Home > The Publisher's Corner > The Business of Being an Indie Author

Crunching the Bottom Line for Success

Self-publishing requires you to wear many hats. You often hear authors say they write for the love of it, then they also lament how their books aren’t selling. What many writers fail to realize is that a successful indie author must also be an effective businessperson. Learn how to manage your budget’s bottom line and take your author platform to the next level.

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Is Your Writing a Hobby or a Business?

You may still be working a full-time job while you write. Ask yourself, “Is writing my profession? Have I taken steps to transform my author platform into a business?” Establishing yourself as a company, separate from your private accounts, shows you are committed to your vocation.

6 Guidelines to Start Your Writing Business Right

  • Create a business name – Consult a tax expert on how to set up your writing business as an LLC or Inc., and register your website name.
  • Open a business checking account – This will help you better track your profits and expenses, and make tax time easier.
  • Generate business records – Use accounting software like Quicken, QuickBooks, or Excel to document your money flow.
  • Organize receipts – Set up files for easy access.
  • Start tracking deductions – Keep a journal or log of travel mileage to and from events, business calls, meetings, professional dues, and office supplies.
  • Chart future projections and plans – A profit and loss spreadsheet will track how well each book edition (digital, hard copy, audio) is doing. It helps in planning budgets for future books.

Nail Down a Budget Early

One of the first challenges for an author is to map out an overall budget. Determine a detailed plan on where to spend your money, what you want to accomplish, and how many books you realistically hope to sell. Do your research on publishing costs. Your budget needs to extend past publication and into the promotion of your book. Avoid spending against future book sales that may not materialize.

Focus Your Funds on Your Target Audience

Tracking your expenses during production is straightforward. Once your book is published, promoting it may put a strain on your bottom line. Make sure your marketing budget succeeds, by knowing your target audience. Focus on their buying habits and how to reach them. This will help determine the best place to spend your promotional dollars (Facebook ads, social media, local events).


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Know What Works; Crunch Those Numbers

Look at the sales figures for your book. See if there are areas where you can improve on your next book’s marketing plan. By establishing data-driven systems to track your budget, you know what works and what doesn’t. With the business structure already in place, all you need to do is maintain it for your next book. Your goal is to be a full-time, profitable author with solid name recognition. If spreadsheets and a little organization can get you there, crunching numbers doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Why Dog Ear?

With over 50 years of traditional publishing experience, Dog Ear Publishing understands what it takes to craft a professional-quality book and how to market it to your target readers. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will guide you throughout the publishing process and work with your budget. If you want your book to be a quality reflection of who you are as an author, visit our website at www.dogearpublishing.net today and take control of your publishing destiny.


Ray Robinson
Ray Robinson

When Ray first entered the publishing industry, authors relied on “vanity presses” to produce their work – many of whom would charge $15,000 or more and leave the author’s garage filled with hundreds of books. Ray, along with coworker Alan Harris, joined forces with Miles Nelson to create Dog Ear Publishing to provide the author community a self-publisher with a heart. The group’s application of new technologies and publishing on demand reduced the cost of publishing a book to a fraction of what it had been for previous generations; authors now have the ability to publish a book in as little as six weeks and print as few as a single copy.