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Posts tagged with: business plan

Patience is a Virtue…isn’t it?

Hello, friends, and welcome to a glimpse inside my head. Are you scared yet?

You know how everyone had a word of the year? Okay, maybe not everyone, but lots of people start off the new year with a guiding word, something that will encapsulate all they desire to achieve. It may be PEACE or JOY or CONTENTMENT. Whatever a person chooses, it’s the ideal he or she is striving for. I love the idea of a guiding word or phrase.

Usually, as I consider the new, fresh year before me, a word or phrase comes to me. But this year….nada. I thought. I prayed. I looked for signs around me. But nothing other than repeated suggestions for shows to watch on Netflix seemed to crop up over and over. I mean, I don’t think Birdbox can be my word for the year. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited. Still, nothing appeared. So as I approached mid-January, a time where I meet with my goal setting group, I declared I would have to come up with something. So I just scribbled down something about looking for signs and being willing to follow them because it sounded better than “I got nothing for 2019.” My goal-setting group of writing friends nodded as if that would work. Hey, it’s my guiding motto, my mission statement, my bag, baby. Who were they to stomp on it and tell me it wasn’t going to happen? Yet, inside I knew that what I had declared as my mission statement for 2019 wasn’t really my mission statement. It was like copying the encyclopedia for your homework assignment because some words (even plagiarized) are better than not handing anything in.

So as I faced a busy writing year – I have a full-length contracted novel and two novellas to complete, along with revisions on last years manuscripts – I started humming a song. “Every day I’m hustling” and then I would do that “do, do, do, do, do, dododo, do to do ta do” things afterwards and dance a bit in my seat. Hustling. That’s a good word.

But it’s opposite what I got when I was tried so hard to find my word- silence.

I don’t know about many of you, but patience is not my strong suit. I want it now. Success, strong book sales, my cover, more readers, more, more, more and I want it yesterday. I’m a bit like the ocean – I just keep coming, wearing everyone down. It’s not a great quality, other than I’m perseverant. So when I received no sign, no word to guide me, I thought maybe the universe was telling me that patience is important for me to learn.

Hustle.

Patience.

Are they really antonyms? Actually, I think they can co-exist together as my words. Like the Odd Couple. There are places in my life where I must learn to wait. To let the manuscript marinate. To remember I’m not my agent’s only writer. To allow my platform to build the right way. To hold onto news, thoughts, ideas. And there are times I need to hustle. To not rest on my laurels. To seize opportunity. To do the things I say I will do. To wake up early. Skip the next episode of Outlander. To hustle.

So I have two words guiding me this year – Hustle and Patience. Weird, I know. So do you have a guiding word or phrase for 2019? Since it’s February, how are you doing on letting it guide you?

Business Plans for Writers

(The bulk of this post was first published on the Not Your Usual Suspects blog on August 1, 2016.)

Most writers long to spend their time writing, not thinking about the business side of, well, the business. But in this day and age, spending all of our time dreaming up worlds and characters isn’t an option. There are a plethora of other things to wrangle, manage, and deal with, from marketing to social media to creating an indie book to finding agents or editors to shop in a traditional market. And everything in between.

At the RWbusinessplanA conference last month, the first workshop I attended was one I had hoped would get my head back in the business of writing. It was entitled “Plan for Success: Create a Motivational Business Plan for Your Writing Career” and was presented by author Stephanie Bond. Sitting in that workshop brought back memories of a chapter workshop I attended a couple years ago with a similar topic: “Dream, Dare, Do!” presented by Ruby sister Shelley Coriell

And it reminded me that I never sat down to finish that business plan that was begun that day.

And I certainly hadn’t updated my scrawled notes in the intervening years. In fact, a quick search on our Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog shows another Ruby, Laurie DeSalvo, posted on the same topic way back in 2009. But here I am in 2016, finally getting around to writing down my plans.

Since I’ve been looking for focus lately, I made creating a business plan my priority when I returned home from conference a couple weeks ago. I started by exploring more about business plans online, and integrated a lot of that fabulous information here.

First, Jami Gold says, “no one will ever care about our success as much as we do.” And therefore, we must have a business mindset. If we have clear goals and a personal definition of success, we can make better business decisions. Amy Atwell says it’s important to think of writing as a “career,” which is why a business plan is helpful. On her “Author E.M.S.” website, she refers to other sources, where one can use worksheets to come up with her business plan. She also reminds us the plan isn’t set in stone, and should be revised or updated regularly.

Second, before creating your document, Angela Ackerman recommends brainstorming what you want to accomplish, identifying themes, and then grouping together areas of focus. Then, try to step back and see the big picture, assigning importance to what you need to accomplish.

