The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

When I first asked my tax preparer in 2009 what things were considered tax-deductible for a writer, she suggested keeping a list of everything I bought related to my writing business. I didn’t realize until this year how helpful that could be in creating a budget for my writing.

All I had to do was look over my list of expenses for the previous year, break it down into four different categories (office supplies, set-up expenses, book creation expenses, and marketing expenses), figure out what other expenses I was going to incur, add up the cost, and I had an idea of how much I would need to run my business.

Now if you are like me, you can’t afford to be spending thousands of dollars a year, and you might be limited by just how much you can spend. My limit was about $500 this year. It’s doable but not suggestible. I only managed because of editorial services I provided at the beginning of the year. (Not offering any longer due to lack of focus with kids yelling in the background. I might pick it up again once the kids go to school, who knows.)

 But back to creating a budget for your business plan. Start with stating how much you have to spend, and then look at your list and figure out what cannot be ignored. Belatedly I realize I could have done without the ISBN’s that I bought this year (I should have waited a year or two) and focused on other aspects of my set-up expenses. There are others that would disagree. It all depends on your business goals. Below is a break-down of all the categories I use.

 Office supplies include:

•Paper: notebooks, loose leaf paper, printer paper, notepads, journals index cards, sticky notes, etc

•White boards, cork boards

•toner, pens, pencils, markers, dry erase markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

•mail: envelopes, stamps, boxes, etc

•book keeping system, computer programs

•Internet, phone

 Setup expenses include:

•Business license (check your local regulations for business setup)

•copyright and registration

•trade name registration and trade marking your business name

•Doing Business As bank account

•Setting up a LLC or Corporation

•seller’s permit

•ISBNs, EAN Bookland Code, SAN

 Book creation expenses include:


•cover art

•setup fees with printer

•typesetting or interior layout

•ebook formatting

•DIY book creation

 Marketing expenses include:

•domain name and hosting

•copies of books your books you buy


I love comments, so if you have anything to add, please comment below. If you have any questions, please ask.

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

7 thoughts on “The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

  1. Ruth Ann Nordin December 14, 2010 / 4:21 am

    When would you advise going through a business set up? Is there a main website where people can find out what their local area requires? What about a site for registering a trade name? Do you have to register a business in order to register a trade name?

    Sorry if these are dumb questions. This sounds very intimidating to me, but it’s probably easier than it sounds. Up to now, I just called my business Ruth Ann Nordin’s Books to avoid the hassle.

    • Stephannie Beman December 16, 2010 / 2:36 am

      They are not dumb questions. I would go through the set up of a business as soon as possible. There are something that cost nothing and others that cost more. I’d wait for the most costly things for when you can afford them.

      I looked up business requirements for my state and was told that I would have to spend about $500 and need all this stuff. It didn’t make sense, so I called the business representative for Wyoming and learned I didn’t need most of it. Just the trade name registration and seller’s permit. I don’t need the business premit because where I live isn’t incorporated. I also know that every city and state is different. It will also depend on what kind of company you create.

  2. Kim Abernethy February 11, 2011 / 9:50 pm

    Great info! Getting ready to self-publish my first book.
    Have the name for my business and will purchase LLC.

    Wondering what a seller’s permit is? Is that something I get from the county or state?


    • Stephannie Beman February 15, 2011 / 1:47 am

      Definition from is “A seller’s permit is a state level document that allows the permit holder to legally engage in the sale of taxable goods or services. The seller is then responsible for collecting the appropriate amount of sales tax on behalf of their state.”

      For the best results on seller’s permits search (your state) seller permits. Every state has different rules.

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