Friday, March 15, 2013

Writing a Business Plan

I love my local chapter of the HCRW. For many, many reasons, but this time, the love spouts from our fantastic programming and our members (whom I am beginning to think are possibly psychic).

We just recently had a panel on self-publishing, by several of our best-selling self-published authors: Sarra Cannon, Ava Stone, Marquita Valentine, and Catherine Gayle. They've all got different strategies for how they sell, and all took different paths to get where they are, and all chose self-publishing for different reasons. And they know other self-published authors who came into fame by completely different methods.

They discussed the benefits of self-publishing, and audience members offered comparisons with their experiences traditionally publishing. One thing was consistent: everyone suggested having a business plan.

In the past, I've been certain that I wanted to begin with traditional publishing, because it fit my situation. But my life's been changing, and I'm no longer positive that traditional publishing would be the better place for me to begin. I won't say it isn't for others--I stand firm in that each author's situation is different, and only she or he can decide which is best for her--but I've been putting more and more thought into beginning through self-publishing. I have not made up mind yet either way; I'm still evaluating the resources I have at hand before making a final decision. And thanks to the group, I've got more resources at my fingertips than I could have imagined, and peers to offer advice on how to make the best use of them.

But I do need to make a business plan. A writer in the FF&P, an online chapter of the RWA aimed at futuristic, fantasy, and paranormal romances (thus the name), shared a set of links she'd found to another author's discussion on how she made her business plans:

Business plans for self-published authors, part 1
Business plans for self-published authors, part 2
Business plans for self-published authors, part 3

My plan won't be 26 pages long (I don't think...), and it may not look like hers. I will make my first one as if I had decided to self publish, because it's easier to not factor publishers and agents' time tables into mine. If need be, I'll create another to fit a hybrid model to include traditional publishing. But every writer, regardless of publishing path, needs a plan.

I think it's about darn time to make mine.

Do you have a business plan? What's one thing you decided you absolutely needed to include in it?

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