Creative Business Planning for Authors

Orna Ross: “So many indie authors are working hard but, from a profit perspective, standing still…”

Author-Publishing for Profit

As a director of ALLi, I see every day how so many indie authors are working hard but, from a profit perspective, standing still, or barely inching forward.

Their books are not selling. They don’t pay themselves a salary, or even enough money to cover their tax bill, when the time comes round.  They are unclear about the time, investment, skills or resources they need to succeed. Some are stressed, confused, overwhelmed.

Others are depressed, even despairing.

If you've read my book, Creative Self-Publishing, you'll know that I'm on a mission to see authors profit, creatively and commercially, from their publishing.

To that end, I've devised this Planning Program for Authors and Poets with a focus on creating a profitable publishing business.

But it's not a conventional business training. This is a holistic program, based on a decade of working on my own books, and with other self-publishers. It empowers authors and poets to become profitable, yes, but the method is creative and works for each different author in their own way.

It integrates creative work, rest and play, with the need to produce, process and promote. It treats self-publishing authors as the makers, managers and marketeers that they are. It draws distinctions between lean publishers, craft publishers and engagement publishers and puts an emphasis on the reader journey and author platform.

Each month, we take a deep dive into a particular topic in a workshop that allows each participant to address head and heart,  creative and commercial, money and meaning, in their own individual way, so they can devise a realistic plan that works for them.

This small-group program is run through Patreon and Facebook.

Places are limited in this premium-level program which offers personal attention for a tiny fraction of mentoring or consulting costs.

To join, sign up on my Patreon page — you can unsubscribe after a single workshop or any time you want or you can take an annual membership for a discount, if that suits you better.

Creative Publishing for Profit

A creative business is not just business as usual. Your writing and publishing is driven by your passion for writing and your sense of mission and purpose as a writer, as much as by your need to earn.

As an indie author, you need more than a to-do list to manage the complexity of your work, especially at the beginning. You are not just a writer, you're also a publisher, which means you must wear three hats:

  • maker: producing books and other products
  • manager: optimising your processes and profits, looking after your tech and your team
  • marketeer: maximising your marketing and sales promotions

You need a planning method that accounts for these three aspects of your job. And one that accounts for your creative, as well as your commercial, goals and demands.

Also, for a creative, rest and play are not breaks from the process. They are the process. Your business plan must factor time for both, alongside your creative work.

You need time and space to switch off and relax, to explore and experiment and express, to mess about.

Finally, a creative planning system must be flexible enough to allow for flashes of intuition, unexpected insights, and inspired deviations.

I outline the basics of the creative business planning method for authors in my book, Creative Self-Publishing. I am currently completing an upgrade of these books to align with the new edition of the book. You can purchase the book, planners and workbooks in our shop in late July 2022.

Planning for Profit Patrons

To join, sign up on my Patreon page — you can unsubscribe after a single workshop or any time you want or you can take an annual membership for a discount, if that suits you better.

As a Creative Business Planning Member, you'll receive a variety of resources that will enable you to plan a creative author-business that is uniquely yours.

  • Monthly Planning Workshop: Last Friday of each month at 5pm UK time. This is not a large webinar of thousands but a small-group, private workshop on Zoom, where you can ask questions and receive direct advice.
    • Go Creative! in Business Worksheets: Downloadable printable PDFs of the worksheets used in each workshop.
    • Monthly downloadable Planners – Downloadable printable PDF planners for the coming quarter, month, week and day
    • Accountability group: A private Facebook group for weekly intention mapping and accomplishment logging.
    • Personal attention including feedback on your current project.
    • All questions answered. Nobody left behind policy!
    • Replay videos so you can refer back any time
  • Named as a patron on my website (optional).

(Direct purchase page is here)

Planning For Authors: Testimonials

Joanna Penn, bestselling author, award-winning entrepreneur, and host of The Creative Penn podcast

Orna’s events have been life-changing for me. With wisdom, kindness (and the occasional kick in the pants!) she is able to cut through the noise and focus on what’s really important for creatives. Her f-r-e-e-writing exercises have helped me with my books and my business. I highly recommend her.

Mark McGuinness, award-winning poet, creative coach, and host of The 21st Century Creative podcast

Amid all the hype about the latest tools and technologies, we don’t hear so much about wisdom, compassion, and hard-won experience. Orna Ross has all of these in spades, and is generous in passing on her knowledge. I value my conversations with Orna and always come away with a valuable new perspective on things. I’m sure you will too.

Suzanne Power

Orna Ross is a genius. She combines incisive knowledge of publishing, huge appreciation for words, great humanity for the writers producing them, and invaluable materials – all to get to the heart of your writing life, and provide the scaffolding of your writing business. She has worked with me as both mentor and as a facilitator and I think the world of what she does and how she does it. No ego, true presence and a brilliant talent.

Her ethics and her examples are ones to trust and to follow. I will continue to do so and consider myself lucky to have the chance to.

Dave Cohen

I spent nearly four decades working in comedy thinking my precious art should not be sullied by anything as vulgar as marketing. In the last couple of years Orna has taught me that if you can think creatively about it, keeping control of and marketing your work is as important to a writer's career as the work itself.

Karen Dodd, Suspense Author

As the author of two books and one on the way, I feel fortunate to have found Orna and her coaching at just the right time in my author career. She has a way of winnowing in on exactly what the intimate, small group needs as we went through our various challenges together. Orna presents information clearly and through her willingness to answer all questions, she fosters a trusting and compassionate relationship between mentor and participants.

Our group is made up of authors at all stages of the process—some were even traditionally published. After each session, we leave with our handouts and a written plan that we can implement immediately. I can’t recommend Orna’s Go Creative sessions highly enough.


Orna has exhaustive experience being an authorpreneur both from her own personal journey navigating the publishing space as an author and working with/mentoring other authors who are walking the same path. I find these workshops to be a distilled essence of this highly specialized knowledge that she has gathered through time.

As a result, this is highly effective and beneficial for an author in terms of the multiple hats that we wear as an authorpreneur. Orna defines them as – maker, manager and marketer. The pay yourself first approach that I got to learn from the workshop is how I'm going to be structuring my business as I believe it's going to set me up for success. Also appreciate the flexibility of attending only the workshops on topics that I most want to learn about and the Q&A time at the end of the session.

Beth Ball, Epic Fantasy Author

I learn so much in each of the sessions, and I really appreciate all of the work you do to help us with both strategies and mindset on the indie author journey.

Beth Ball is an epic fantasy author spinning stories of druidic magic and the power of nature that span the realms of Azuria and Eldura.

Belinda Strotheide, Writer and Business Trainer

I just wanted to take a few minutes to say how much I appreciate your creative planning training. My college degree is in business, I’ve spent years listening to entrepreneurial training, I’ve helped businesses, nonprofits and communities think through the process and formulate their plans and goals. You have helped me see the process in a new way. A way that lets me view it creatively, with the business aspects as a framework rather than the focus of the activities. Thank you! Also, thank you for your sensitivity and respect toward the individuals in the meetings. I also like how you push us to go for the deeper truth of who we are creatively and address the real reasons we may get stuck. A really BIG THANK YOU. What you’re doing is so very helpful.