spreadsheets (the geek in my loves them!) and worksheets like this one. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Nicole,
      Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Of course I think this is a necessary read for every author! *wink* I’m always surprised how many authors don’t have a business plan and it’s another part of why I wrote the book. I love love love helping authors with the business side of a writing career. Let me know if I can help you when you’re ready to write your plan!

  1. I love your approach, Amy! I’m reading your book right now and am totally enjoying your straightforward, common-sense and entertaining style. I’m looking forward to having you as a guest on the Secrets of 7 scribes next week!

    • PJ! It’s so fun to see you here. 🙂
      I’m a geeky goof at heart and so many of the business books I read when doing my research were in no way entertaining. So it was really important to me to make sure The Coffee Break Guides weren’t the same old staid and boring tomes. I wrote them in a very conversational voice so hopefully people feel like I’m right there with them talking them through the steps to taking control of their writing career. Looking forward the Secrets of the 7 Scribes blog next week!

    • Danica!
      You’re workshops on taxes for writers that you did for Colorado Romance Writers the last couple of years were a huge inspiration. (In fact, I thanked you in the acknowledgements of the book – surprise!) Just hoping to spread the good word of business plans to the masses. 🙂

    • Linda,
      Yes, most authors never make their business plans because they fear they have to be complicated. And if you write the old boring style plans, they are. When I started doing the research for my own plan all I found was super left-brained need and SBA loan guides. Blech. I tried really hard to transform the horrible and scary parts of writing a business plan into right-brained fun career boosters!

  2. Thanks for this great reminder, and for sharing your wisdom, Amy. It’s easy to get lost in the creative world or the social media promo aspect of writing. Stepping back and getting an overview of where we’re headed is priceless. I tweeted too.

    • Gemma,
      Thanks a ton for tweeting! (It’s my personal favorite social media network). It’s oh, so easy to get consumed by everything we need to do to take care of the writer biz, writing being the least of our worries. I couldn’t do it without that pretty business plan hanging in front of my laptop in my book cave. Hopefully it will help you too. 🙂

  3. Wow, such practical and useful questions! Especially since most of those are the ones we ignore when we actually do sit down to start writing. LOL… I know I am guilty of not thinking things through when it comes to completing projects or anything… I just know I sit and the words come out- then magic happens and it goes live. 😉 I’m not one to plan things- which I think is the start of my problem. I think your book would be SUPER useful! I just got a copy of another book about the self-pubbing industry, I’ve yet to open it, but I will- soon… I need more hours in the DAY! Great post!


    • Jesse,
      You’re exactly where I was at the beginning of last year. I wrote and wrote but rarely seemed to gain much traction on my projects. I feel so much more productive now that I’ve got that business plan in front of me. I LOVE being able to check projects off when they’re done. (I love it so much, I should marry it – lol)

    • Yep, the New Year is a perfect time to write a business plan. I think of it as New Year’s resolutions with muscles. Mmm, big strapping muscles on a hawt cowboy. Now if that doesn’t get us motivated, I don’t know what will! 🙂

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