The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

A few years back I had a short bout of Writer’s Procrastination. This is different from Writer’s Block because I wasn’t blocked. I had a ton to write and no umph to write it. I was lucky enough to find a book by Jenna Glatzer titled Outwitting Writer’s Block and Other Problems of Pen http://www.amazon.com/Outwitting-Writers-Block-Other-Problems/dp/B001QCX9FY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292558177&sr=8-1, it’s a book I highly recommend. There’s a section about goal setting in the book that I love. She suggests more than just yearly and monthly goals, she talks about weekly objectives to keep you motivated and focused.

Business and organizational professionals are forever extolling the need for writing down goals or tasks that you can accomplish on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. Writing down these goals allows you to create a plan of action, keep you focused, see the results, and provide a strategy for achieving your writing goals. We are all familiar with New Year Resolutions or goals. Ever wonder why you rarely meet those goals at year’s end? It’s because we usually fail to create specific, measurable achievable, realistic and targeted goals, SMART goals for short.

1. Define your goal(s).

Write down things that you can realistically achieve in a given time frame. For goals to work; they need to have targets. An example of a SMART goal is: “I will write 1,000 words a week on my 50k word romance novel, Soulmate, and have it completed by 1 April 2011.”

2. Determine what tasks are necessary to achieve your goal(s).

Going back to my last post about creating a Book Production Schedule, take that of list of thing you know you have to accomplish for each book. This would be things like outlining the book, writing the book, revising, editing, and proofreading the book, sending it out for feedback from beta readers and editors, getting cover art, doing the layout and book design, interviews, permissions to use copyrighted material, marketing, pictures, promoting and marketing, research, etc.

3. Organize the tasks and develop a strategic plan.

Start with your bigger goals and break them down into manageable chunks of three-year, one-year, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. The smaller your tasks the easier it is for you to accomplish.

4. Set yourself up for success by creating a practical plan.

If you have a full-time job, two small children, and a dog to care for, it may be difficult to fit in three hours of writing each day. Make sure your plan suits your lifestyle. If you write one hour a day (after the kids go to bed), five times a week, or five hours one day a week (on Sunday when the kids are at grandma’s house) that’s five pages of writing each week; within a year you will have completed a 250-page book.

So this brings us to the end. I wish you all good luck on your Writing business plans. If you have anything to add, comment below.

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan

Some of you know that I live on a Ranch and occasionally I throw out a ranch analogy. This is going to be one of those rare occasions.I was out with my husband and kids feeding the cows on a cold and foggy morning. I now understand the mean of “thick as pea soup.” Heavy, wet, cold, and blinding. Now usually when we feed in the winter time the cows come running and occasionally fight over small piles of good hay. And from the start, we watched these three “old buggers” fight. Around and around they went, neither gaining nor losing ground, and all around them the other cows munched away on the hay. They were making quick work of those piles, while those three fought.

Cows fighting during a foggy, winter morning

I’m standing in the back of the truck, just shaking my head and wondering what they could be thinking. What benefit is it for them to fight? And it suddenly hits me. These cows remind me of marketers. You know the kind. The ones who fight and wave their product in the faces of everyone they meet. Those who throw a party every time someone gives them a good review and splatters it across the webverse as if anyone is paying attention—this does not count if this is your first review for a new book, we all understand and indulge your excitement. But there are those who state their stats and ratings every week. Those who flood our inboxes and make us cringe every time we see their names, until we eventually shy away from them as if they have the plague. There are those that give the rest of us bad name. Marketing is a fine line between sharing what you have and stalking to the people who don’t care.

The more I read about business the less I want to be involved. I’m not a pushy or competitive person, and publishing can be a competitive, cutthroat business. A writer is told not to cross-promote unless it benefits them, but I don’t agree. Creating a group of writers to help each other sale books does more good than bad. The thing about Marketing is in order for it to be successful, you need to test a few different things and see what works and what doesn’t. I’m not going into a detailed list of marketing ideas. But here are a few to get you started:

•Build your Author Platform. This is your readers and fan base, your author identity, and your message –what you are about, your tone and style of writing, what you write, etc.

•Try Social Networking at places like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Goodreads, etc. Post reviews of book sites but keep your interaction low. Readers are used to the marketers I mentioned above hounding them. On places like Twitter and Facebook, interact and make friends. Don’t be all about your book. Show that you are a human being.

•Blogging. Either blog for others, or blog for yourself, but only blog if you like it, otherwise you’ll hate it and people will feel it in your writing. You can always join up with other writers in a joint blog and pick a day to post. It’s been suggested by professionals that you choose three subjects upon which to blog that deal with your writing (i.e. genre, writing tips, self-publishing, marketing, etc). One suggestion was to use a blog as an announcement board, but I wouldn’t suggest it. You’d do better with a newsletter.

