Monday, February 25, 2013

An Author's Business Plan

Do you have a business plan for your 'authoring'? Neither do I, but I'm thinking about doing one.

The first question is 'why have one', to which the answer is 'it'll help me focus on what I want to achieve with my writing'. The second question is 'what should go in it?' Here's my list.

Part 1 - Basic Details. Who am I, what email address will I use for correspondence, my pen name, genre etc. My identity as an author.

Part 2 - Aims. Will I go the traditional route, self-publish, how much will I write, novels or short stories or both, articles etc.

Part 3 - Marketing. What services will I use to promote my books? Adverts in magazines, bloghops, twitter promotions, book signings, launch party. Everything I can think of.

Part 4 - Market. What I know about my chosen genre and what I need to research. A list of questions and answers. What is the short story market like etc.

Part 5 - Routine. When will I write/edit etc? How much time do I allocate? Should I set a weekly target or a daily one? What problems will I face in reaching those targets?

Part 6 - Partners. Who will I need to help me achieve these goals? Editor, proofreader, critique partners, professional blackmailer to help me get an agent.

Part 7 - Finances. How much will all the services I need to hire cost? How much money will I be able to put into this? What can I expect to earn over the next few years? What can I expect to earn from each article/short story/novel? What will it cost to promote each book?

Part 8 - Appendices. Lists of relevant items such as useful websites, SWOT analysis, personal writing philosophy, nice people to deal with, why Martin Willoughby is such a fantastic person to know.

The best way to view a business plan is as a book you'll never finish editing and never publish. It gets updated as you get new information or insights, and is the one place you can refer to when you need to remind yourself why you do what you do. On top of that, the outline above is just that, an outline. You can adapt it to your own needs, adding or removing sections at will.

As for the SWOT analysis, it's a list of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. What are you good at, what are you bad at, what doors are open to you and what could prevent you from achieving your goals.

A strength could be your editing skills, a weakness could be dialogue, an opportunity would be a new bookshop opening up or knowing the manager of a local store, a threat would be a store closing down.

Speaking of promoting books (neat link eh), Elizabeth Arroyo will be guesting on Wednesday as part of her Second Sign blog tour and I look forward to reading what she has to say...okay I've already read it as I scheduled the post. She's writing about the creation of her book trailer and what she learnt from the process.

Till then, adieu.


Julie Luek said...

Sounds like you're considering a lot of very important angles for publication success. There are some great books to help get this ball going too, fortunately. No writer has to create the wheel from scratch.

Martin Willoughby said...

Julie: Which books?

Fran said...

Great idea. Thanks.

Rena said...

That's way more detailed than I could have thought about.
I'm not very business savvy, but I guess I should at least start looking...

Martin Willoughby said...

Fran: You're very welsome.

Rena: It helps when you've written one before. I just pass on what I know.

Julie Luek said...

L. Diane Wolfe's book, "How to Publish and Promote your book" is one that comes to mind. Also, Chuck Sambuchino has some great books on different aspects of writing/publishing that all help develop the business plan aspects.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My weakness is real life appearances, which is why I focus my efforts online.
And I second Julie's book recommendation! Diane's book has some great tips in it.

Martin Willoughby said...

Julie: Thank you for those.

Alex: Take some acting lessons, that'll help.

peter thomos said...

Thanks for your great information about writing a business plan
in exchange for small business, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.