2017 Business Plan

I intended to wait a day or two to write this, but I have time right now and decided not to wait. I'll probably get lost in a sea of New Years Resolutions, and the word count may scare some readers away, but here goes.

Being a writer involves many skills, and I want to improve all of them. I've written before how there is no magic bullet that will put one of us over the top. It takes work, and improvement, on all fronts to get there. Identifiable places to work on are:

  • Concept
  • Craft
  • Promotion

There are several sub-bullets like inspiration, social media, and research, but you get the point.

Concept

I think I'm pretty good with inspiration, and Lorelei the Muse takes pretty good care of me in this department. I use my push feeds to keep my imagination well lubricated, and film also helps a bit. Now, with the new X-Box, maybe this new media will play a role too. I'm not going to dwell too hard on this part of being an author. Maybe not everyone is like this, but to me ideas are easy to come by.

Craft

Personal challenges have served me well over the years. It makes me work to accomplish new things, but I may have slacked off in the outlining phase in 2016. I need to make sure my preferred three act structure has all the required beats and not trust to faith that something will come to me after I start. This can be a full outline, or even bookend outlines, but I need to tighten this process up.

Craft can apply to promotion too, and I can't decide whether to discuss it here, or under the next heading. I've learned over time to write tighter on the blog. I started out with 2000 word posts, and today many posts are 400 words. This is a double edged sword, because I tend to work through a novel with the same brevity these days. The answer is to have more situations to create a novel. The risk is too many situations that don't drive the plot or character arc. At least I'm aware of this.

I currently have two different craft books on my Kindle app, and I need to get on with reading them. One has been there for nearly a year. Which brings me to reading in general. Reading is important to both craft and concept, and I need to do more of it.

Promotion

Writing is something I do for fun, but seeking commercial success is part of my personal challenge. I believe it pushes me to improve my skills by putting my work out for scrutiny. A trunk full of stories doesn't provide much feed back. Because of this, promotion is a necessary evil.

2016 marked a big improvement in this area for me. Some things didn't pay off, others were mediocre, and some were rousing successes. This is a good place to keep what works, and either improve or discard that which doesn't.

Social media requires work, there's no other way to put it. This blog remains the main focus for me, and it makes sense, since I can write longer pieces than say Twitter allows. My views are up considerably, in fact it's 50% more than last year.

Other forms of social media work, and I've moved books because of Twitter. I'll keep honing my skills in this arena. Facebook quickly became a distraction for me, but it has some benefits. I find many photos and pieces of art to inspire me. I'm a very visual person, and a piece of art can inspire a whole story, and has. It's a great source of ideas for Lisa Burton too.

I need to find a way to make Facebook produce a few sales too. I'm kind of at a loss here, but I pushed a few posts and it drove people to me to a small degree.

I've considered additional forms of social media, but I have to consider available time too. Google Plus has some appeal, but the best reports are from Google themselves. Authors just aren't out there singing its praises. I'm open for comments in this arena. A friend mentioned one called Triber at one time too, but I haven't done a lick of research.

Being a visual person, I'm surprised I haven't looked into Pinterest or some of the other forms. I'm afraid I'd just waste more time surfing through science fiction art or other things. If some of you know how to expand an author's footprint here, I'm open to suggestions. This includes Instagram and other formats too.

Lisa Burton as my spokesmodel works well for me. Her show promoting characters from other books is popular enough to keep going. I may not be able to post one every week, but that's more dependent upon other authors than me. I guess what I'm saying is not meeting a goal doesn't always equal failure. This is a good spot and I'm keeping it. They will post on Thursdays, and I hope to get enough volunteers to keep it fairly regular.

I have a folder full of images to help Lisa with my own book promotions, and I'll be talking to Sean Harrington soon about them. Her blog images need to keep updated too, and I commissioned an interesting piece over the weekend with ideas to use it over at Story Empire. Her sign shaker image was really useful, in that I can write whatever I want on her sign. This lets me use it as many times as I like.

Lisa has drifted across several decades with her style, and I may let her explore the 60s, 70s, and 80s this year too. I even have one cool image of a Gibson Girl from the late 1800s – early 1900s I may base something on.

It looks like I've dedicated a lot of space to promotion when compared to the others. That ought to tell me something right there.

***

So what are my 2017 plans? I have two books I want to put out this year, The Yak Guy Project, and The Enhanced League. I have three ideas for shorter stories, and they may reach novella length. If they don't, I'm sure there will be another Experimental Notebook. I'd like to release a 99Β’ novella, but I'm not making it a goal. The stories will tell me what to do after I write them.

