I began writing my master business plan for publishing my novel series on March 9th, 2011. This was about 1½ years before I had a signed publishing contract under my belt. Since then, there have been many revisions to this plan. I decided to write down a business plan when I took the plunge to learn all I could about starting a blog to help me develop an author platform. After a few months of intense research, my blog launched May 4th, 2011. Publishing my first post was the beginning of putting my plan into action, and it was truly a lift off for me and my writing career.
My business plan and strategy spans five pages. I’ve broken down the plan into headings, and what I’d like to see happen. I’ve set short term goals (next 1-5 years) and long term goals (10 plus years). I also have an objective, which helps me keep my feet on the ground and fingers on the keyboard. I review my plan quarterly, and revise it once a year. This helps me keep on track and weed out the things I’m doing that aren’t working for me.
So how do you even go about preparing a business plan for your writing career? Every writer is different of course, and I can only give you the benefit of my experience writing MG/YA novel series. But we all have to start somewhere.
First: Begin with your objective. Why are you writing in the first place, and what do you hope to accomplish. I want to give readers an experience they’ll never forget, and organize my life around what makes me happy. Figure out your objective, and get it down!
Second: List your short term goals. What do you hope to accomplish in 1, 3, 5 years? Don’t go overboard you can only handle so much. Once you figure out what these goals are break them down into headings like ‘Online Presence’, ‘Website’, ‘Novels’, ‘Work in Progress’, ‘Time Management and Commitments’, ‘Sales Plan’, ‘Promotion and Marketing Strategy’, and ‘Financial Goals’.
Third: Now for the fun part! Under your headings list the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. For example, under my ‘Online Presence’ heading I’ve listed in point form all the tasks I need to do to keep my author name out there in cyberspace. Here are some examples:
- I’ve joined HootSuite to help schedule my shares and tweets.
- Guest Blog on other author blogs within the same genre, and make sure to share this info on my social media groups.
- Continue to do interviews with other authors, especially when there’s a new release.
- Approach book blog reviewers, especially a month before a new release. Offer a free copy for honest review.
- Offer my blog as a platform for other YA authors—either interviews or guest posts.
Fourth: Depending on the amount of headings and steps you have, make sure you don’t pile on too much as to make this plan unmanageable. Get real with what you can handle, delegate what you can’t. I had to hire a web designer. No shame in that.
Fifth: Now onto the long term goals. Remember to dream big too! Would you like your books translated into movies? How many books do you plan on writing? What about a book series? Or graphic novels? How many books are you planning on writing in your series? Create a master plan for each series too. It will be easier on you in the long run. Intellectual property like video games or apps is also important to think about and write down. After all, you never know what the future holds if you don’t help it along.
Sixth: Finally, SIGN the bottom of your master business plan. This makes it real. Commit to it. Revise it when things aren’t working out, or your situation has changed. Be flexible, and ask for help if necessary. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your writing career.
Here’s a formula that will keep things in perspective and keep you on track of your writing goals: TIME + BACKLIST (4 or more books) = SUSTAINABLE AUTHOR CAREER.
Thank you for reading my blog. Have you created a master business plan for your writing or anything else you’d love to pursue? If so, please comment and share your experiences. Love to hear from you! Cheers!