I wish today I could share with you my long-term business plan, but I haven't finished it yet. However, I have come a long way over the last two weeks (if you haven't already, read the first part of this post here).
But before I share my progress with you, I want to share some of the advice readers of the first post left in response to my question, Can I write what I love and what will sell?
- Find a way to do both, even if that means stretching yourself.
- Search for something that you love that is also marketable.
- Having a business plan is smart. Set goals.
- Don't write for the market. Chasing the market will make you unhappy, a follower rather than a leader, and won't give you the motivation to keep going.
- What's popular today may not be tomorrow.
- Trying to write what sells can be counter-productive. Sacrificing creativity to follow the majority diminishes your chances of standing out.
- Let your inner self come out and you will find readers.
- A business plan needs to take second place to creativity. Creativity is what will make you stand out, and if that goes well, the business plan will follow.
As you can see, the advice falls into two camps - those who advocate doing both and those who believe chasing the market doesn't work. After reading the advice, especially the last one, it occurred to me I was approaching my business plan in totally the wrong direction.
I was trying to formulate a plan based on what others have had success with, instead of asking myself what I could have success with.
My passion is science fiction and horror. I don't want to write anything else. But can I steer my fiction in a direction that will make it more appealing to readers and easier to promote? Yes. If adding a romantic sub-plot to my sci-fi series makes it more appealing, why not include one? If readers want more blood in their horror, I can add more blood. Because ultimately, I'm still writing what I love. I'm just making smarter decisions.
So, where am I now?
I spent a few days brainstorming and mapping all my fiction ideas. From a list of six, I picked the two I'm most eager to complete and publish within the next 12 months. From there, I examined each more closely in terms of time and cost. I then came up with a publication schedule.
After taking a break for a couple of days, I returned to the schedule and realised I'd been wildly over-optimistic with what I could achieve within a year. My plan was to release three novellas and two novelettes in 2014 and my nine-part sci-fi series in early 2015. From solely a writing and editing point of view, this is achievable. But what I also need to take into account is promoting said books. It's no good just releasing them and expecting them to sell themselves. On top of that, there is also the cost of publishing. If I didn't have a day job and had the money to invest, I'm sure I could achieve my original plan. The simple answer is, I don't.
So, it's back to the drawing board. Having decided what I'm going to write, I now need to decide when. I've already made the decision that my next publication will be February 2014. This is an unmovable deadline. I can't procrastinate forever. My plan is to have a publication schedule I can share with you in a weeks time - no if or buts. In the mean time, if you're eager to learn more about my two projects, you can get a taster through Pinterest.
A massive thank you to all the writers and bloggers who offered advice and support. I couldn't do it without you. I will be back on Wednesday with an Indie Life post focusing on where you can get help and an interview with River Fairchild. Until then, have a great week.