There is the possibility of an invitation to another anthology, and maybe one of those will fit the bill. I have to write them before I do anything else.

As far as the writing goes, I want to outline my science fiction novel, tentatively called Grinders. I'd like to actually start writing it, but there is going to be some promo after the two projects above, and I need to allow time for that. I can fill in the gaps with micro-fiction and short stories… and reading.

I need to read more of the things I actually want to read. I enjoyed all the beta projects, and believe I helped those authors to some degree. ARC reading is fun too, but I need to read more of the things I choose. This may require me to say “No” on occasion to a request. I have a hard time with that, but may have to accept it. This doesn't quite read the way I want it to. I enjoyed all the books I read. For my own advancement, I need to read more hard core science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy books. In many cases this means traditional publishing.

Fun has to enter into the mix too. There really isn't any other reason to do all this, because the money doesn't justify it. I enjoy Lisa Burton Radio, and it helps me expand my footprint. I'm going to need places to promote my wares, and maybe someone will be there for me if I help them promote. Lisa Burton Radio is staying.

I also signed up to host tours again for the Rave Reviews Book Club. This helps those authors, and it brings me traffic. There really isn't a down side to this, so it's pretty obvious. I'm still open to hosting my friends too.

In the pure enjoyment category is Macabre Macaroni and The Idea Mill. I'm keeping them simply because it makes me happy. I get some fun conversations going with both of them, and even a bit of feedback.

Story Empire has a ton of potential, and working with others teaches me new things. I hope we can step things up over there and expand it into a valuable resource for our contributors. We have tentative plans to discuss that sometime this month.

I'm debating submitting The Yak Guy Project to a small press publisher. I'm on the fence about this, but it's in my mind. If there is any extra money, I would like to try an audio book too. I already have suitable titles, and maybe it would help me reach a new audience. This isn't someplace to dive blindly in, and research is required.

In the miracle department, I'd like to have one more really good idea. Lorelei isn't the Muse of self promotion, and I'm afraid I'm on my own here. Lisa Burton Radio is good, her spokesmodel work is good, maybe there is something else nobody thought of that will come to me. This usually requires a peaceful camping trip somewhere that allows my mind to rest.

A lot of words with less hard-core goals this year. I tend to set deadlines and bust my ass to meet them, but 2017 isn't the year for that. It's more about keeping what works, and making small improvements and tweaks.

Let me know if you have anything more to offer. I'd like to hear about other forms of social media. I hope all your business plans work out in 2017.

Advertisements

68 Comments

Filed under Writing

68 responses to “2017 Business Plan

  1. Yeah. That is a long post. 😜I’ve found myself doing the same tightening. I try not to do posts over 1,000 words and my writing has fewer deviations from the point. I think is natural growth for authors. At first, we want to include everything whether we realize it or not. Then we start to focus as we listen to friends and reviews.

    I think Facebook only creates sales if you put up an ad. I used to be in book groups that I promoted in, but it was so clogged that nothing happened. You also end up posting to your echo chamber there and it’s harder to branch out than on twitter. The other social media sites are just connected to my blog, but your Lisa stuff might work for the visual stuff like Tumblr and Pinterest. I keep forgetting the latter because it doesn’t have a lot of interactivity like blogging, twitter, and Facebook. It doesn’t have an automatic connection either, so you have to set out to pin.

    Can’t really think of anything to add since I’m figuring it out myself. Maybe promote the Lisa Radio Show idea on some of the Facebook author groups? Might work for that more than sales.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I can’t think of anything else. I think you are shakin’ the bushes as much as they can be shaken. Maybe there is a bright idea somewhere. As you say with a peaceful and rested mind it may come to you. I wish you well in 2017

    Liked by 3 people

  3. We must think alike, Craig, for I have come to so many of the same conclusions for 2017. Radical rethinking going on at the moment… and I love the new background image BTW!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a busy year Craig! And all with a day job, I admire your work ethic. Just a thought but have you considered a collaboration with Sean with a Lisa colouring book? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Craig! Happy New Year to you and Lisa. I like the way you’ve set out your stall for 2017. I took a break from writing and blogging for a while. I really was feeling the pressure. This year is all about keeping it manageable for me. I missed everyone and missed blogging and writing. I don’t want to give anything up, just need to scale back. I’ve not found social media helpful in driving sales at all, and its a huge drain on time, so that’s where I’ll be cutting back. Sounds to me like you got it all covered. And that camping trip sounds like heaven. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve got an upcoming post that’s so long, I think I’ll be breaking it into four pieces.

