Jennifer Lyon
Monday, January 18th, 2016
Creating A Business Plan, Part One of Three

I’m implementing a new feature on my blog: Business Mondays. Today I’m going to do Part One of Creating A Business Plan. There will be three parts in all:

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)

A little background: This is my first foray at creating a serious business plan and I wanted to share my experience with anyone interested. I began with the book:

Your Best Year

I liked the workbook format that helped me focus on what I’ve accomplished in the previous year, articulate my goals for this year and think ahead. Doing project worksheets gave me real sense of how I could develop a project plan that works for me. I didn’t care for some of the touchy-feely aspects of the book and ignored those. This book served as my “base” then I developed out my plan.

My business plan is a work in progress and will continue to be all year long. Nothing is in cement, but it lays out my goals and breaks them down into tasks in the project maps. This is what works for me. You may want an entirely different kind of roadmap for your year.

Introduction: Why do you need a business plan? If you are a writer who is publishing, you are running a business. A plan will help you:

–Visualize all your goals

–Break them down into manageable tasks

–Create a calendar timeline

–Stay on task

–Evaluate your successes and setbacks

–Reorganize your goals, calendar and tasks as needed.

What a business plan won’t do? It won’t sit your butt in the chair and do with work for you. But a business plan can help you stay motivated to hit your deadlines and cross them off your list.

Before I go on, while I wrote up my business plan on the computer, I like a printed copy and a good calendar to list daily tasks. I bought a daily planner type calendar:

daily planner calendar

With both month at a glance and daily pages:

 daily planner month   daily planner with each day

Then attached my business plan to the inside of the back cover of my daily planner:

 

Business plan attached to daily planner

Anytime I change my business plan, I simply re-print and attach it. This is also easy for me to take anywhere I want. However there are many ways, including keeping it all electronic and accessible on your phone or handheld device.

This is what the cover page of my business plan looks like:

Business Plan 2016

Jennifer Apodaca AKA Jennifer Lyon

Author/Publisher

 

 

Content:

Review of 2014

  • Financial
  • Goals, Accomplished, Put On Hold & Revised
  • Successes
  • Setbacks

Goals 2015

  • Financial
  • Writing Books/Novellas
  • Social Media
  • Marketing Plan for Releases
  • Growing Skillset
  • Other Streams of Revenue

Projects

Project #1

Project #2

Project #3

Project #4

 

Now for the Review of 2015. This is important to know where we succeeded, and where we need to improve.  I took out a few things, like my income because I don’t share that information. But in your personal version, it’s a good idea to track the ups and downs of your income. It’s one of the ways we can decide if we are meeting goals, or we need to re-evaluate.

 

Review of 2015

Financial:

Income 2014: Removed

Income 2015: Removed

  • Drop in income was projected. Therefore, met projection but did not exceed them.
  • E-books made up 83.5% of income.
  • Foreign sales 12.7%
  • Audio 2.5% (
  • Print 1.3 % (Just started in print, good potential for increasing sales)

Goals

Accomplished Goals:

1) Revise Exposing the Heiress at publisher request and submit. Published in August

2) Write Caged Magic. Publish in July.

Put on Hold:

3) Write & Publish Savaged Vows

4) Plot Primal Magic

5) Plot Savaged book 2

Revised Goals:

1) Got rights back to Wing Slayer Hunter Books from Random House. Re-released in both electronic & Print:

  • Blood Magic
  • Soul Magic
  • Night Magic
  • Sinful Magic

2) Re-edited and put in Print:

  • Forbidden Magic Novella

 

Successes

1) 2 new books released, 4 re-releases and 1 re-edited.

2) Receiving a RITA Nomination

3) Hitting USA Today List

4) Hiring a Virtual Assistant

5) Marketing Plan for Wing Slayer Hunters and getting first Bookbub ad.

6) Blood Magic hit #2 overall on Amazon

Blood Magic #2 on Amazon

7) Creating spreadsheets to track each book, very helpful

8 ) Being asked to be part of 1001 Dark Nights Discover Authors

9) Met income projections.

Setbacks

1) Exposing the Heiress being moved out of Indulgence category.

  • Should have made stronger case to keep it there

 

2) Getting rights back to Wing Slayer Hunter books was slightly unexpected and threw a major wrench in my schedule.

  • Note: this is also a success as the re-launch went very well
  • But a major decision mid-year caused big reshuffling of schedule and goals.
  • Big time & financial investment.
  • No clear way to measure it against what would have happened if I released two Savaged books.

3)  Not launching news series with Savaged Vows.

  • Will launch in 2016

Link to Part Two, How I set up my goals for 2016.

