By Tonya D. Price
When you first started treating your writing as a business, did you write a business plan? When the publishing industry (and all of society) is facing significant changes, you need to review and update your plan. If you don’t have a business plan, this is no better time than now to create one.
For those who have a writer’s business plan
Having a business plan is an advantage when there is a change in the economy or society. Rather than start from scratch trying to figure out how to make adjustments in your business strategies to survive these changes, review your business plan, and update the following eight sections:
- Mission and Vision Statements: Don’t be afraid to review your Mission Statement (what values are important to you as you build your writing career) and your Vision Statement (what you want your writing business to accomplish over time.)
- Marketing Analysis and Strategy: Research how your readers’ buying habits may have changed. Is the change temporary or permanent? Do you need to make any changes regarding how to reach your readers as a result of your research?
- Product Strategy: Review the types of books you write. Reader habits change during a crisis. Does it make more sense to write the next humorous mystery you have been thinking about now rather than the fourth medical thriller you had planned to prioritize this year? Is this the right time to create a new revenue stream.
- like offering online writing courses at this time, or should you concentrate on getting more books and/or short stories out?
- Pricing Strategy: Will the current or forecasted economic situation impact your sales figures? Indie publishers, should you adjust your pricing?
- Advertising and Sales Strategy: Do the answers to the above questions suggest adjustments that might benefit your current advertising and marketing strategies?
- Communication Strategy with readers: You want to stay in touch with your readers, but everyone has increased emails to readers. Do you follow the trend and increase the number of times you communicate, or would your readers prefer new communication channels such as webinars or weekly Zoom chats?
- Finance Strategy: What impact will the current political situation have on your tax strategy and your current expenditure plans?
If you have a business plan, review your assumptions, judge the new research regarding your reader’s habits and decide how to adjust your current strategies. A thorough review and update of your marketing plan will restore that sense of purpose and direction you had when you finished creating your first plan.
Don’t have a business plan?
If you don’t have a plan for your writing business, you likely have wishes. You might wish you could start earning more money than you are spending. The difference between a wish and a plan is that a business plan has the following attributes that a wish lack:
- A goal – what do you want to achieve with your writing business?
- A business strategy – what steps will you take to reach your goal?
- A budget – how much can you afford to spend to reach your goal and not lose money so you can keep writing?
- A deadline – do you have a date when you must finish your goal?
- A schedule for tracking your progress – how will you document your progress toward meeting your deadline for completing your goal?
Writers often say, “I don’t have a business plan because I know things are going to change, and I’ll just have to change my plan.” Change is the reason you need a business plan. Your readers will adjust their behavior if the stock market plunges or unemployment jumps, or society goes through a significant upheaval like a pandemic. Their buying habits, reading tastes, etc. will change. Determine the changes you need to make to continue to write books, engage readers, and make a profit on your work.
If you are struggling to write your latest mystery right now, consider taking a break for a few days and thinking about how you are going to adjust your business strategy to current changes. Go through the seven areas listed above. Write a paragraph answering each question. You are off to a great start on analyzing what changes you might make to keep your sales up, stay in contact with your fans and keep your finances in good shape.
Are you motivated to write a customized business plan for your writing business? Great! There are a couple of books that will lead you through the process of creating a business plan customized to your writing business goal. Get started today! You will be surprised at how much you learn, how much fun you have, and the sense of control you gain when you have a business plan that translates those wishes into accomplished goals.
This post was originally written for the Sisters in Crime New England blog.
Tonya D. Price is a multi-genre published short story writer and the author of the non-fiction series, Business Books for Writers. Her thriller short story, “Payback,” in the Fiction River anthology, Hard Choices, was selected for inclusion in The American Best Mystery Stories of 2019. She holds an MBA from Cornell University in Marketing and Finance. You can follow Tonya at Business Books for Writers and Tonya D. Price or on Twitter: @BusBooks4Writer.