    If you put out one of your novels in audio format, I’ll pick up a copy and review it. There’s the revenue-sharing way to do it at zero cost, but I suspect the narrators are flooded with requests for those.

    I’m not familiar with small presses, and I’m curious what they could offer you, since you already do so much work editing, formatting, and promoting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Those are just things to explore. I don’t think the revenue sharing gets much attention these days, but maybe the upfront cost isn’t too bad. These are mostly research projects, but they could lead me to something new.

      Like

      • I put my stuff with a small press in 2014. I didn’t get any payment or sales reports until September of 2016. Got lots of run around … the check’s in the mail yada yada! Then I talked to another of their authors and found out they were being investigated for defrauding their authors and was contacted by the DA doing the investigation. I’m done with small presses. I’ve heard too many horror stories. I still have no idea whether my stuff was selling or not. The one report I got showed several sales and I was encouraged, but when I wrote in about the investigation, I was told my stuff was crap and didn’t sell. She sent me another sales report that showed basically no sales, but … it covered some of the same months the other one showed with several sales! At least with Createspace, I can go in anytime and see my sales.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, hope you can get your titles back and give them a fair shake on your own.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. There is a lot to work on, and congrats for getting it all down! That seems like a very organised way to move forward, one which I should perhaps follow myself!
    In terms of promoting your work, have you considered getting together with a number of other authors and producing a box-set of books, with each author playing a part in promoting the whole project?
    An author friend of mine has recently been included in a box set of mystery writers, which has created quite a bit of buzz for her work.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here is an excellent blueprint to follow for 2017 from C.S. Boyack

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s a cunning plan(s) and no mistake! πŸ™‚ It’s good to see you’re factoring in some wriggle room and space for wool gathering and organic growth spurts. New Years are always bursting with so much potential, so it’s natural to want to ‘tame it’ into manageable chunks, but we all know how life slings in those tricksy twists and weaving paths, so it pays to cater for the unexpected opportunities and distractions that are almost bound to pop up out of nowhere…
    Best of luck with it all in 2017 Craig – nobody can say you’re a slacker in any department! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great insights, Craig. I tend to rely more on words than graphics, but I can’t argue the logic that most people are visually-oriented. That said, I’ve been on Pinterest for a while and have started playing with Instagram. I can’t say I’ve seen sales from either (certainly not Instagram, as I’m just starting out), but I do believe I’ve reached new audiences from both media. Pinterest is great because you can organize your graphics, post frequently, and reach readers. Instagram doesn’t respond well to frequent posts (one to three a day, max, and definitely spread out), but you can use about a million hashtags (it’s actually kind of expected to overload the hashtags, as opposed to Twitter, that doesn’t recommend more than two) and reach a wider audience. I’ve recently purchased Instamate, a posting/scheduling app that integrates with Instagram, and it’s allowed me to expand my reach there. If I see an increase in engagement, I’ll let you know.

    I’m still waiting to hear more about Flipboard… πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

    • Maybe you and Mae can do a team post about tools like Instamate and HootSuite. One of them marries into Facebook really well, I think it’s Instagram. Looks like I need to do some research. If I use Pinterest, can I make boards that are private. I don’t want to let future Lisa projects out of the bag too soon. I suppose I could save the images on my photos though.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes – you are allowed to create private boards. Pinterest policies say you can have up to [can’t recall] number of private boards, but I actually have more than that – mine may be grandfathered, however. You probably won’t need more than they allow you.

        Repin the graphics to a public board when you are ready, then delete them from the board – think of private boards as file cabinets that no one else can see. (You used to be able to “move” or “copy” pins with a click or two, but recent “improvements” seem to have removed that feature). Once you mark a board public, you can’t change it back.

        I spent quite a bit of time building a P. following after I noted that people were coming to my blog from quite a few places where somebody else pinned graphics from my articles. That has continued now that I pin them myself — unlike FB, where people simply “like” and move on. (I’ve gotten fewer than a handful of visitors in 5 years, and more than 500 autoposts to FaceBook.)

        I have NO patience with Social Media, so believe me when I say that Pinterest is quick and easy to set up and to figure out. You do have to spend some time building your Boards initially, however – and repinning and following are expected or nobody will follow and repin you. Once they do, things start popping, especially if you jump to the blog from a pin, like and comment, letting the blog-author know that you got there from Pinterest.

