Sunday, August 3, 2014

What's The Plan?

I've written before about how writing is a business.  Yes, the writing part can be fun, but unless your stories are for only friends and family, you still need to understand the business side of things if you're to be successful.  That said, any good businessman knows that in order to build a good business, you have to have a plan.

My plan may appear lowbrow for the times, but it's on paper and almost ready to go.  I keep it in a green notebook, and I refer to it often.  On the inside, I maintain all kinds of things:
- a list of artists for covers
- a list of websites for potential blog tours
- a cost analysis of what I need to put away in order to break even, as well as what my cost point must be in order to make a sustainable profit
- the names of copy editors I'm interested in contacting
- a distribution plan, including who gets free copies
- and much, much more.

Perhaps I'm old school by writing all of this down longhand, but a strategy must still be mapped out.  One of the reason some still choose traditional publishing is because they feel all that nasty and boring business stuff will be taken care of by someone else, leaving the writer alone to write.  Sorry, but unless your name is Rowling, King, or Koontz, you're still going to have to figure out a great deal on your own, for no publisher will feel you're self-sustaining, and, therefore, worthy of everything they'll invest in that regard.

Even granting for a second that someone in the traditional world, be it your editor or your agent, will do most of the work, those that go into the indie world absolutely must get business.  What's your overhead?  Will you file as a corporation, and who will do your quarterly taxes?  Trust me when I say that the IRS doesn't care if you're an arteest - they just want their money.

Just as you research elements of your book, you have to research how to bring your stuff to market.  Do yourself a favor and start now, before you've finished writing.  As soon as your book is done, you're going to want to sell it, so it's important to do the hard stuff ahead of time so that you don't skip over some of it in your excitement over being done with your masterpiece.

If you aren't a business major, find one.  Ask indie authors you know and trust.  Put in the time, for it'll help you make the money you so desire.  Remember, writing is fun, but business is a bitch.  However, it's a tamable one if you do a little bit in advance.

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