As Clarissa mentioned on Monday, many of us on this site went to the National Romance Writers of America conference in New York a couple weeks ago. On my last blog I wrote about the fear that such a big conference can inspire and my plan to not let it get a hold of me. I’m happy to report that I shoved all that fear away and embraced everything I could.
And in doing so, I learned even more.
Sometimes the best advice is something we might know but have never consciously put into words. And once we add those words it changes everything.
For some time now, I’ve set writing goals for myself, personal deadlines and set out a plan as to what to do with my WIP after I’ve finished it. Seems pretty obvious, right? This is my chosen career and every great job needs a plan. In New York I heard a slightly different twist to the plan I’ve been implementing.
As authors we are our own small business.
I’ve subconsciously approached my writing this way for a while. Now it’s time to put it in more concrete terms. I am my own small business and as such, not only do I need goals and deadlines but I also need a one year plan, a five year one and a marketing plan. Putting things down in black and white changes things. It takes our stories from daydreams into Works In Progress and further along the path to publication. And an actual laid out business and marketing plan takes us that much further along that path. It also shows agents and editors that we are serious about our own goals.
The agents and editors that I listened to at the conference, unanimously said, that they felt the best authors were the ones that had business plans. They are the most organized and the easiest to work with. They approach deadlines professionally and take a hands on approach to making their careers successful. The agents and editors want our careers to be successful because they have an invested interest in us as well. Not only financially, but as part of their own careers.
This is not to say that everything that I am going to lay out in the next few weeks is etched in hardened cement. We are authors and sometimes our writing can surprise even us and take us down a slightly different road than we planned. But having an outline – a business plan – for that road can make the navigation that much easier.
What’s part of your business plan?