Friday, January 15th, 2016
Happy Friday

My quest to remake myself into a better, faster, stronger writer and business woman continues. I bought this book:

Take Off Your Pants

Amazon Buy Link

 

To help me write a stronger outlines so I can write the actual book faster. Then I tried to re-outline my current book, Savaged Vows, using this method and ended up looking something like this:

Stressed business woman screaming loudly at laptop in office

 

So Wizard offered me some wine:

Crazy woman with crossed eyes drinking wine through a straw

I feel better now :-)

Okay full disclosure–at some point in every book I stop writing and re-evaluate. This is the point where I rip apart what I’ve written, and what I loosely planned to write, and DIG DEEP for the real story and the real stakes for the character. This is where I start getting the extra crap out of my story and dig to refine my hero and heroine’s goal, motivations and conflicts–these are the things the drives the characters decisions, and those decisions are often made to avoid the thing the character fears most. Then I must construct a plot that drives them right smack into that fear in an explosive and emotionally powerful story.

Easy, right? LOLOL!!!

This year, I’m trying to improve my methods but the truth is that nothing replaces the sheer dogged determination and willingness to keep digging until I unearth the characters and their stories. But I shall keep trying to improve my process in the hopes that one day it will get easier…I’m an eternal optimist that way :-)

And in other news, we did not win Powerball Lottery. Good thing I love writing!

I’m still working on developing my business plan/strategy too. I share what I learn about that once I’m finished.

So what are your plans this weekend? Whatever it is–hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016
Wednesday Worthy & More

I’m trying something new this year. I saw this workbook recommended in one of my groups, and bought it.

Your Best Year

Amazon Buy Link

From the backcover copy:

Your Best Year by Lisa Jacobs is an annual workbook designed to help creative entrepreneurs make your starriest dreams and most ambitious goals come true. It’s for creatives who are ready to stretch their comfort zone and make it happen already in 2016. This edition is bigger and better than ever before. The 2016 edition unveils a new system intended to help you stop the daily scramble and plan ahead for the most productive and profitable year of your life. Here’s to your best year yet.

This year I have some scary-to-me goals, plus a determination to get more control over my goals and workload. So I’m going to start tonight using this workbook. I’ll let you know what I think about the book. But what I **know** is that it’s always good to re-evaluate what I’m doing as a professional and see if I can do something better. Plus change has a way of energizing us, I’m already excited to try this and that enthusiasm has spilled over into my writing.

I do have a very tough decision to make though, because this book is big and sweeping, and it may not end up being one book. And this is what happens anytime I  say never…

Enough of that. No one wants to hear me going on and on about the trials of writing my beloved book. Let’s move on to Wednesday Worthy! Believe it or not, this is a brand new picture I just bought yesterday, but in a very familiar pose. Why? Because I have a thing for arms and chest :-) :-)

Muscular and sexy torso of young sporty man showing his perfect bicep and body. Torso part. Front view

So what do you think? Is he worthy?

Monday, January 11th, 2016
Weekend Roundup

My weekend was all about work. I’m back to it and trying hard to write this book. It’s taken a while to get into the rhythm of writing, but yesterday I looked up and it was three pm, and I was like…what??? Didn’t we just eat lunch?

For some reason I’ve been burning out at writing right about three pm. I mentioned this to Wizard who laughed in my face. “Do you think it has anything to do with you getting up before six and starting to write?”

“Uh…maybe?”

“Or that you’re worrying yourself sick about the book?”

“I haven’t said that.”

He laughed again. “No, but you almost poured coffee on your pancakes.”

I frowned at him. But damn it, it’s true. We were at iHop (don’t judge, people, Wizard loves that place) for breakfast one morning. For those of you who don’t go to iHop, if you order coffee, they have carafe at your table so you can refill your own cup. So the waitress brings our breakfast, I’d ordered blueberry pancakes. I **may**  have been obsessing thinking about my book when I picked up the carafe and tilted it part way over my pancakes.

Wizard practically yelled, “What are you doing?”

“Pouring syrup,” I said, wondering why he cared that I was using syrup.

“That’s coffee.”

So I looked at my hand and sure enough…I had the coffee carafe ready to pour. “Umm, I missed my cup?” I mean come on, who admits to being that much of an idiot?

He smirked at me. “I can’t take you anywhere.”

Ha! I have an answer for this. “I’m not the one that went to the donut shop with my shirt inside out.” Okay yeah, it was waayyy back when the kids were little and Wizard ran down to get donuts for the kids. But he did that! He came home mortified too and confessed that his shirt was inside out. And I have NOT let him forget it.

Besides, maybe I wanted coffee on my pancakes. Okay I’m lying, I was totally distracted, and frankly it’s going to be like this for the next six weeks at least.  I can’t quite figure out how to pull this book off, but I’m hooked and must find a way to give these two the story they deserve.

So how was your weekend?

Friday, January 8th, 2016
I’m Back & Happy Friday!

Hi all! I missed you guys! Happy 2016! I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start!

