When I self-published my first book, I would have answered the question what is a business model with the response of a plan for running a business. Not the best answer.
A much better definition comes from Ostewalder and Pigneur's book Business Model Generation. Their definition is a business model describes the rational of how an organization creates, delivers and captures value.
That's a much better definition than what I came up with. Substitute the word "author" for the word "organization" and you have a good working definition for an author who has made the decision to self-publish.
Two questions Ostewalder and Pigneur advocate being asked early in the process of generating a business plan are:
- For whom are we (I) creating value?
- Who are our (my) most important customers?(Italic words are mine)
Great questions for an author to ask. It does not matter if you write fiction or non-fiction. Who is your audience? For whom are you writing? What value can you provide via your writing?
Who are my most important customers? My potential readers is the obvious first answer. Perhaps a better answer after some thought are readers who buy all of my books!
Time and time again during all my reading about the publishing and self-publishing industries the advice of do your market research first as been promulgated. Why write a book and bring it to market if there is no market who wishes or needs to read your book?
Asking the two questions put forth by Ostewalder and Pigneur are key foundational questions for an author. By determining the answer to these questions, key parameters and boundaries will be set for the author's writing. Or, as the case may be, boundaries and limits may be lifted for a writer.
Osterwald, Alexander and Pigneur, Yves. (2010). Business Model Generation. Wiley and Sons, Inc, Hoboken, New Jersey, pages 14-23.