You are talking to the most unorganized person, quite possibly in the free world. No, I’m not kidding.
I have no patience for time. I never wear a watch, and in school I HATED the idea of planners. Okay, with that said may I suggest I’m the most unlikely person EVER to write this post? It’s true, BUT, if someone like me can find value in this strategy, IMAGINE what it can do for you!!!
Let’s face it; there are too many forces out there in the great big literary world just waiting to take an Indie down. Whether it be, a slump in sales, a scathing review, a poke at your cover, or another RETURN (Seriously, returning books that are priced lower than a coffee? What the fah is up with that? **shakes head**.) Not to mention getting perpetually slammed about the quality of self published material…blah, blah, blah.
Worst than all that, is the self-inflicted tragedy of comparing yourself, your worth, and your sales quotas, to other more successful authors. **sigh**
You, in the back there, don’t act like you haven’t done this, ‘cause we all know you have…
Honestly, people WHY do we do this? Writing is HARD. Succeeding as a self-published author is even HARDER.
The last person we need dragging us down is ourselves. Right?
But, there are those days where you sit and think, why isn’t this working? What have I done wrong?
Perhaps it isn’t what you’ve done wrong, but what you haven’t done, YET.
As writers, we view ourselves as creatively minded, sometimes too creatively minded for our own good. **nods head** As well as writers, we are entrepreneurs, and we need to view ourselves as such. As Indies, we wear the writing hat, sure…but we also wear a plethora of other hats: manager, designer, advisor, investor, marketer, publicist, just to name a few.
Just as every successful entrepreneur succeeds at business, we must strive to succeed, too. Which includes, first and foremost—developing a business plan.
Yes, I did just use that dreaded word.
Business plans are like a businesses roadmap to success. Without one, a writer typically has no idea where they are going. Untethered authors often get lost in their own cause, focusing only on the production of the raw material (ie: their books), without regard for how it will be consumed. As entrepreneurs, we must to take into consideration how and when we are going to pedal our wares, for optimum success. The authors that do this are the ones that have those better numbers. **eh-hem**
Things to consider outside of the writing: optimum release time, production schedules, editing timelines, effective labeling, understanding algorithms, high octane marketing, and other ways to optimize visibility.
It’s enough to make your head spin.
Let’s face it, you can have the greatest written book in the world, but if no one knows about it, you just have the greatest written book in the world. BUT, sitting down and creating a business plan helps rein in some of that creative energy, and put it to use on the darker side of the art—sales. Without sales, we are just writers chasing a dream. ** wags tail**
So, how does one go about creating ‘said plan,’ you say?
It’s as simple as planning a trip. You wouldn’t leave home without first securing a hotel room, right? And you’d know approximately how much time it was going to take you to get there. You’d know what day you’d be arriving, and every stop along the way, including how long it’ll take for you to reach your destiny.
Now, imagine you’re on a journey to success. Where is your first stop? When do expect to get there? Do you have a room booked? Do you know where you are going next? What does the end of this journey look like? What goals do you intend to achieve?
First, I bought myself a BIG-ASSED GIANT CALENDAR,
like this one >>>>
I suggest you do, too.
On it, I set out my plan to success for the year. That’s right, the YEAR.
(Or, at least six months, if a year is too frightening for you.)
I then set about marking up each week, including slots for writing time, marketing time, and what I call, time for strategics. As I’m fairly new to being an Indie, I realize I’ll need time to study the landscape, learn from other Indies, and educate myself on the business side. I broke everyday into at least two (if not three) sections. Mornings for new writing, when I’m the freshest, mid-afternoon for marketing, and after supper I’ll do edits on second pass projects (ie: revisions). Two days week I skipped the after supper editing, to focus on strategizing.
I literally wrote down how many words I expected myself to write each day (1500-3000K words is my usual) and from there was able to project the completion dates of each book I had planned to write that year (3 for me, using roughly 80-90K words as an estimate). In doing this, for the first time ever, I could physically see how long a particular book was going to take for me to write. Things were already becoming clearer, regarding booking dates for editors, copywriters, and proofers, (which had previously eluded me) along with projected loading dates, advertising plans, and launch parties. (I even went so far as to pencil in tentative booking dates for these professionals (with holy shit buffers built in, of course) to be re-written in red pen when they accepted.
Then, I moved on to the marketing side of things, viewing dates for completion against perspective optimum sales opportunities. For example: I had a book I projected loadable by December 24. Could I work a little harder and tighten things up, so I could launch that book mid-December instead, and take advantage of Christmas sales? I had another, (in the re-write stage) I projected I’d be finished with February 10th. I reasoned it might be better to slide the Romance novel I was also revising into that completion slot, versus the YA thriller I had originally planned.
From there I moved onto strategy. How could I best present this product to the world? What things/connections could I lift from the pages to create buzz about to assist sales. What would be the best advertizing push for my limited dollars? Who and what would I use? Algorithms…hmmmm…better read up.
I continued developing my plan, viewing my creativity in a very different way. I was still being creative, just a little more organized about it, and a LOT more sensible about times and ways to launch things. A winter romance should release when people can cozy up with a hot chocolate. The historical romance set in WWII might do well as a Remembrance or Memorial Day release.
I then divided my year up into quarters. At the end of each quarter, I plan to check in with myself and see if I’m on track. If I’m not, I’ll be adjusting my plan accordingly. But the goal is to adhere to the schedule, as much as humanely possible, as if I were the production supervisor of the new products division at Apple.
Side Note: I also projected reasonable goals for sales, (nothing crazy) calculated per book, on so many books sold per day. I set a goal of ‘X’ number of books, doubling that each time a new release came out, adding up to a grand total of ‘X’ number of books sold by the end of the year. If you really want to inspire yourself, include the math. I did, in BRIGHT PURPLE PEN.
I’m motivated now, to stay on track, and try to double my PURPLE PROJECTIONS. You?
R U A PANSER? OR DO U HAVE A #BUSINESSPLAN? by @garlickbooks http://goo.gl/sbBii6 #TheArtistUnleashed #IndieAuthor #selfpublishing
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