Monday, January 5, 2015

It’s resolution time!

How about instead of posting lofty goals, (which I tend to forget about far too quickly!) let’s look back at 2014 and assess the success of our business? Most of us on this blog have been writing long enough we’re used to thinking of our writing as a business, but have you set up a balance sheet? Assessed your inventory?

Sidebar – my tag line is “mystery with a financial twist.” The interviewer for an online magazine’s (I’ll add the URL later) first question began: Finance is boring. Why would anyone read a financial mystery? Ouch! I hope I finessed that question.

So back to our assessment.

Step 1: Create your balance sheet. List your titles – your primary asset – plus any other writing you have to offer, including WIPs and blog posts – your inventory.

I’m leaving your income statement alone. J

Step 2: Your 2014 goals (can you actually find them?) Did you accomplish your goals from 2014? (And how did you do versus 2013?)

Most likely your first goal was “write/publish X books.”

If you wanted to write, sell, or publish four books this year but you only managed two – why did that happen?

Setting lofty goals is simple and wow, but do we know the best-laid plans can go sideways. What happened that kept you from writing X books? Did your son or daughter make that traveling gymnastics team and carpooling/chaperoning bounced your writing time? Were you responsible for an elderly parent? Or like my friend Julie, did your daughter expected you to be the babysitter for her child? Family usually takes precedence over our plans. (Hmm…huge topic for another day.) Did your day job change (like mine) and all of a sudden you’re a road warrior with a huge project dumped in your lap? Or did you simply run out of steam—why?

Step 3: List the things that prevented you from accomplishing your goals.  

Maybe 2014 was amazing! You wrote and sold more than your goal; you hit Amazon category, USA, or NYT lists! Yay!

Step 4: List what went right in 2014.

Beyond the “no one really knows” why a particular book will hit is a lot of hard work. Did you commit to X words a day and set a time to write? Did you work harder to release those books? Harder how? Even if you aren't certain why 2014 went better, list what might have been a factor. Did your blog receive more traffic? Did you prepare and turn in guest posts? (All those posts and guest posts should be on your inventory list, by the way.) Did you spend more time tweeting? Employ certain ads/promotional campaigns? Did your publisher help promote? How? Take a wild guess if you aren’t sure.


Congratulations. You’ve just created your business plan for 2015.

You know what you have or don't have in terms of inventory to offer. You know why you did or did not succeed in reaching your goals in 2014. You know the personal-life elements you have to consider, even if it’s how to work around obstacles. You know what your obstacles are. You know what succeeded for your stories and personality.

Now you can make your 2015 resolutions, except you’re setting business goals.

Best of luck in 2015!


What are some of your goals?

4 comments:

Rita said...

Love this Cathy. I like looking back at the things that went right. For myself I understand working on a better me leads to an easier life all around.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Voila! A business plan! I love that.

2014 went pretty much according to plan (thankfully). I'm working on setting up my plan for 2015, but my options are wide open since I'm starting a new series, so I'm in that "trying not to set lofty goals" stage. ;)

Cathy Perkins said...

You're so right Rita! Focusing on the positive :)

Cathy Perkins said...

I live to serve Anne Marie :)

Have fun with the new series!