The Business of Writing
First, I want to thank Delilah for having me here today. I’m very excited to chat with all of you.
I’m not sure if many of us start out writing thinking we were starting our own business, right? We started writing because we had a story to tell. Or the voices in our heads wouldn’t leave us alone. It was most likely an artist venture or a personal journey. Not a business decision.
Then, once we had that lovely little story in hand, we thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could get it published.” The thought is much easier than the action, but the action starts a chain reaction which leads to a lot of work we probably never expected.
Writing may be artistic, but you need an MBA to deal with the business of publishing. Whether you contract with a publishing house or self-publish, technically we are all self-employed. What does that mean? A lot of work, planning and thinking.
My question to you today is do you treat your writing like a business?
Huh? What? (I know that’s what went through many of your minds.)
Here are some things you should think about as a business owner of (Your Name Here) Publishing.
- Do you have a business plan with both short and long-term strategies? – Why do you need a business plan? It is your business/career map. It keeps you focused on your writing career goals and measures the success of your business. Most business fail because they never understood what success looks like. And success doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. Understand where you want to go and map out the direction to get you there.
- Show me your short and long-term marketing plan. – Most of the time this is a part of your business plan. I tend to keep one outside of my business plan because I look at my marketing plan more frequently than my business plan. You need to track how much money marketing activities are costing you and whether you’re getting a return on your investment. Do you know which activities actually translate to sales? Most writer would say no. Why? Because they never track and measure the outcomes of a marketing activity. If you advertise at a site, what do you get from it? If you get no return on your investment, don’t keep advertising. How do you measure? Document your sales prior to the marketing activity going live, then check it for the week after it ends. How many sales did you get? What was your profit? Now subtract the cost of running the promotion. Did it make or cost you money? If it cost you money, did you get something else in return? (i.e. additional followers) Yes. All these things go into planning your marketing. I tend to look at my marketing plan each quarter, adding new items or removing items which no longer work.
- Where do you want to spend your time? – This is something that is hard for me. We are writers. As writers, we need to do what? WRITE! So, don’t try to be an expert at everything or sometimes there is value in outsourcing. I found myself, especially since I self-pub some of my books, spending more time doing things like building/administering my website or trying to create banners or book covers. Those things are not my expertise, even if I could figure out how to do them. They also took way too much time away from my actual writing. Yes. We all want to save money, especially since there is very little aggregate profit in each book. But as authors our job is to write the best book we can and keep pumping them out for our fans. Spend your time and energy where it matters.
Those are a few activities which will help you with the business side of your writing. I’ve learn to appreciate having a strong business component in my day job to help manage my writing business. You don’t need a business degree to do this. Just a little common sense and awareness.
Upcoming Release in November 2013 – Book 3 in the Dueling with the Devil Series
Stolen Innocence Blurb:
They say ignorance is bliss, but when it comes to love and mating, Charity Lovell wished someone had schooled her on the ins and outs. She fell hard when she saw the beautiful face of the fair-haired demon as he lay broken in Lucifer’s dungeon. Her body ached for him. Her heart cried for him. This had to be her mate, right? Who else could make her trade her soul to the Devil to save someone she didn’t know? Someone should’ve told her love wasn’t quite as straight forward as that.
Damon lived an uncomplicated life, even as the alpha of the Lake Charles pack and the son of Lucifer. He should’ve taken a mate years ago, but held on to the hope of love. Only one female came close to making him believe he still had a chance for happiness. Yet, her heart belonged to someone else. Once again, the feeling is back, stronger than ever. And again, his female has pledged herself to another. Damn demons were ruining his love life. This time Damon plans to fight for what is his and win his rightful mate.
Although Vivi Dumas grew up an Army brat, she calls Louisiana home, but have endured the hot summers and cold winters of Maryland for the last 16 years. She is a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University with an MBA in Finance and Marketing. Her analytical side has honed a career in the financial industry for almost twenty years. To balance her logical, numerical day job, she unleashes her creativity in her writing.
Vivi pens multicultural paranormal romance, mixing the two genres she loves. Her steamy paranormal romances indulge in worlds inhabited by demons, werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural beings. She has published works with Decadent Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and Breathless Press.