I love to write. To put words on a page that express exactly what I want to say. I’ve written a lot of different documents, too. Fiction, like short stories and novels, as in my historical romances and paranormal romances. Those are the most fun to write, by the way!
But also nonfiction, like essays and reports. Books for young adult readers on school clubs and horse sports, too. Then there’s the technical documentation that I’ve edited—as in rewrote—to make clearer and convey the precise meaning needed. But there’s one document that I’ve created that is a living one: my business plan.
Did you know that authors need a business plan? I didn’t until last year when I drafted my first one, though didn’t adhere to it. That was a mistake, especially now that I’m going to indie publish my next paranormal romance series.
I think many readers picture an author in rather romantic terms. Kind of like Castle or the author character in Romancing the Stone, where life is exciting and adventurous and the writing comes easy. The words flow onto the page like milk on cereal. And in no time a book is published and the author sits back and watches the money roll in. I wish!
In reality, writing a novel takes a lot of time and effort and many people to transform the manuscript into a book. The longer the book, the longer the writer has to sit in a chair and write. Some books take a couple months, others six to eight months. Then the revisions begin, which can take another month or more, depending on how fast an author can make them. Many authors I know work full-time jobs, too, and have young families and a spouse to factor into their time. Add in time for edits by a professional editor and then more revisions. Cover art has to be created for both the digital and the print editions. The book has to be formatted to upload to the various retail sites. And there’s more but I don’t want to bore you with all of that.
So it became very necessary to create a plan—my business plan—as to what my goals are for this series that will see the first book launch in January. I had to take the time—which for me was nearly one solid week—to figure out exactly what I needed to do to research and write each book, how long it would take, and then map out when I had to have the many tasks completed to reach my launch day goal. I also had to factor in trips for signings, conferences, and vacation with my husband (he deserves my undivided attention from time to time, too) which would delay or prevent any progress on writing a manuscript.
But after this painful process, I emerged with a comprehensive plan for when I need to complete a first draft, second draft, and then have beta readers and my editor read the story and provide feedback. When I need the covers done, the formatting done, and when I need to start planning the book launch celebration. I feel empowered by doing all of this.
One of the quarterly tasks on my business plan’s schedule is to review my business plan to make adjustments when and where necessary. Making the plan was great for my confidence in my ability to succeed in this new endeavor for me: indie publishing. But I also realize that it’s not engraved in stone and that unexpected circumstances or opportunities may require changes be made to accommodate them. That’s me being flexible.
You may remember that a few weeks ago I had some serious doubt about whether I could pull this off. Having a plan I can modify when I need to really helped me see a road, albeit perhaps a bit winding, to the kind of success I’ve defined for myself. It calmed me down and helped me move forward.
How do you plan for success? Or do you? What do you think?
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