Originally posted Jan 2, 2011 Updated every other year when I get a new blog
Business plans are great for several reasons.
- You know what you’re doing.
- You know where you need to go.
- You know how you need to get there.
- When things go wrong, you have a better idea of how to fix it.
There a million reasons—*cough, cough* excuses—why authors don’t do them.
- They’re not fun.
- We have no idea where to start.
- We’re creative, not analytical.
Those are only a few. Reality is this: if you want to succeed, you need a plan. I have several books on my Kindle on how to start an indie business. I re-discovered where I could pay $147 to get all the forms I could ever want for my author business (all of which I can get for free elsewhere). And I even have three books on how to write a business plan. I have countless articles and blog posts bookmarked on what you need to do to write said plan.
It’s about time I wrote it.
I’ve spent all morning gathering the information I need to just get started. No. I’m not lying. My information is spread all over the place. It’s here. It’s on WhistlingBookPress.com, Smblooding.co, WhiskeyWitches.com, BlackSystemUniverse.com, Amazon.com, Draft2Digital—because I haven’t figured out how to get into iTunes yet, for crying out loud!—and all over my computer. It’s as though I’ve vomited and have only just now realized it.
What information do you need to gather?
- What have you published to date?
- What are you planning on publishing in the next year?
- What about in the next five years?
- How have you marketed to date?
- How has that gone?
- What were your successes?
- What platforms do you excel at?
- What were your failures?
- What platforms do you suck at?
- What is your per-book budget?
- What’s your marking budget?
- What classes are you signed up to take?
- What classes do you want to take?
- What are you competitors doing?
- What is your brand?
- What is the market like?
- Have you studied your niche markets?
- Tropes vs trends?
- How flush is the market you’re targeting?
- Who is your ideal reader?
I am only halfway complete with this. I’m in the middle of financials right now. I mean, I keep good notes. Don’t get me wrong, but I’m analyzing right now, and it’s frustrating me. Not because the numbers suck. They’re not awesome and they’re mildly terrifying, but mostly because I don’t enjoy accounting. It gives me anxiety.
There are things on this list that are going to give you anxiety, as well. So, I recommend that if you’re serious about this—I know I am—then you will get your chamomile tea, your happy cookies, play your happy music, whatever it takes, and dig in.
In the next post, we will be putting this business plan together.