Jennifer Lyon


Monday, February 1st, 2016
Creating A Business Plan: Part Three of Three

Welcome to Part 3 of Creating A Business Plan! Here are the 3 sections, including the link to Part 1 & 2:

Part 1 Intro and Reviewing 2015 (Post Date 1/18/16)

Part 2 Goals for 2016 (Post Date 1/25/16)

Part 3 How I developed my project maps (Post Date 2/1/16)

Okay we’ve reviewed last year and set out goals for this year. Now it’s time to create a project map for each of your big goals. A project map is exactly what it sounds like, creating a map of how to achieve our goals. And achieving our goals makes us successful. In short:

A Project Map Is A Roadmap To Success.

One key point: The best project maps are adaptable to the changing circumstances of your business. I will happily admit right up front that I’m stretching my limits by trying to write four books in one year. Two books and one novella is probably more realistic. But I’m pushing myself and having Project Maps gives me a clear idea of exactly what I need to do to hit my four-book goal. Let’s get started:

1) Choose what medium you want to us to create your map. The book I read, Your Best Year (2016 edition) by Lisa Jacobs, recommended a giant 16×20 sheet of drawing paper for each project. The advantage is you can hang it in your workspace so it’s always in view as you work on the project.

That didn’t work for me. First I hate mistakes, so all the crossing off, and writing over would create a mess that would give me a headache. Second, I don’t want it hanging in view as my office is in the open.

I chose to create project maps in word documents. This does two things for me: 1) I have it attached to my business plan so it’s all one document. This gives me a good overview of what I’m doing for the year, and if I need to re-evaluate and adapt my plan or goals, it’s all right there. 2) I print the individual project map and put it in my working folder with my outline, timeline, character sketches etc.

2) Label one map for each project. Here are mine:

a) Savaged Vow, Book 1 in Savaged Illusions Series (Project #1)

b) Novella, Ethan and Ana’s Story (Project #2)

c) Savaged 2, Book 2 in Savaged Illusions Series (Project #3)

d)) Primal Magic, Book 6 in Wing Slayer Hunter Series (Project #4)

3) Calendar your projects. This is where I figure out the order in which I will tackle the projects, and assign them a time frame to work on. So for Savaged Vows, the first book I’m writing, I assigned January through March, and so on as you can see here:

PROJECT MAP #1

Jan – March

Savaged Vows: Book 1 of Savaged Illusions Series

PROJECT MAP #2

April – May

Novella (Ethan and Ana’s Story)

PROJECT MAP #3

June – August

Savaged #2: Book 2 of Savaged Illusions Series

PROJECT MAP #4

Sept – Dec

Primal Magic, Book #6 of Wing Slayer Hunter Series

 

4) Then create your headings and break the projects down into tasks. Here is one of my project maps to give you an idea. My notes for the purposes of this blog are in red.

 

PROJECT MAP #1

Jan – March

Savaged Vows: Book 1 of Savaged Illusions Series

 

Schedule

2/5    1st Draft Finished

1/21  Cover Designed

2/29 Deliver to Editor, first round

Write Blurb

Revise

2nd round to editor

Send to Proofreader

Send to Formatter

Sent up preorders?

Publish on all Vendors

I will add things to the schedule as I know them, including dates. Checkmarks in red (√) mean the task has been completed.

Tasks:

I break the tasks down into months as you see below. Note the crossed off “Final decision required” under Feb. I’ve decided to hold off on that decision, and just crossed it off. I didn’t delete it as I will need a decision at some point. 

Tasks for January:

  1. Outline Book
  2. Write 1st draft (begun in Dec. 2015)
  3. Schedule Editing for SV
  4. Cover Concept to Brand Series
  5. Schedule Cover Design/Approve
  6. Send first third to half of book to Beta Reader (MD)
  7. Revise again and draft out second half.
  8. Contact Publicist

Tasks for February:

  1. REVIEW: Will SV will be one book or two. Final decision required.
  2. Firm up delivery date for SV with editor (Sasha)
  3. 1st draft done by February 15th
  4. Review if Pre-order should be set up for SV.
  5. Revise draft into finished for Editor.
  6. Send to Sash by Feb. 29th. (Likely will change to March)
  7. Write SV Blurb
  8. Pull out clips for marketing
  9. Gather stock photos for marketing.
  • Give to assistant to create promo material
  • Begin outline for Project #2 (Ethan’s novella)
  • Begin Marketing Plan for SV Release April 4th.
  • Consider Book Trailer
  • Schedule proofreading (best guest estimate)
  • Touch base with formatter (best guess estimate)

Tasks for March

  1. Revise SV
  2. Deliver revision.
  3. Any down time work on outline for Project #2
  4. More down time, begin writing on Project #2
  5. Send book to proofreader
  6. Revise to final version
  7. Send book to formatter
  8. Set up on Netgalley.

Project Obstacles & Setbacks:

  • Still not sure if I can get all this in one book, or will need to break it into two books. Will decide after book is written, and consulting with editor.
  • Slow writing.

