Last week I mentioned I don't do new year's resolutions, but I do do Business Goals. I thought I'd show you a glimpse into my business plan. I'm not someone who has a ten page business plan full of statistics and detail, mine is more of a bullet point list. I find it a little difficult to plan for the second half of the year because circumstances can change - an opportunity might arise that I hadn't planned for - so generally the first two quarters are detailed and the second half is made up of options and things I want to investigate.
From an administration stand-point, I'm fairly well organised. I have a good filing system, my finances are managed in a software program and I have my business plan. As I mentioned in the earlier post, I am thinking of doing a five year plan, though the idea of that is a little bit scary. I barely know where I'll be at the end of the year let alone five years from now, but then again, if you don't know where you're going, how do you know when you get there? I'll put writing the five year plan into quarter 2 when I don't have as many deadlines. I'm also looking at applying for a grant to go to the Romance Writers of America conference this year. I think it would be an invaluable experience, but my budget won't quite stretch to flights to America just yet.
I really need to write up a budget this year. I haven't done one before, mostly because I've had next to no money in the business account. This year I decided to invest in myself and in my writing and I have a set amount of money to spend. So now I need to decide, how much will I spend on marketing, promotion, buying my books to sell at events and of course on training so that I can improve both my business and my writing skills. To me this feels a little like I'm picking random numbers out of the sky, but I do have last year's expenditure to use as a guide.
A lot of authors hate promoting themselves, but I don't mind it. I'm quite happy to experiment with blog tours, newsletters, Facebook ads etc, though it is difficult to calculate the return on investment when I can't see exact sales figures (I get a single figure at the end of the month if I ask my publisher, but that doesn't tell me if the promotion on x day gave me a boost in sales). This year I'd like to do more in person events. I'm going to find a speaker agency to sign on with, I'm going to develop a few workshops to present and I'm going to send expressions of interest to writers' festivals. I also want to explore selling my international rights of The Texan Quartet (that's translation rights) and do some further experimentation with Facebook ads.
This was probably the easiest section to write. I have two books due at Momentum; Change of Heart (Book 2 of The Flanagan Sisters) is due at the end of this month and Blaze a Trail (Book 3) is due at the end of May. I also make sure I submit the relevant books to both the RITA and RuBy competitions. This year I also submitted one of my fantasy novels, The Assassin's Gift, to Angry Robot who currently has an open submissions policy. I'll cross my fingers and wait to hear back.
I really need to get more financially savvy when it comes to my business. Things like the GST, FBT and other taxes do confuse me a little. I'm about 80% sure I'm doing it all right, but I'd feel better if I did a small business finance course, so I'll see what I can find this year. There's also some training in regards to writing good copy that I want to do. I want to make sure this blog is as interesting and effective as it can be for the reader so this should help. Finally I'd like to attend the Romance Writers of Australia conference and the Romance Writers of America conference but budgets will dictate whether I can do both
Some of this section is easy. Book 2 and 3 of The Flanagan Sisters are contracted and due at Momentum this year. I also have an idea for a fourth story, but this isn't contracted and I'm not 100% sure the idea will work. I might even do it as a novella. I have a romance that I wrote two years ago and it's been sitting in a drawer ever since. I'd like to brush that off and do something with it. It's a coastal romance set in Western Australia, which isn't what my publisher wants from me, so maybe I'll self-publish it. Then I have a couple of ideas for short non-fiction books on writing but I'm not sure whether the market is too saturated at the moment. I'll chat to my author friends and see what they think. It might be a little something extra I can offer with those workshops I was planning on developing. Finally I'll need to make a decision about what romance to write next, and I have been considering writing another fantasy novel as well.
So it's going to be a busy year. I've got new processes I want to try and I want to experiment with different ways of writing. Some people swear by dictating their stories, so that might be worth investigating. All I know is this year is a year for challenges and expanding my business.