Wednesday (Business): Planning for Success

There’s an old adage that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Without a business plan, your writing career will flounder  Without a business plan, you may accomplish some, but not all you could accomplish if you had a business plan.  Without a business plan, you will not know where you are going, so you may not like where you end up in your writing career.

If you’re like most of us writers, you balk at the mere mention of a business plan.  After all, you say, “I’m an artist not a businessperson.”  But if you’re serious about your writing career, you will need to be both.

So how does a writer develop a business plan?  To get you started, here are five key questions to ask yourself: 

1) What is your product or service?  In our case as writers, our products are books, articles, and, possibly, teleclasses, mp3 files, and other electronic media.

2) Who is your target audience? In other words, you will buy your products and services?

3) How will I reach my target audience?  This means how will you market your products and services?

4) How much do I need to earn to make a living? Because we writers often don’t see the monetary fruit of our labors for a long time after we produce the product, we will need to calculate how much we need to earn from our writing in order to make not only a living but also a life.

5) How much do I have to produce in order to maintain a steady stream of income?  For authors whose books are already best-sellers, this may mean one or two books per year.  For others whose books are not household words, producing a steady stream of income may mean engaging in money-making activities that I call para-writing:  activities like teaching writing or speaking at writers’ conferences.

These are only a few tips to get you started on your business plan.  Whether you use these steps or not, the important thing is that you have a business plan for your writing career.  Remember: if you don’t know where you are going, you may not like where you end up.

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Copyright 2013 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD.  All Rights Reserved.

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