When you’ve done some big picture and small picture thinking, put them together into one handy document that summarizes your career plans and goals for the coming year:

 

Royalty-free clipart picture of a 3d red and white business plan word collage, on a shaded background.

 

THE BASICS of a BUSINESS PLAN

OBJECTIVES (a.k.a., Dreams!)

What do you want out of this business? Do you simply want to see your name on a book? Do you want to hit a bestseller list? Win a RITA award? Do you want to make enough money to quit your day job or put your kids through college?

This is where you put anything you want out of your writing career. Dream big!

MISSION

A mission statement is often brief, and for writers it can be as lofty as “to encourage people to grow through my writing,” or as generic as “to entertain.”

PRODUCTS (or Product Plan) & BRAND

Here’s where you think about what you are creating, which of course, includes your books. Also think about what makes them different/unique, and what formats they’ll be available in, and whether you plan to publish via traditional publishers, indie, or both. Don’t forget about audio, film, and even nonfiction items such as series-related coloring books.

Kimberley Grabas also suggests delineating your “ideal reader” as you create your business plan, as well as your “brand personality and culture.” This includes the vibe you want to give off when people land on your website or other social media pages, or when you speak at events. How do you want to be perceived by the public/readers?

Think about what makes you different, and what makes you the same. Everything from business cards to website design to the font and your name placement on your covers should reflect what/how you write.

GOALS (a.k.a., the things I can control!)

This is where we get down to the nitty gritty.

Keeping your dreams and objectives in mind, what can you actively and reasonably DO to make those dreams come true in the short term? This can include such things as attending a signing or conference, submitting to agents, finding a critique partner, researching your next series, etc.

For instance, one of my dreams is to win a RITA. I obviously need to enter the contest to even have a chance of making that goal happen, so entering the contest is listed under my goals and has been added to my calendar. Similarly, to hit a bestseller list, I’ll need to write books and increase my audience, which led to my current annual goals of building my newsletter list and increasing advertising and amount of time spent on social media.

MARKET ANALYSIS (or Competitive Analysis) & SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

What do you need to do/change to achieve your dreams? Do you have the necessary equipment, time, and energy? What is the state of the market in your genre/subgenre? How crowded is it?

This includes looking at your “competitors’” or fellow authors’ bodies of work and how they’re advertising them. What are their price points? What things are they doing well, in your opinion? Is it something that should be added to your goal list?

For me, one of the items in this category is to read several top-selling romantic suspense novellas, as I have not written one before but hope to this year. I want to study how the character arcs and plots differ from full-length books, so that I know what novella readers expect.

STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION SUMMARY (or Development Plan)

This includes setting up your calendar. Will the amount of writing you do this year be increasing/decreasing from the previous year? What publishers or agents do you want to target and how are you most likely to get your work in front of them? Do you need to register for some conferences or enter contests?

The first item on this list, for me, was writing a business plan. The second item was transferring my task list to my planner/calendar.

FINANCIAL PLAN

How do you plan to support yourself while you implement these other plans? When would it be a good time to incorporate? To meet with an estate planner or tax consultant?

For me, I plan to create a “Body of Work” document that contains all of my books and information my husband would need to access them, should something happen to me. I also have a note to consider drawing on savings to create audio versions of my new series, but have yet to make a decision on whether that’s a wise investment. But it’s something I can revisit next July, when I update my business plan.

Have you written a business plan? Do you update it regularly? What things do you make sure to include on your plan?

 

 

AnneMarieBeckerAnne Marie has always been fascinated by people—inside and out—which led to degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Counseling.  Her passion for understanding the human race is now satisfied by her roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister, and award-winning author of romantic suspense.  

She writes to reclaim her sanity.

Find ways to connect with Anne Marie at www.AnneMarieBecker.com. There, sign up for her newsletter to receive the latest information regarding books, appearances, and giveaways.

 

The Latest Comments

  • Janet Dean: I’ve missed you and the conference. Especially our dress up photos!! You rock the look! Hugs, Janet
  • Anna Collins: Hi Lisa, Yes, that is for sure true about me! It’s definitely a dream of mine to see my books at...
  • Lisa Heartman: Anna, I cannot wait to read this book! It sounds so fresh, and I’m sure there are some real hard...
  • Anna Collins: Right?!? Outlining definitely has its moments, but I need some freedom for creativity to flow! I wish...
  • Anna Collins: Right?!? Outlining definitely has its moments, but I need some freedom for creativity to flow! I wish...

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