This section is for all the problems, the things that slow you down, or get in your way. I’ve been struggling with two things:

  1. Is this too much story for one book? If so, then I know I need to make sure I write this so it’s back-to-back releases, which will then mean shuffling the order of my goals and project maps.  My big struggle is I want it to be one book, but the most important thing is telling the story as it needs to be told. 
  2. And I’m a slow writer — which isn’t exactly accurate. I write fast enough, but I follow a lot of plot threads that just don’t work and I end up deleting them. For example, I deleted about 40 pages this weekend that I don’t think are the best scenes for this story. I labeled that as Slow Writing because *I* know what it means.  That’s my obstacle, but I absolutely refuse to sacrifice any story quality to achieve my goal. 

Remember, a Project Map is to help you achieve your goal NOT to stifle creativity. 

Pricing Strategy

  1. Release one full book at $3.99 or $4.99 **or**
  2. Release book one and book two of SV at $2.99 each.
  3. Drop first book in series to .99cents for special promo when second book is release.
  4. In 2017 when book three is released, then do a free 1st in series.

I wanted this in here because things are always changing in the market, and if I notice a stronger pricing strategy before I publish, I’ll put it here to review for when I’m ready to publish. 

Marketing Strategies:

  1. Consult with Publicist
  2. Devise strategy, consult with assistant and assign tasks
  3. Street Team/Reader Group
  4. Netgalley for reviews
  5. FB Ads
  6. FB Share/Giveaways
  7. Marie Force’s New Release FB page
  8. Bargain Booksy, Fussy Librarian, Robin Reads, Ereader News Today(ENT)
  9. Contact Reps for iBooks, Kobo, and blind contact for Amazon

I’ll have a much stronger strategy soon. But for right now, this give me a space to put ideas that I come across. 

 

This is not complete and that’s okay. I’ll fill it in as I go along throughout the year, making any changes or adjustments that come up. I’ve done this for each of my book-goals. What I love about this method is it’s flexible. I can move the final book to 2017, or write an additional book. If any big issues come up during the year—I have what I need in one place to evaluate, adapt and stay on the road to building my writing career.

And that’s my business plan in three sections. If you have questions, please ask and I’ll do my best to answer.

Wishing you all a successful 2016!

8 comments to “Creating A Business Plan: Part Three of Three”

  1. B.E. Sanderson
    Comment
    1
      · February 1st, 2016 at 9:59 am · Link

    As I started reading this, I was thinking ‘Project Map? I could never do that’, but then I realized I already have one – it’s just in my head. Not sure I could put it on paper, though. It might put undue pressure on me that I can’t handle. Some of it is written down as scheduled stuff on the calendar, but the rest? Just thinking about putting it on paper gives me hives. Like thinking about obstacles actually makes me feel like those obstacles are already in place. Or thinking about writer’s block gives me writer’s block. But I’m weird that way.

    Thanks for doing these posts, though, Jenn. They really are very helpful. Here’s to a successful 2016 for you, too! You certainly have laid all the steps in the path, and I have no doubt you can do it. =o)



  2. Jenn
    Comment
    2
      · February 1st, 2016 at 12:15 pm · Link

    B.E., See? You’re doing it already :-) It really doesn’t matter “how” as long as it’s working for you. I reached a point in my life/work where I needed a bit more structure to keep it all managed. It’s all in what we need at the time, I think.

    The important thing is we’re all striving for our goals!



  3. Viki S.
    Comment
    3
      · February 1st, 2016 at 4:19 pm · Link

    It’s interesting to see how you adapt from the books plan to what works for you. The example of using a large pc of craft paper would have driven me crazy too. I make mistakes be wouldn’t want the messy paper ;). What you did in Word looks great.

    As I was reading I was thinking you’re not a slow writer but a perfectionist then I remember this isn’t for me, it’s for you ;). You know exactly what you mean :).

    I’ve really enjoyed these posts. It makes me respect all that goes into writing even more. Thank you.

    Did you get things worked out with your WIP after having a nice dinner out? I hope so.

    Have a great week.



  4. Jenn
    Comment
    4
      · February 1st, 2016 at 6:08 pm · Link

    Viki, thanks on the posts. I know they are long and involved, but if they give anyone some assistance, I’m happy.

    For me, I’m just driven to write and rewrite until the story finally emerges :-)

    I made a lot of progress this weekend, thank you! it’s never fast enough, but at least it’s progress.

    Hope you had a good weekend!



  5. DeAnna
    Comment
    5
      · February 2nd, 2016 at 8:06 pm · Link

    Jen — I aspire to your level of organization! I devoured all three posts in one sitting, and I’m inspired to try your method. Wish me luck :)



  6. Jenn
    Comment
    6
      · February 2nd, 2016 at 9:21 pm · Link

    Hi DeAnna, Thanks so much for stopping by! I’m only about as organized as I need to be, LOL. Last year I realized I need to better plan so I did it, and you can too :-) Good luck!



  7. Debra Young
    Comment
    7
      · February 7th, 2016 at 5:16 pm · Link

    This was a great discovery for me. I lay out a Writing Goals plan each year. I’m going to adapt my plan to a Business Plan as you’ve detailed it. I like this! Thank you for sharing it, Jenn. :-D



  8. Jennifer Lyon (Apodaca)
    Comment
    8
      · February 7th, 2016 at 9:09 pm · Link

    Debby, I’m so happy you found it helpful!



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