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Writing Business Plan Categories by Janalyn Voigt for Live Write Breathe

Create a Writing Business Plan Using Categories

Every year in the autumn I evaluate the progress of my writing business for the coming year. In summer I mull decisions that I use for my writing business plan categories, parts of the writing life I’ve broken into manageable segments. Grouping similar tasks into writing plan categories allows me to think about my writing business plan more efficiently.

Writing Business Plan Categories

My office contains a binder for each category and sometimes separate ones for robust subcategories. I record detailed plans in each binder and include action steps in a master scheduling binder.

Content

Writing content that will draw readers to my website through mentions and search engines is a perfect way for an introverted writer to build an email list.  However, it’s a slow way to gain a following. If content marketing sounds good to you, plan your content production schedule in advance to avoid overloading yourself. Subcategories or tabs might include blog posts, articles, guest posts, videos, podcast appearances, radio, and television.

Education

As a student of the writing craft, every writer should engage in some sort of educational endeavor. This might be as simple and cost-effective as reading books on writing or expand to taking expensive online courses or even earning an MFA certificate. It’s up to you.

Finances

Financial matters become more complicated as your writing business grows. You need to track income and expenses for tax purposes. Establishing a budget is a wise move that keeps your spending within parameters. Whether you are earning money or still in the investment stage, I recommend projecting how much money you’ll have to spend and determining how much will go to education, conferences, office equipment, and the like.

Goals

Set overall goals, break them into actionable goals in each of your categories, then add them into your master schedule or to-do list (depending on which method you use) in the coming year. Learn how to set SMART goals.

Networking

List the names, email addresses and social URLs of your top fans. Make a point of interacting with your fans on a regular basis, and they are more likely to remain loyal. Besides, it’s fun! Which writing associates should receive Christmas cards from you as an author. If you will attend a writing meeting or conference, decide what you want to accomplish and set networking goals.

Office Supplies & Equipment

Every once and a while, you have to purchase pens, copy paper, and other office supplies. Keeping an office supply checklist on hand helps you take stock quickly so you can return to your manuscript sooner. Avoid your computer dying in the middle of a writing project by scheduling time to replace it. Maybe this year you’ll purchase a standing desk. Collect your research in a binder and when the time comes to buy, you’ll know which one to buy. Do you need to scrape out your writing office or writing area? Write down the steps to make your office fully functional, then add them to your schedule. You can create a better writing office.

Platform

Most writers know they need to build cohesive author branding to attract a readership, but that’s a large, intimidating goal. Break it into manageable chunks you can work on a little at a time. Subcategories include speaking, appearances, and website.

Promotions

Keep track of your book launches and other promotions. Set up a calendar so you don’t miss golden opportunities like promotions geared for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Prepare ahead of time for Black Friday and Christmas. List your best influencers, authors for mutual support and cross-promotion, and your best methods of promotion and the information you need will be at your fingertips.

Research

Research is delightful in its time and place. Otherwise, it can be a time suck and a burden. I make both a research binder and computer file for every book project. Tabs in the binder align to the various research domains I’ve identified. Learn my simple research method.

Social Media

Writers need to maintain a consistent social media presence, but it needs to be targeted. To avoid wasting time on social media, establish a social media strategy that lets you engage with your audience and network with your influencers and promotion partners. It must fit into the time you have available or go to a virtual assistant to manage for you.

Taxes

Keep track of mileage and business-related expenditures. You’ll thank yourself later. There’s nothing more frustrating than digging through papers in search of an elusive bit of information when tax time comes around.

Travel

Collect your notes on writing research trips or to attend conferences, workshops, book signings, and other literary events. You never know when you might want to return or to contact one of the people you met. Years after staying in a bed and breakfast in an inhabited ghost town, for example, I included it in an article and was able to reach the hostess for permission to use some of her photos.

Writing Conferences

Plan the writing conferences you’ll go to, which sessions you’ll attend, and the appointments you set up. Take this binder with you to avoid confusion and help you use your time to best advantage.

Writing Production

Indie and traditional authors both deal with writing production tasks like working with a cover designer, writing back cover copy, proofreading, and the like. Again, there are a lot of moving parts. Adhering to a routine and a schedule helps.

Writing Projects

How many book projects will you write this year? What deadlines must you meet? Break your writing projects into smaller goals and you’re more likely to attain them without undue stress. How to write a novel in logical steps. 

Final Thoughts from Janalyn

I’ve taken these categories from my own experience. Everyone categorizes differently, so I suggest you use my categories as a launching point to develop your own. Comment with your suggestions. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Writing Business Plan Categories by Janalyn Voigt | Live Write Breathe

Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

© Janalyn Voigt
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I’m Janalyn Voigt, an author, speaker, and former social media mentor. DawnSinger and Wayfarer, the first two books in my epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, released with Pelican Book Group and will be followed by at least two more installments. I’m also working on a romantic suspense novel set in an Irish castle, but then historical fiction has a grip on me too. Being unabashedly multi-genre makes me into what some might term a reluctant rebel, but I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller.

2 thoughts on “Create a Writing Business Plan Using Categories”

  1. Thank you, Janalyn, for your thoughts and how to set up a writing business. I am just getting started, but your list and explanations for each categories make sense to me. Thank you again.

    1. You’re welcome, Linda! I’m so glad my article helped you. Let me know if you have any questions. Sometimes I’m slow, but I answer all emails.

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