Jennifer Lyon

Archive for the 'Business Plan' Category

Monday, January 9th, 2017
Quick Review of 2016 Goals

Before I start, Good, Bad & Sexy is up for pre-order for 99¢ at all the vendors now!


Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook /  ibooks / Kobo / Google Play

I’m going to do a quick review my two main goals from my 2016 business plan,  including where I met my goals, exceeded them and where I fell short.

Okay let’s go:


  • I planned to write three full length books and a novella.
  • I succeeded in writing and releasing one novella. SUCCESS
  • I wrote one full length book, but held off publishing it until June of 2017 in a revised marketing plan. SUCCESS AND FAIL. I decided that the one book I was writing was too long for a single novel and decided to write three full-length connected books. (My editor agrees and thinks it’s my best work yet—we’ll see if that’s true.) Changing the strategy midstream was a creative decision, but there’s cost to that on the business side of things. It slowed my production for 2016 significantly.
  • I failed to write Ram’s book, Primal Magic, in the Wing Slayer Series. FAIL. And it bothers me every single day, but I have to finish this Savaged Trilogy.
  • My conclusion? Pretty plans get shot to hell by creative needs sometimes. But more seriously, business plans are a document meant to guide, not lock us in. I think writing the Savaged Trilogy will work out long term, but there will be some short term pain to make it happen. And this is part of taking the big risk for big rewards.

Financial Goals: SUCCESS.

  • My 2015 income had a projected drop. So for 2016 I wanted to increase that by 25%. I exceeded this goal dramatically.
  • The reason? Marketing and Strategy. A chunk of that marketing and strategic plan began in 2015, so much of this is long term planning.
  • My conclusion? Marketing and strategy are important to a long term career. But it’s not as important as the books themselves.

Some thoughts:

  • I believe in a business plan. I have mine in a less formal format this year, but it’s still written out. My publishing plan, financial plan and marketing plan. It’s all fluid and can change, but I know what I need to be doing and what goals I’m working toward.
  • I believe in big goals. I hate failure—it’s painful, scary and sometimes humiliating. But I have learned how to succeed from my failures.
  • I have too many “rabbit holes.” Rabbit holes are the things that distract me from what I should be doing—writing. This year the whole election was a nonstop series of rabbit holes. I kept clicking on news articles to read and videos to watch instead of writing. Avoid Rabbit Holes at all costs! Right now, Wizard will walk by and call out, “Rabbit Hole” if he sees me doing it.
  • Life is not a Rabbit Hole we can avoid. 2016 was filled with medical crap and one major scare that turned out fine. This year is starting out with Wizard having surgery at the end of the month. Life happens and we just have to change and adapt as it comes, and so should our business plans.
  • Marketing and Strategy are even more important as the e-book market is slumping and sales are falling off dramatically for most authors I know. Readers aren’t just one-clicking anymore. We have put that book in front of them and that takes marketing and strategy.
  • I will always wish I could write faster and more efficiently.
  • And this is for all of you. Dream big, then break that down into goals and go for it. You can do this!
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:


Jan – March

Savaged Vows: Book 1 of Savaged Illusions Series


April – May

Novella (Ethan and Ana’s Story)


June – August

Savaged #2: Book 2 of Savaged Illusions Series


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.



Jan – March

Savaged Vows: Book 1 of Savaged Illusions Series



2/5    1st Draft Finished

1/21  Cover Designed

2/29 Deliver to Editor, first round

Write Blurb


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.


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!

Monday, January 25th, 2016
Creating A Business Plan; Part Two of Three

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

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)

Before we get into the Goals for 2016, I’d like to share why I decided to create a business plan.  About half way through last year, I received the rights back on my Wing Slayer Hunters books from Random House. While this is great news (thank you Random House!) it also created a huge dilemma for me. Did I go ahead with my new series I wanted to write, or invest the time and money to re-release the Wing Slayer Hunter Series? I had to choose as I couldn’t do both in 2015. As I struggled to make this decision, I realized I didn’t have a real road map of my plan for the year, or my long range goals.

In order to make the decision, I laid out a plan for the remainer of 2015, beginning with a long term goal. Ultimately, I decided I want to try to write both a paranormal and contemporary series, and therefore chose to re-release the Wing Slayer Hunter Series in 2015, and launch the new contemporary series in 2016. Then I’ll write both series at least until I finish them. That ambitious of a plan meant I had to get very serious about time management and focus. With that in mind, I decided to create a business plan for 2016. **Note that in 2015 I also began diligently tracking my sales by book, month and vendor which has been tremendously helpful in evaluating my goals.**

So my business plan will:

-Set ambitious goals.

