Hi everyone! Today we have author and writing coach Nina Amir here to discuss how to plan your route to becoming a successful author. These days, it doesn’t matter if a person chooses a traditional path or a self published one–all authors must roll up their sleeves to not only craft a great book, but also to implement a business strategy that will give them the best chance of hitting the brass ring.
Becca and I are big fans of career planning and have shared our own business plan at Jane Friedman’s site in hopes of encouraging others to become more structured and business-minded. Nina has some great advice on how to ask the tough questions before you write a novel, so that you and your book are aiming for success right from the start!
~ * ~ * ~
Most writers get a book idea and sit down to write. Yet, to create a successful book, it’s best to consider the business aspects of a book project early—before you write. That’s why writing a business plan for your book represents the first-step for a successful book project.
As writers develop business plans for their books, however, they often develop business plan for their careers as well. After all, when your book—or books— succeeds, so do you, but you need to know how to achieve that goal.
If you want to achieve your goal and arrive at the place called “Successful Authorship,” you need a map and directions. A business plan for your career, along with the one for your book, provides both map and directions. By taking the time to create both types of plans, you create a big picture view and directions to get to Successful Authorship and a more detailed view and directions for every stop along the way.
How to Create Your Map to Success
A book proposal provides a time-tested template used to create a business plan for your book. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this document is only necessary if you want to traditionally publish. A proposal serves as a phenomenal foundation when creating the business plan for either a traditionally published or a self-published book. Used correctly, it helps you, rather than an agent or acquisitions editor, determine the viability of your book idea. By accumulating the information necessary for each section of the business plan, you have a chance to evaluate if your idea is marketable. A marketable book sells, which means succeeds.
The business plan for your book also provides directions for how to get from the idea stage to the published stage of the project. That’s why it provides a map and directions for one stop along your way to Successful Authorship. If you plan to write just one book, this might be your final destination. If you plan to write more than one book, this map will highlight one stop along the way to Successful Authorship.
As you go through the process of developing a business plan for your book, evaluate yourself as well as your book idea. Determine:
- if you have enough platform
- if you have the right or enough credentials
- if you are an attractive publishing partner or are ready to become an indie publisher
- if you are prepared to write and publish your book now
Additionally, determine if you are a one-book or multiple-book author. Here’s where the career planning really begins—and when you realize it’s best to have a business plan for yourself as well as for your book.
Are You A Multiple-Book Author?
Most publishers prefer to take on multiple-book authors because the more books an author writes and publishes, the more books that author will sell via the publishing company. If you plan to self-publish, the same holds true. You stand a better chance of succeeding over time if you publish more than one book via your new publishing company.
Writing books early in your career without knowing if you will become a multiple-book author is like traveling toward Successful Authorship without a map or directions. You may find yourself producing books in a scattered manner and getting lost along the way. Also, your readers may get lost along with you because they won’t feel you have provided them with a clear way to get from one book to the next.
To avoid this problem, brainstorm the possible books you might write in the future. With this list of books—and pitches for each one—sort the ideas into a logical order. Ask yourself:
- Which one should follow my current project?
- Which one comes after that?
- How do all of them fit together into a meaningful theme or structure?
Include those that immediately follow your current book project in the proposal or plan for that book and in the plan for your writing career.
Creating an Author Brand
Look at all of these ideas. Maybe you have three. Maybe you have five. Maybe you have fifteen varying in topic. Can you find an “umbrella theme,” something that links everything together?
A series of books, a certain type of books or a group of books in a particular subject area can become your author “brand.” It can become your area of expertise, your unique label or the “thing” for which you are known.
How and when your roll out your books—and what books you decide to write—then will fall into place. Your personal career business plan offers you the big-picture view of your trip to Successful Authorship and the plans for each book you write, each one a stop along the way, provide additional detail to ensure you make it to that final destination.
Happy and successful travels!
Nina Amir, author of the bestselling How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writers Digest Books) and The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively (Writers Digest Books), transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she moves her clients from ideas to finished books as well as to careers as authors by helping them combine their passion and purpose so they create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world. A sought-after author, book, blog-to-book, and results coach, some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She writes four blogs, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month.