On Sunday, I blogged about developing plans for your career as a writer. I received multiple email requests to explain what I was talking about. So, yesterday I began this series on developing a business plan.
Last night, we talked about the different hats you must wear as a small business owner. You are responsible for the product, the marketing of your product, customer satisfaction and staying in touch with your market, just to name a few tasks.
Most wannabe writers are so focused on simply finishing a manuscript that they don't think ahead to what happens after it's finished. If you can create a plan and a calendar in which you identify the various tasks on a timeline, you will be better prepared and better equipped to become a success. When you are only working with one manuscript, things are simpler. But think ahead. What happens when you are writing one manuscript, editing another and marketing a third? You have to get organized early.
In March, 2005, when I was about halfway through the manuscript for my story "You've Been a Good Girl," I entered it into an online contest. I did this for three reasons: (1) to get feedback; (2) because the final judge was an editor with an online publishing house that I hoped would have an interest in buying it; and (3) hoping to place in the contest and give my manuscript additional credibility. The contest was "Just Erotic Romance Reviews" and the manuscript won second place in July, 2005. Entering that contest had done what I had hoped. I got positive feedback from published authors, the judge requested the manuscript and I now had something I could say about the story when I pitched it.
Along with writing your novel, you need to be thinking ahead to the next step: How will you market it and where will you market it? All the work you have been doing in learning about your niche will help you here. You need to set up a system to keep track of both agents and publishers who might find your work interesting. I bought a small index card box and a stack of white index cards. I also subscribed to "Publishers Lunch" (www.publishersmarketplace.com/lunch/free/). They publish a listing of all the new publishing deals. You can subscribe to the free lunch or subscribe to the paid lunch. I started out with the free lunch and then upgraded after three months. Whenever I saw an agent or a publisher who was interested in work like mine, I created an index card for them. I googled them and investigated them on "Preditors and Editors," an online warning list of scam artists to avoid (http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/). Before long, I had a list of qualified agents and editors at publishing houses who could be interested in my work.
More tomorrow . . .