There’s enough bull shit and hot air on the web to fill an army of hot air balloons. It’s confusing. It’s irritating and frankly it’s totally overwhelming.
But here’s the thing, if you’re an indie author, then the only thing that matters is what you want, what you think, and what you decide.
It’s almost mind-boggling. There aren’t many decisions that are just ours any more. Sometimes I swear societies need for control has gone insane, it’s like their trying to control every single breath we take.
But not as indies. We stick our fingers up and give the corporate conglomerates a big fuck you. Our writing is the product of our minds and our minds only. It’s yours, and no one else can have it, or tell you what to do with it.
But that also means you’re on my own. Where you take your stories is up to you, as is the marketing, the business, the strategy, and the publication.
I’ve said this before, but next year is big for me. I’ll be publishing my first and second, and hopefully third and fourth books. It’s been an excruciatingly slow road to get there and I don’t want to fuck it up now I’m this close. I don’t want to go into to next year disorganised, unplanned and not knowing what I’m doing.
So cut through the crap, and make 2017 you stop listening to everyone else and do it your way. If you do anything, then use these three simple tools and make 2017 your year.
TOOL 1 – SMART GOALS
I know. I know. You don’t like goals. You like going with the flow, you’re a free thinking, harem pant wearing creative hipster. It’s okay, come here, let me cradle you with my tiniest violin of sympathy.
Seriously now. If you want to achieve anything, then you need to know what it is you want to achieve. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, how do you know whether you’ve been successful?
But sometimes, defining what you want to achieve is half of the problem. I use SMART to help me define my goals.
S – Specific – here you need to outline what it is in, in a very specific way, that you want to achieve.
A goal that isn’t specific: I want to ride my bike a long way
A goal that IS specific: I want to ride my bike 48 miles to the nearest lizard brothel house.
M – Measurable – How are you going to know you have achieved it or track whether you are on track to achieving it.
Let’s say you want to double your website traffic – define that, how much is double? Or maybe you want to hit 376 views an hour or eleventy hundred a week. If you haven’t set a measurable goal, you won’t get a sense of achievement.
A – Achievable – How are you going to achieve it? – what’s the action you’ll have to take.
Let’s say you have two goals:
The first is seducing Harry Potter’s right nipple for a ballroom Tango within a week.
The second is collecting the nasal hair from 800 Eastern European slugs in two days by taking a flight to the Ukraine the day before and then working with the prestigious slug universities experts in their slug farm to collect the nasal hair.
If you don’t know HP then it’s probably not going to happen within a week. It’s not that seducing his right nipple is impossible, more that the time constraint makes it impossible.
BUT even if you didn’t live in Eastern Europe you’ve said how you’ll get there and you have help to achieve it, so even the two days doesn’t seem so impossible. This is an achievable goal…!
R – Realistic – Is it actually an achievable goal? You’ll know if it’s realistic by taking into consideration everything else in your goal.
Lets say you want to double your annual website traffic in a week. Umm. If you’re getting 100,000 views a year that’s going to be unrealistic. If your annual total views is 4, then it becomes much more realistic.
T – Time – How long do you really need to do it?
I’m terrible with time, I always put unrealistic time constraints on myself, so next year, I’m trying to be better behaved.
Here’s an example of one of my goals: Publish my non-fiction Villains book by the end of spring by ensuring I prioritise that writing over any other task, getting beta feedback in January, an editing slot in Feb/March, a cover designed at least a month prior to launch and writing my marketing plan three months in advance.
TOOL TWO – THE BUSINESS PLAN
But I just paint beautiful pictures with words, and express my creative love for life through the weaving of flowery stories… Why do I need a business plan?
Well, ask yourself this: Do you want to write full-time and your creative pursuits to pay your bills?
If the answer is no, then no, you don’t need a business plan. But if your answer is yes. Then you absolutely do need one.
If you want to write full-time, and want your writing to pay your bills then what you got ain’t no creative hippy love bullshit. It’s a goddamn writing business. OOHRAH
It’s not a hobby folks. It’s a fucking company, and don’t let anyone tell you different. Your books are assets and your mind is a freaking beehive of money-making potential. TREAT YOUR WRITING LIKE A BUSINESS. Because you can’t grow your money-making writing potential unless you’re treating your writing like a business. If you got a business, you need a business growth plan.
Angela Ackerman has written a cracking guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog on business planning. I took her free download and tweaked it to suit me – I tweaked the columns to ensure I had SMART in the table, and now I gots me a bidness plan yo. I suggest you gawjus folks do the same.
TOOL THREE – THE MARKETING PLAN
Now, some people have some vague idea of a marketing plan, others don’t have a clue at all.
But the biggest mistake I find when talking to people about marketing, is the lack of vision. The focus for a book falls on the launch, then, when it’s over, it poofs into book heaven. Forgotten, discarded in place of the next book project’s 3 month launch period.
No, no, no, no.
Why would you do that? These books come assets, can give you income for life. Why would you focus on just the first three months of its life? It’s still an infant, a dribbling, snivelling newborn incapable of walking let alone bringing home the big bucks.
Think big people. Think really big. When you create a marketing plan, don’t just focus on the launch. Focus on its lifetime. Now okay, that’s a bit overwhelming, so just focus on one year at a time. Write your marketing plan for a year. Then, when that year’s over, write another fucking marketing plan because guess what, your book can STILL make you money.
Here’s a template I made just for
How are you going to be a smarter author in 2017? Let me know in the comments.
That’s it for another week folks – Next week I have an announcement… so stay tuned.
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