Monday, 23 September 2013

It's Time I Made A Business Plan

In trying to decide what my next big publication should be, I'm being faced with some tough decisions. Do I write what I love or what is more likely to sell in today's fiction market? Can I do both? Do any of my works-in-progress stand more of a chance of selling than the others? What have my readers told me they like or want more of? To earn enough money for my writing to start supporting itself, should I chase the market? Or can I both write what I love and write what will sell?

The problem with all these questions is that they sap creativity, pleasure, and willpower. At least for me they do. But I do need to answer these questions for financial reasons. Self-publishing costs money, and neither of my short story collections have recouped their investment yet. They are selling well, especially since I re-vamped the covers, but there's a long way to go until their cost is paid off. So, my next publication needs to be well thought out. I need to consider more than just what I want to write.

It's time I made a business plan.

I'll be honest - I hate thinking of my writing as a business. It's an alien concept that baffles me. Yet if I'm to achieve my dream of supporting myself solely through my writing, I need to think of it in that way. At least when I make the big decisions - like what should my next publication be? Once the decisions are made, I can launch myself into the chosen project confident I've made the right choices. At least that's the plan.

So, over the next couple of weeks that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to lock myself away in my writing cave and answer those horrid questions. The creative side of my brain will likely protest, so I'll have to trick it into thinking this is another fun project by drawing a few mind maps and charts. But I'm determined to have a long-term plan in place.

How about you? Do you have a business plan? If so, what advice can you offer me or anyone else considering making one? For those of you earning a living through writing, how much importance do you place on writing for the market? Does it really matter if you're writing what you love, because in the end your passion will shine through and create prose people want to read?

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Like you said, find a way to do both. You might have to stretch yourself a little.
    Definitely be watching you form your plan over the next few weeks.

  2. I've always read the advice, never write for a market. But we all want a paycheck too. I hope you'll post as you develop your plan and what you've learned so we can learn too.

  3. I totally get this. I hate it too. Ugh. Yet that's what I'm doing too right now. Which means I'm not writing.

    1. I would say always write what you love. That's when your passion ans creativity will show through to the reader. Chasing the market will make you unhappy, run the risk of you being a follower rather than a leader, and not motivate you through the long hours fighting with a scene. Write and they will come! Let your inner self come out and you will find readers. That's my belief. Good luck.

  4. I wish ALL creative peeps could make a living out of doing something they love to do! :-( But sometimes needs must!! Good luck with your business plan - virtual chocolate hugs to your creative muse!! Take care

  5. I have absolutely no business plan - or even much of a plan of any sorts - so I don't have much advice to offer. Keep us informed how it goes and perhaps I'll follow suit...

  6. Eek, my business plan is mostly in my head at the moment. I wish you luck with forming yours. And yeah, might there be a way to combine what you love and what sells?

  7. A business plan is smart. I'm big on goal setting, so I've always made plans and set goals.

  8. As someone who has pursued the life of the professional writer, and now sublimates that with the life of running a small press, I can understand your frustrations and your desires. It is a hard thing to accomplish, and writing fiction is something that is not always profitable.

    When it comes to trying to "write what sells," it can be a difficult task, and often counter productive. By sacrificing your creativity by trying to write what is "hip" or "now," you will find yourself in amongst a million other writers who have the same idea, thus the chances of standing out diminish. Also, those themes and story concepts that are popular today will be waning tomorrow, so you'll find that your pop-topic stories may become passe by the time you're marketing them.

    This is not meant to scare or criticize anyone, but it is a commentary on my own experiences. Trust me when I say it is probably best that you write what you love to write, and seek to create your own hype. If you absolutely must see your writing pay, become a journalist or a non-fiction scribe. That's where the day job pay lurks; but those of us who write the fanciful tales of our imaginations must accept that money may be elusive.

  9. Hopefully, you can do both. No plan - 'um at all, for me.

  10. I don't have a business plan, but it makes a lot of sense. I'm looking forward to yours Ellie.

  11. This is what I keep saying I'm going to do and then I never get any farther than saying it. But I know it's important and I really admire Mary for how she has established and followed her plan.
    Good luck getting yours started. :)

  12. Strategy planning is always good, but you are competeing in a very crowded market and your business plan needs to take second place to creativity, because that is the one thing that will make you stand out from the rest and gain a following. If that part goes well, the business side will follow. But i am sure you know this already, just keep writing and good luck.

  13. I am in the same boat as you, Ellie! But you must write what you love, but what i say is to search for something that you love that is marketable as well. I wrote weird sci fi until I realized that horror and fantasy (vampires, etc) were very popular, and asked myself 'hey, do I like those things?'
    I realized I do really love vampires, and the undead, and ghosts...but never wrote about them. When I did, I saw the light.


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