By Rebecca Waters
“It’s so sweet you found a hobby.” Those are the words I often hear now that I call myself a writer. I understand. I was, after all, an educator for most of my adult life.
Unfortunately, I think some of my fellow writers also regard their writing as a mere hobby. And for many who do take their writing seriously, there is a resistance to speak of writing as anything but art.
However, if we want to publish, we need to think of our efforts as a business.
To that end, authors need a business plan.
I have identified at least six key elements every author should address in a business plan.
1. Draft a vision statement. This statement reflects who you want to be as a writer.
I once interviewed Debby Mayne, a successful writer of Christian romance novels. She was told she could make more money if she wrote romance novels with steamy sex scenes in them. She didn’t do it. She was true to her vision as a Christian writer.
2. Set goals for your writing.
Write out long-range goals as well as smaller, short-term objectives. Try to be specific and make sure your goals are attainable. Setting a goal to write a novel in the next three months is reasonable for me. If I were still teaching full time though, I would need to extend that time frame. A short-term objective to reach that goal? “I will write a thousand words a day.”
3. Create a plan to address your weaknesses and build on your strengths.
This requires some thoughtful self-examination. For example, I identified my weaknesses in understanding and engaging in social media networks. Since research is one of my strengths, I created a plan that included learning everything I could about Facebook and Twitter. Eventually, I set up a Twitter account and launched an author page on Facebook.
4. Build an education piece into your plan.
Go to a writing conference. Take a course in writing. Build your writing library. If you have been honest with yourself in the self-examination phase of this process, you’ll know those areas where you need to educate yourself.
5. Make sure your plan provides for ways you will deliberately engage with others to improve your craft.
Your plan should reflect your engagement in a mentoring program, a critique group, workshop, or class. I am a member of an online group that holds me accountable for completing my work and another group that helps me refine my writing.
6. Include in your plan statements regarding investment of your time and money.
How much time are you willing to give to the writing, editing, revising, submitting, publishing, and marketing of your work? Explore financial costs involved. In addition to writing materials, you need a professional headshot, business cards, copies of your book to give away, envelopes and postage.
True, your plan may change. But without one, you will lack direction.
Rebecca Waters left her position as a professor of teacher education in December 2012 to actively pursue her writing career. She shares her writing journey in her weekly blog, A Novel Creation. Rebecca has published several freelance articles including two submissions in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Standard Publishing’s Lookout Magazine, The Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, and Home Health Aide Digest. Rebecca’s debut novel, Breathing on Her Own, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Connect with her on Social Media via Website: http://www.BreathingOnHerOwn.com Blog: http://RebeccaAWaters.blogspot.com
Twitter User Name: @WatersAuthor