Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Business Plan for Writers

So yesterday we talked just a little about having a business plan. *Groan* Yes, I know, we don't really like to think of writing as a business...but *whisper* I am going to let you in on a little secret...it is a business! And with publishers fighting harder for their bottom lines, authors have to fight harder for their books and bottom lines. One of the most effective ways to arm yourself is with a business plan.

In her article "Business Plans for Writers: Taking the Pain Out of Planning", Renee Hagar, who writes romance and women's fiction as Renee Knowles, says "you are the CEO of your business...making all the production, financial and creative decisions". Sounds a bit overwhelming, doesn't it? That is where the business plan comes in.

The business plan is just that - a plan. As a writer it can help you stay motivated by providing a step-by-step plan of action. Your business plan can also give you a focus, help you make choices. There are so many opportunities out there and sometimes, even as an unpublished author, you have to say "no". Your business plan can help you make those hard decisions because it contains the big picture for your writing career.

So, how do you start writing and developing your business plan? Well, like writing itself, there is no one sure-fire way to create your business plan. I would suggest doing some research and reading. You could start with Renee's article. Or surf the net, see what you can find. I started out by developing my mission statement. I felt like that set the tone for my entire writing career and it works best for me to start with a big picture and break that down into smaller, more specific chunks.

In "Business Plans for Writers" the mission statement is defined as "who you are, what your writing is about and what sets you apart". In her book, Make A Name For Yourself, Robin Fisher Roffer says, "The mission statement expresses the company's highest ideals..." (p.51). Ms. Hagar's mission statement reads: "To write fun, fab and entertaining women's fiction, set in exotic locales and told with a chick-lit attitude." Read her book, Going Topless, and you will see her mission statement reflected very clearly. My mission statement has a broader scope right now because I am not completely sure of what I want to write. My mission statement is "to connect with my readers and provide a heart-warming, fun reading escape in the romance genre".

So, there you go. Get a start on your business plan, maybe by writing your mission statement. Writing is a passion, a calling. You owe it to yourself and your career to create a guiding force that will keep you on track, help you stay motivated and help you maintain your longevity as a writer!

Let me know how your business plan planning goes by posting comments below!


Renee Knowles said...

This is such a good post, Tiffany. If you get a plan in place, you can start to move forward on all your goals.


ps. Thanks for using my article!

Tiffany James said...


Your article is a great resource. Yes, even those of us who are "pantsers" need to have some goals!


Debby said...

Great post!! I enjoyed reading it

Juliet Burns said...

I've read Renee's advice on making a business plan and I can tell you, I am not good at business stuff, and never thought I needed a plan, but her advice changed my thinking!
She gives a wonderful , easy to follow, step by step guide to make your writing life easier and successful. Thank you, Renee!
Juliet Burns --Harlequin Blaze and Red sage author

Tiffany James said...


Thanks for stopping by No Rest...If you start your business plan, let me know how it goes!


Tiffany James said...


I hear ya'! I'd much rather be reading or writing but Renee convinced me that the business stuff is a "necessary evil". :0)

Congratulations on A Spy's Surrender. I'll be watching for it in December!

Thanks for stopping by ~