-Create the content to meet those goals.

-Create marketing strategies to increase sales.

-Keep control of the tasks by breaking them down into project maps.

-Gives me a clear overview of my goals and tasks so that when I’m faced with new circumstances (like getting rights back from a publisher, or an unexpected offer) I have the information at hand to help me evaluate, change and adapt my plans.

So now here is my 2016 Goals with my comments added for the purposes of this blog in red.

GOALS for 2016

Section A: Financial:

1) Increase 2015 Income by 25%

  • 2015 had a projected but significant drop from 2014. Met 2015 goal but did not exceed it.
  • E-books are nearly 85% of income in 2015, so major focus will be e-books.
  • Print books were only 1.3% with very solid potential to increase sales there.

Note that having a spread sheet that breaks down the sales for each book by month and vendor, gives me a clear view of where my income sources are coming from. However I did not post those spreadsheets here.

2) Strategy:

  • Write/Release 3 full books, one novella (some of that income will rollover into 2017) This is KEY, I must have the content to sell to achieve my goals.
  • Continue with free 1st in series pricing strategy for Plus One Chronicles and WSH (Wing Slayer Hunter) series.
  • Marketing to re-energize Plus One Chronicles around release of Ethan’s novella. That will bring limited income to go toward 25% increase.
  • Big push on WSHs on release of Eli’s book, Primal Magic.
  • Marketing campaign for Rock Star book. Talk to (Name of publicist removed)
  • Make sure books are all in print at release, using Create Space and check out more options. (Ingram Spark and others).
  • Do a Goodreads Giveaway with print.

Goals are awesome, but strategy is where we being to lay out the plan to get from the dream to reality.

Section B: Writing Books/Novellas:

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

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

3) Savaged Novella, Ethan and Ana’s Novella (Project #2)

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

Because this is the creating content, I gave it it’s own section. Project Maps (noted in the parenthesis) is where I break each book down to tasks, and “calendar” it. You’ll see that my Projects #s are not listed in order. That’s because I’m going to write them in a different order than I release them. Why? Because Project #2 is a novella that I contracted with 1001 Dark Nights. Since I’m absolutely committed, know what I need to do, and it’s shorter and faster to write, I will tackle that before I move onto the two bigger books. This works better in my schedule.  However I can change around order anytime I need to.

Section C: Social Media:

I gave social media it’s own section in Goals because this is the number one way I connect with readers and therefore very important to me. I am always looking for ways to improve that connection, and frankly to give back to the readers who support me. But I must also manage my time. So I’m listing it here, and I’ll tackle each one as I have time, or in some cases, give it to my assistant to handle. 

1) Street Team

  • Revise to Reader Group.
  • Devise questions and prizes

2) Newsletter—increase by 50%

  • Monthly newsletter begin in Feb.
  • Contests

3) Blog; Add Business Mondays with more content by me and guests.

  • Industry Guests
  1. I removed a list of names I have to ask if they’d like to guest blog on the industry for privacy reasons.
  • Author Guests
  1. I removed a list of names I have to ask if they’d like to guest blog for privacy reasons.
  • Craft Topics (by me or others)
  1. Burnout (writing a book I knew had no chance.
  2. Internal Conflict
  3. External Conflict (Do a series of blogs on internet/external/building stakes, black moment/resolution
  4. Character Flaws
  5. Humor vs Emotional
  6. Best Friend Characters (good and bad)
  7. Antagonists
  8. Definite your storytelling theme (the one thing that repeats itself over and over in your stories
  9. Tropes: How to use them to plan, write and promote your books.

4) Facebook

  • Get fan page authorized
  • Promo 1001 Dark Nights and friends.
  • Run Ads

5) Twitter

  • Learn to advertise.

6) Instagram

7) Pinterest

  • Interests: books, food, desserts.

Section D: Marketing Plan for Releases:

There is not much here yet, but I will fill it in once I make some final decisions on releases. 

Section E: Growing Skillset

1) Develop Workshops

  • Internet/External Conflict
  • Emotion
  • Tropes
  • Developing a Business Plan

This is one of my long term goals actually, to grow, learn AND to share my knowledge.

Section F: Other Streams of Revenue

1) Foreign Markets

  • Pitch WSH series to German market
  • Pitch SI series
  • Explore new options

It’s always wise to be looking at expanding our streams of revenue. The market can change fast, and sometime brutally, and the best way to be as prepared as possible is not NOT have all our eggs (or income) in one basket. 

Link to Part Three: How I created a project map for each book or novella.

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





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


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


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)


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



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.


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.