•Newsletters should not flood the inboxes of your readers or they will groan every time they see them. Newsletters should be sent out to your mailing list when you have a giveaway, contest, coupon, sale, or new release. It should have an opt out option too.

•Forums are not a place to promote, unless the thread specifically asks for the information you can provide. If someone asks a question about your book, answer briefly. Have the one-sentence explanation of what the book is about and link to find out more.

I know there are more ideas, but this post would go on forever than. I just want to say that this is the place in your Writer’s Business Plan to explore new marketing ideas and when you plan to execute those plans. What marketing technique do you want to try? How do you want to gauge it’s helpfulness to you? Do you want to have a giveaway? A contest? A sale? Post a short story on your website? Go wild with ideas and then pick a few to try.

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

I never thought of myself as a very goal oriented person, but over the last couple of years I’ve fallen into it as I’ve planned out my writing year. This helps me to be a more productive writer and blogging keeps me on track. This planning also helped me when it came time to plan my production schedule in my Business Writer Plan.

Building a Production Plan is not so hard if you know roughly how long it takes you to do each task and add extra time for unexpected events in life and holidays. Because inevitably something always pops up to throw it all into chaos.

1. List your tasks

Start with writing out a list of thing you know you have to accomplish for each book. This would be things like outlining the book, writing the book, revising, editing, and proofreading the book, sending it out for feedback from beta readers and editors, getting cover art, doing the layout and book design, interviews, permissions to use copyrighted material, marketing, pictures, etc.

2. How long does it take to accomplish each task?

If you know how long it takes to do each item on that list you’ll know when to set deadlines for yourself. I know it takes me anywhere from 1 to 3 months to write a book. After that, I like to let it sit for about two weeks before I revise it, which takes up to a month. During that two weeks I usually outline the next book in a series or just take a break if I’m burning out. After the revisions, I let it sit for about three months while I edit the previous book or write the next one.

3. Fill in your Schedule

I usually use a calendar of the next year, or a large piece of paper folded into half and then sixths with each month written into the box, and some sticky notes for this next part. I start with filling in appointments I know about, holidays, family events, vacation, business events, and other commitments. Then I write on the sticky notes each task and my time limit for it, factoring in extra time for the unexpected. I’ll stick them on my calendar so I can “see” the path my book production will flow from month to month.

I hope this helped. If you have any questions, please comment below. If you have any suggestions, please speak up so we all may learn. And as always if you find this helpful, please share.

 

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

When I first asked my tax preparer in 2009 what things were considered tax-deductible for a writer, she suggested keeping a list of everything I bought related to my writing business. I didn’t realize until this year how helpful that could be in creating a budget for my writing.

All I had to do was look over my list of expenses for the previous year, break it down into four different categories (office supplies, set-up expenses, book creation expenses, and marketing expenses), figure out what other expenses I was going to incur, add up the cost, and I had an idea of how much I would need to run my business.

Now if you are like me, you can’t afford to be spending thousands of dollars a year, and you might be limited by just how much you can spend. My limit was about $500 this year. It’s doable but not suggestible. I only managed because of editorial services I provided at the beginning of the year. (Not offering any longer due to lack of focus with kids yelling in the background. I might pick it up again once the kids go to school, who knows.)

 But back to creating a budget for your business plan. Start with stating how much you have to spend, and then look at your list and figure out what cannot be ignored. Belatedly I realize I could have done without the ISBN’s that I bought this year (I should have waited a year or two) and focused on other aspects of my set-up expenses. There are others that would disagree. It all depends on your business goals. Below is a break-down of all the categories I use.

 Office supplies include:

•Paper: notebooks, loose leaf paper, printer paper, notepads, journals index cards, sticky notes, etc

•White boards, cork boards

•toner, pens, pencils, markers, dry erase markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.

•mail: envelopes, stamps, boxes, etc

•book keeping system, computer programs

•Internet, phone

 Setup expenses include:

•Business license (check your local regulations for business setup)

•copyright and registration

•trade name registration and trade marking your business name

•Doing Business As bank account

•Setting up a LLC or Corporation

•seller’s permit

•ISBNs, EAN Bookland Code, SAN

 Book creation expenses include:

•editing

•cover art

•setup fees with printer

•typesetting or interior layout

•ebook formatting

•DIY book creation

 Marketing expenses include:

•domain name and hosting

•copies of books your books you buy

•ads

I love comments, so if you have anything to add, please comment below. If you have any questions, please ask.

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

When I first decided to self-publish in 2009, I started to research my new path. I probably researched it to death. But it did give me unique view of indie authorship. It also left me with a lot of questions.

There are literally thousands of websites on writing and publishing, but there is a lack of practical knowledge to the business side of writing. What little I was able to gather were from websites and books for freelance writers and editors. They stress that writing is a business and a business needs a plan. Now I’ve created business plans before and they are usually detailed and drawn-out documents, which you don’t need. But there are parts of a business plan that I think every writer needs.

