Not long ago, I was advised to create a business plan for my writing, so I was excited to find The Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Writers on the new book shelves at the Laramie County Public Library.
This slender paperback is on a needed topic and offers some good tools, but falls short of the mark in some regards. Amy Denim breaks the planning down into manageable chunks. She tailors the concepts of business plans for a writing business, and even renames business plan sections with more writerly names, such as "blurb" for what's typically known as the executive summary. The writing is friendly and down to earth. She lays out the to-dos clearly. Additional resources are offered on the Coffee Break Publishing website.
However, The Coffee Break Guide focuses almost exclusively on book writing, not any of the myriad other choices writers have for making their living with words. Business writing, magazine freelancing and the like get only a cursory one-page mention as a way to pay the bills while churning out novels. The book also seemed vague on financial planning topics.
Amy Denim lists The Secret as one of her recommended titles, and that book's influence is clear in The Coffee Break Guide. Some of the advice seemed to me less plan than wishful thinking, especially since book publishing is a fickle business. In particular, I questioned her concept of creating a 25-year plan in a rapidly changing publishing environment. Those who find the principles in The Secret useful may find this book of more benefit.
I would describe The Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Writers as useful, but incomplete. Writers may want to peruse the front of the Writers' Market for more information on what pay to anticipate. One of the books Denim recommends, The Right Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee, is geared toward creative professions and looks useful. And at least a look-through of some traditional business plan resources wouldn't hurt.
Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Writers: The Step-by-Step Guide to Taking Control of Your Writing Career by Amy Denim
Denver, CO: Coffee Break Publishing, 2013