So first, our vacation. It was good, but it got off to a bit of a rocky start. The plan was for all of us; me and Wizard, the three boys and their significant others to all to up to Paso Robles. Six of us stayed in a rented house, and two+Bailey in a dog friendly hotel. One of us had a stomach flu a couple days beforehand, one back problems and another a sick dog (not Bailey) and couldn’t come up until a day later. But we all got there eventually and had a great time!  We discovered several wineries, and got to tour a wine cave which was really incredible.

Wine Cave 3 Eberle Winery

 

I learned a lot about the process and passion that goes into wine making. They have private tasting room down there that was gorgeous but there were too many people in my way to get a picture. Plus two of my sons were bugging me :-) Seriously they wouldn’t shut up, and kept making me laugh.  FYI, one morning my oldest son showed me a totally inappropriate joke on FB to see if I would blush. I may have obliged him :-) My kids are evil. And I know where they get it from. In this next picture you’ll see me laughing with Wizard. This is the real me with him — I can’t even remember what he said to me, but it was likely very inappropriate. Or he was making fun of my hair.

 

Dan and me

The above picture is Calcarious Winery, and it’s absolutely stunning up there. So pretty it took my breath away. There’s a long winding, mountain-like road to get up and down, and that’s where we met this guy:

Deer on way daow from Calcareous Winery 2

Wizard and I then headed to Solvang. We planned to spend two nights there, doing a bit more wine tasting, and just hang out and walk around. But the weather was cold and wet, with a huge (for Southern CA ) storm in the forecast. We decided to cut our losses and head home the next morning. We’re so glad we did! The storm hit the next day and washed out part of the 101 freeway, which would have left us stranded. That was very fortunate for us! But not so much for all the people who did end up stranded.

We came home with four bottles of wine. (We aren’t big spenders, LOL)

paso robles 004

Which we are saving for special occasions.

And now I’m back to writing, panicking and not sleeping. I took a serious wrong turn in this book and learned a hard lesson. Stop turning onto interesting side streets and TRUST MY STORY! Plus–have I mentioned this before?–I hate my process! It is such a mess until one day it magically comes together. I’m still waiting for that day. Although I read over some opening chapters and they don’t suck…so…fingers crossed!

As for New Year’s Resolutions, I only have one: Be the best version of me that I know how to be.

Okay tell me how you all are doing! Did you have a good New Year? Are things getting off to a good start? ARe you keeping resolutions?

 

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
Wednesday Worthy

I’m going to try to put a post up on Friday, but if I don’t, then I want to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that 2016 is a year filled with joy and success for all of us!

Now let’s go to Wednesday Worth in Review. I’ve gone through and picked a few that got a good response. Now it’s up to you:

#1

Romance at Random fireman

#2

 

Healthy muscular young man after a workout on dark background.Fitness man holding a green towel against dark background.Strong Athletic Man Fitness Model Torso showing abs. holding towel.

 

#3

joe-manganiello-shirtless-people-07182014-04-675x900

 

#4

Female hands on a man's body on a black background

 

#5

Bailey dragonfly in his chair

Okay I’m kidding on #5 :-) But if you had to choose #1, 2, 3 or 4, which would you choose?

And again, if I don’t post on Friday, Jan 1st, have a great New Year! I’m going to be traveling, getting in mischief, plus instigating shenanigans and may not get back to this blog until Friday, January 8th.

Monday, December 28th, 2015
Weekend Roundup

In all the holiday craziness, I only took one picture.

Bailey visits christmas 2015

Of course it’s Bailey dog.  Here he is with the toy Santa brought him for Christmas. Bailey is ridiculously easy to please, one $4.00 squeaky toy totally made his day. He carried it everywhere. In this picture, he’d been sleeping and I woke him up to take the shot. The look on his face is the ultimate patience of a dog putting up with humans and their weirdness.

All in all, Christmas was great. The dinner I cooked that night…not so much. Basically we ended up dining on soggy tamales with too spicy filling and the spanish rice came out in a soggy clump. However Biker Witch (my sister) saved the meal by bringing two awesome pies. She managed to find the elusive boysenberry pie and a lemon cheesecake. We ate a lot of pie, LOL!

Wizard and I also went to see the movie SISTERS. We thought it was pretty funny, and one scene in there had us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to ruin it.

This week I need to work but I also am getting ready for a vacation. My writing has taken a back seat to the holidays, family and a million things. Yesterday Wizard was gone and I thought I’d have the whole day–then Youngest Son (BLB) came by and I ended up talking to him forever.

However I worked last night so that’s something! Everything got so off track after wizard got sick, it’s frustrating beyond words. But all that said, I’m looking forward to 2016 and launching this new series, plus Ethan’s book in the 2001 Dark Nights collection and I’m sincerely hoping I can writing Eli’s book for the Wing Slayer Hunters.

How was your Christmas and weekend?

 

JenniferLyon.com