Let's think about next year...
For years, I put off creating a business plan for the year. I would write it on my to-do list, push it further down the list, then skip it all together. I needed, for me, a different solution.
Enter The Author Plan. It's a quick and modified business plan, one that you can create in less than fifteen minutes, and one you should continually reference and tweak throughout the year.
Note: If you have the time and knowledge to do a full business plan, you absolutely should, and this article by Denise Grover Swank will show you how. My plan is designed for the more carefree and absent-minded author (like me) who can barely remember to get dressed in the morning, much less dedicate hours to a proper and detailed plan.
Okay, let's take a look at The Author Plan. First, answer the following questions:
How many books will you publish this year?
Pick a number that is attainable, not one that will ruin your home life or cause you to break out in hives. I like to write down the titles of the books (if I know them) and the approx publication month. This is always a fun section to fill out, and causes me to think through my ideas and pick my favorites.
Do you have any other goals?
I try and keep my total goals (including my 'Write X number of books' goal) to only 3 goals. This causes me to really FOCUS on these goals during the year, and increases their chances of success.
Here are some goals I've shot for in the past:
- Increase my newsletter subscribers
- Increase my social media presence
- Increase my backlist sales
- Update my website
- Improve my backlist
- Produce my own audiobook
- Learn Goodreads and create a presence there
- Increase paperback sales
Write down each of your goals, then figure out HOW you are going to reach those goals. Below is my author plan for 2018. I created it on my whiteboard, but you can use any medium that you prefer.
If you can't read my writing, under my goal 'Increase backlist income by 20%' I broke it into several sections to make this goal more attainable. To help me hit this goal, I am going to:
- Hold 4 different sales on 4 different backlist books
- Hold Readalongs on my social media (where I encourage readers to read the book during a certain time period)
- Post 3x a week on social media about my backlist titles. I'm going to focus on one title per month.
- TRACK my sales. I'm going to pay attention to what works and what doesn't, and see if my sales actually increase as a result of these changes.
While The Author Plan isn't as all-encompassing and effective as a full business plan, it IS a quick and easy way to organize your thoughts and goals for next year, or next quarter, or next month.
I also plan to, at the beginning of each month, do a mini-plan for the month that will address each of these goals, and create mini-targets to help me reach those larger goals.
I'd love to know how you are planning for next year, and what works for you, in terms of accountability.
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