•Title Page

I don’t about you and what your desk looks like, but mine turns into a mass of papers and notebooks—Looks almost like a tornado tore through that part of my house and contained it all to my desk. That’s why I’m going to suggest a Title Page to identify what the document is and maybe a three-ring binder or folder to put you writing business plans in.

This page should have a title, something simple like My Writing Business Plan for 2011. There can be a subtitle, like Career Goals for my Publishing/ Novel/ Freelance/ Editorial/ Screenplay/ Short Story Writing. And your name or business name.  

•Table of Contents

This is for a quick reference if your plan gets a little long or you use big font. I have a tendency to do both and I’m to impatient to want to look through the numerous pages for what I want.

•Description or Summary of Business

This is your Business Bio and not something you really need but I like for two reasons. This is where I write down what my business is—I write romance and erotic romance with mythological twists—and my overall goals—I want to make enough money to write full-time. This is also where you can remind yourself why you started this journey when you get down—You see, since I was a little peanut I always want to write….

This is also where I put my author bio(s). I have three so it’s nice to be able to see them at a glance.  

•Financial Plan

Every business should have a budget and if you are working like me on a shoestring and a prayer to the writing gods and muses for their aid, you don’t have a lot of money to spare. For the most part you can figure out what you can expect to spend. I’ll talk more about this in The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget. Is anyone interested in a post about Financial Statements?

•Production Schedule and Writing Goals

I’m going to break this one into two different posts. Because this has to do with setting writing goals as well as production goals. Those posts will be:  The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule and The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals.

•Marketing and Promoting Plan

This is your marketing and promotional plans for the year. Your goals for the year and your purposed deadlines for writing, revising, editing, proofreading, and publishing your work, as well as promoting and marketing that work. Since I also talk about goals here, The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals applies here too. But this has more to do with The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan.

Now that you have an idea of what I’ll be posting about, let the fun begin. Hey! I see that. Stop rolling your eyes at me.

I love hearing from readers and hope you comment or share this post with others who might find it helpful. If you have any questions or comments feel free to share them.

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

I’m a planner. I like to have a plan. What do I want to accomplish? What books should be coming out this year and when? What tasks do I still have to do? But I’m also a pantser. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a writer who writes by the seat of their pants or plans by the seat of their pants.

I know it sounds like a really strange combination and a contradiction of terms, but it’s not really. I need just enough of a schedule to keep me focused and moving forward. But too much structure and I’ll throw it all away in frustration.

This year I accomplished only about half of my business goals this year. About a fourth of those were impractical, which I didn’t see when I wrote them. Another fourth of them changed with the change of my writing. I learned a lot and have a better idea of what I can do in a year.

I’m sure that there are those of you shaking your heads and wondering why you should even bother creating a Writing Business Plan. Well here’s the simple answer. Writing is a business. Publishing is a business. And whenever you start a new business venture you should create a business and marketing plan.

Think of this as a road map. If you go on a journey you usually bring a road map along so you can see where you are going and how to get back if you make a wrong turn. Unless you’re one of those people who like to stop and ask directions from every stop at the gas station or just wander in the hopes of finding your way eventually.

What I’m providing in the next five posts is a Writer’s Business plan, not one of those formal business plans that can be found on the Internet and intimidate the he** out of me, but one that is simple and tailored for writers.

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

Are you the best person to write your story idea?

I decided to emerge from my NaNoMo cave to rant. The above was a question I came across while reading my emails today. It was one of those thought provoking blog posts that makes you think, what the hell are people thinking?

Are you the best person to write the story idea that came to you? Umm…duh…of course you are! The idea came to you, not someone else.

I’ve heard this question applied to non-fiction before and its usually meant to ask if a visitor to France is really the best person to write a travel guide of the country. But I have never heard it applied to fiction, or in this case fantasy.

How can you be an expert of dragon slaying or otherworld kingdoms? Would it be smart to be a serial killer just to write it realistically? Or build a time machine so you could write a true historical?

If you don’t think that’s what it means when applied to fiction, than let me tell you what I first thought when I read the question. If you don’t write the story who will? No two stories are exactly alike. Even with the same historical or mythical characters someone is going to see a different twist to the story, or a different aspect of the same character.

Take for example my novel My Lord Hades, I looked into other books that told the same myth as I did. I found most books that painted Hades as an evil god, like in the Disney movie, Hercules, or a sadistic god who is into bondage and dominace of Persephone. My Hades was a tortured soul trying looking for love and not thinking he’d ever find it. And when he did, he was willing to let her go if that was her wish. I’ve never read another book like it, and if I hadn’t written it, it is unlikely I ever would. The same can be said of all books.

Does this mean you should write a story and try to sell it? I don’t know. That’s up to you. If you craft the best story you can and share it with the world, monetary payment is sometimes part of the process.
That really depends on you and your goals.

So what do you think about the question “Are you the best person to write your story idea?”