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How to Write a Business Plan as Narrative

Posted by Brian Jud on August 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Writing your business plan as a manuscript can be a fun way to do the necessary work (what some people refer to as drudgery) of planning. It can also help you identify and deal with hidden assumptions and the people (characters) that impact your business. Your subplots help you recognize the value of previously unsought opportunities, perhaps in non-bookstore markets. And your narrative can point of the interdependencies of market segments rather than dealing with them as isolated groups. Here are the Top Ten Tips for Writing a Plan As a Novel.

1. Start by describing the broad setting in which your publishing company operates.

2. Identify the characters in each sector (authors, distributors, retailers, buyers). What roles do they play? Motivations? Needs? Benefits? How do corporate buyers perceive your titles? How about consumers? Retailers?

3. Clarify the links among characters and the rules that govern interactions.

4. Articulate the logic by which your company currently adds and captures value. In other words, what can your company do that others cannot?

5. Rethink each function, character, segment, plot and relationship among them.

6. Imagine how you can change the roles and relationships (sub plots) among them.

7. Evaluate whether you can change the rules of engagement among your characters (sell books as premiums, ad specialties, gifts, prizes, self-liquidators)

8. How can you change the way you monetize what you offer (different forms, users, uses of content, segments).

9. Think about how you can create new opportunities outside the traditional bookstore market. What do non-bookstore retailers, corporations, schools or associations value. How can you capture that value with your books?

10. Write your manuscript. Think of it as a work in progress that you update and re-write regularly.


You can learn more about this concept at the APSS book-selling university in Philadelphia, Oct 24-25


Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS –– formerly SPAN). He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344(860) 675-1344; or


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