        Actually, it’s a rather mindless and almost addictive platform – which won’t mess with your writing voice, as I find is true of 2-line word formats like Twitter (or texting – ugh!). I also pin graphics from posts I want to read later – quicker/easier than bookmarking, since they automatically link back to where you got them. I use these virtual bulletin boards for a lot of things – because it’s so easy to pin from almost anywhere on the ‘net.

        HOWEVER – as with WordPress, Pinterest seems to be moving in a direction its early adapters hate. There was actually a boycott day recently – and there are a lot of “stop this – change back” pins of late – so play with it, but don’t commit to it until we see how things shake out. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much time once you get the hang of it and are relatively established, even if you have a ton of Boards. And the exposure is HUGE and growing.
        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
        – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
        “It takes a village to educate a world!”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Much appreciated. That’s the kind of information I need.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds as though you have a very busy year planned, Craig. Like you, I consider social media/promotion a necessary evil – I’d much rather be writing! However, also like you, I’m planning ahead for the year in the hopes I can be more effective in how I choose to promote, so that I might actually still have some time to write!

    Wishing you a very successful 2017 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Have you explored BookTubers. They are really happening now. I’m in the process of culling through to find people who do reviews on authors who write similar crime fiction as my book. There are tons of them to sift through and I’m culling down the list to just those who have huge audiences with lots of comments on their YouTube pages. Amazing, the number of book club members who find books through BookTubers on You Tube.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m with you about not busting your butt all the time, year-in year-out. Knowing what works sounds a good place to be. All the best in 2017. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  14. An interesting and reflective post, Craig. Finding that place between creating and promoting is a challenge. I need a plan of action not set in concrete, too many huge things looming on my immediate horizons at the moment to sort the chaos. Moving out to the country hundreds of miles from my usual comfort zone next month, new book being released … next month; and taking up the challenge of caring for my almost five year old grandson whilst my daughter attends University … begins next month. Somewhere in that scramble of MUST do things, I will make time for the NEED to do things.
    There is a new sense of urgency that accompanies growing older. Then again, I enjoy meeting challenges head on. I wish you well, and look forward to reading and commenting on your posts throughout 2017. I always find them fascinating and insightful.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I think you’ve covered all the promotion avenues I’ve used. I’m on Pinterest and Google+ (in addition to Facebook and Twitter) but I don’t do a lot with either. I think both are effective in keeping your name “out there.” I see Staci mentioned Instagram, and I’ve been thinking about giving that a try.For promoting books, I also use newsletter lists like The Fussy Librarian and The Choosy Bookworm on occasion. It’s always hit or miss on the response. So far, Twitter, my newsletter and Facebook Ads have done the best for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve been enjoying some of the Story Empire posts, too.
    This will sound odd, but have you seen Allegiant? I didn’t watch the whole thing, it was on while I cooked, so I was up and down, but anyway, there’s a part where the people are decontaminated, and for a few seconds of this goo all over her, the main character looks like Lisa Burton πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Craig! Well structured goals. Good for you. I think ‘Pinterest’ is a site that a lot of writers should take advantage of, as well as ‘YouTube’. Google+ helps with the SEO issue being that Google is one of the largest search engines. Having an account with Google+ will help you clim higher on the search page. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  18. First, Grinder is a great title. IMO, Instagram and Snap Chat are worthless for authors. I do love Google Plus because the posts last forever. I can’t count the number of times a post from months, or even years, resurfaces, so that’s a big plus. I also love Pinterest, but I can get lost there if I’m not careful. I don’t know if any of this helps you, but there it is. My fav are Twitter and Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been on Twitter for a long time, prior to starting my blog even. I went to FB last year, and decided to dig deeper. I jumped into G+ this week, and it’s kind of confusing, quieter over there too. It seems more serious than the others. Serious and quiet are fine by me. Glad you like my next title.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. As always, you seem to have an excellent handle on your future, and I’m sure you’ll be able to stick to it 100% and be better off for having initiated your plan. I’m so proud to know you, my friend. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Good luck with all your plans for 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I think I would have been so daunted by just the social media portion of your business plan I might not have finished the rest of it. You’re an inspiration. There’s so much work involved in publishing. The writing part is only trotting after it.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. How can someone like me have a planner when I create and design, travel, take photos, edit redo photos, research, and so much more time expanding by talent with weaving baskets that are very difficult and having a medical condition where I’m going to have major back surgery and not sure how to do that at all.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s