Monday, February 16, 2015

Business Plan: Checking in

Promo banner created using GIMP

Over the first couple weeks of January, I spent some time developing a business plan for my work as a writer. (I blogged about it HERE and HERE.) Since it's been a month since that last post, I thought I'd check in and see how things were progressing. I figure I started out making this plan public, and for the sake of accountability I should keep putting it out there.

My plan has three main themes:
  • Increase Productivity
  • Increase Visibility
  • Improve Skills
There are goals related to each theme, and for this check in, I'm going to focus on the goals and tasks I'd hoped to accomplish in the last month. Here's what I found out...

Increase Productivity

My first goal for increasing productivity was to improve time management by developing a weekly schedule. I tracked all my writing-related activities for one week but then didn't take the next step to put that information into any kind of template. I did identify Facebook/social networking as a huge time-suck (which, DUH), but my day job and family demands have been so variable it hasn't made sense to come up with a schedule that will only likely frustrate me when I can't keep to it. I have tried to limit my focused social networking to a couple hours in the morning and to dedicate time to writing with the internet turned off.

I set a goal of 4500 words per week, and I've done pretty well with that. I'm about 17,000 words into The Lyric Assassin, but have hit a sticking point so have been playing with a different project while my ideas sort themselves out.

My third goal was to work up a portfolio of resources. I gave myself six months to complete that task, and haven't done anything so far. Maybe next month...

Increase Visibility

First goal: Blog regularly. Check. I've done at least three posts a week for this blog, along with my regular posts for the Spellbound Scribes & the Relentless Writers blogs. For my own blog, the most popular post was the one I did on self-publishing with 604 page views, and my average page view per post is 315, although I need a few more months of doing this so I can assess whether the overall page views are increasing.

My second goal for this time frame was to self-publish another short story. That hasn't happened yet, in part because I picked up a theme in the reviews for The Santa Drag. Most of the reviews were positive, but a couple people mentioned it was too short. On the one hand, SHORT STORY, but on the other hand, I don't want to turn off potential readers by having another release with the same problem. While I'm not sure if this is a valid concern, or just something I'm fretting about needlessly, for the time being I made the decision to defer this goal and focus on longer projects.

Increase Skills

My goal was to take part in 3 classes over the year. So far, I had a great time with the GIMP class. I learned a lot about manipulating images, and hope to keep playing with it. Now I just need to find another good class...

So that's where I am this month. If you're still reading along, THANK YOU. I appreciate your patience, and your willingness to hang in there with me. If you have any thoughts, I'm totally open to suggestion. Am I needlessly worrying about the short story thing? Do you know any good classes I could sign up for?

Thanks again, and I hope your Monday is a happy one!


  1. I think setting a weekly word goal for writing is a great idea, much more manageable than a daily goal. We all know our days don't always go as planned :)

    Sounds like you're staying on track and that's hard, so good for you.

    Good luck.

  2. Thanks Deb. You're exactly right - some days definitely go sideways - and so far the weekly thing seems to be working.

  3. I didn't think "The Santa Drag" was too short because you're right...short story. But I'd be curious to hear what you ultimately learn or decide regarding the matter. I've been hoping to release some short fiction myself to sharpen my skills for longer pieces, but if readers prefer longer pieces, I may have to think of something else.

    Sounds like you're plan is working out pretty well overall. Good job :)

  4. I read recently that someone at TOR was quoted as saying novellas were the future of fiction, because people overall have shorter attention spans (or something like that). Which - if it's true - is a good thing because I tend to write short. So I don't know if the problem is with the structure of Santa Drag or readers' expectations. I guess if the average romance reader prefers things in series, 6000 words might not be enough. Thanks Mike!

  5. Novellas might be a good way to go...I even have an idea for one that I've been doing some discovery writing for. As far as short stories go, maybe putting together collections of at least 3, depending on length, would go over better with readers?

  6. It's a tough thing, because you can buy bundles of full-length novels for $0.99. I think in part it depends on your market. It may be that short stories don't work for romance readers, but they'll be fine for the SF&F readers who buy books from TOR.