7 Ways to Create a Book Business Plan for Each Book

7-ways-to-create-a-business-plan-for-each-book

While I’ll be writing, I’m not participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrMo) but I bet you are!

Congrats. If you are, perhaps this post is of double interest.

This summer, I wrote a blog post on:

8 Simple Ways to Go from Author to Authorpreneur

In it, I gave a few basic bullet points on how to transform your writing into more of a business model. Since many of you enjoyed it, today, I’d like to follow up with preparing to publish the actual book.

In my first post, I defined an Authorprenuer as:

“A play on Entrepreneur, an Authorprenur is an author who has turned their work as a writer into a full-blown business.”

While every writer should adopt some elements of business (since writing is a business after all), Authorprenuership is distinct in that as an author you are interested in more than writing and publishing books alone, but that you’d like to incorporate other business models as well, either based on your book or that utilize other skills that you have. It means that you are interested in merging elements of writing with entrepreneurship, which is another definition of Authorprenuer.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan, in brief, is a written document on the plans, goal, and overall creative vision of the business. It is what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. It includes an Executive Summary, Market Strategy, Company Description and so on.

Of course, you don’t need all of this for your book. What I’d like to share is not for you to create an entire complicated business plan, but for you to take elements of the business plan and apply it to the pre-launch strategy of each book that you write.

Disclaimer. The Book Business Plan has nothing to do with whether you’re a bestseller and nothing to do with how many reviews or books you have. Any writer, even the writer who has not yet published, can create a Book Business Plan. It’s just another way to help to keep you organized.

  1. Name Your Book

Obviously, the first thing you want to do is come up with a name for your book. If it helps, you can skip this part and come back to it later. The Book Business Plan isn’t intended to go by any order in particular, just to help in the process.

Naming your book is very important as industry experts cite the books title as the second most effective way to hook a potential reader (Book Cover Art is the first). It may help to move onto the next point first to help you to come up with the title. Just be sure to come back to this step and to take it seriously. Give it some serious thought.

  1. Write a Log-Line for Your Book

I love log-lines and they are usually my first step to writing a book. Log-Lines help me to get an understanding of what the book is about before I start to write and it is almost always just the push I need to get words on the page. I got into writing them when I was studying how to write a screenplay. Log-Lines also help authors to learn how to pitch. (I like to time myself! Can I describe my book in under 60 secs?)

According to Wikipedia:

“A log line or logline is a brief (usually one-sentence) summary of a television program, film, or book that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both a synopsis of the story’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest. A one-sentence program summary in TV Guide is a log line.”

A log-line refrains from using character names (not all, but most) and giving away spoilers. Below are some examples of log-lines from movies:

Logline #1 – The extraordinary story of a thoroughbred racehorse – from his humble beginnings as an under-fed workhorse to his unlikely rise and triumphant victory over the Triple Crown winner, War Admiral. – Seabiscuit

Logline #2 – A 17th Century tale of adventure on the Caribbean Sea where the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow joins forces with a young blacksmith in a gallant attempt to rescue the Governor of England’s daughter and reclaim his ship. – Pirates of the Caribbean

Logline #3 – After segueing from a life of espionage to raising a family, Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez are called back into action. But when they are kidnapped by their evil nemesis, there are only two people in the world who can rescue them… their kids! – Spy Kids

Logline #4 – Toula’s family has exactly three traditional values – “Marry a Greek boy, have Greek babies, and feed everyone.” When she falls in love with a sweet, but WASPy guy, Toula struggles to get her family to accept her fiancée, while she comes to terms with her own heritage. – My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding

Logline #5 – A young man and woman from different social classes fall in love aboard an ill-fated voyage at sea. – Titanic

  1. Write Your Book Summary

 “A book summary is a brief written piece describing the main points of a book. For non-fiction works, the summary usually briefly describes each main point covered in the book and the author’s conclusions. For fiction works, the summary describes the plot, main characters and theme.”

Next, write a summary of your book. This is your “Business Description” part. Personally, I do this after I’ve written some of the book and have an idea of how the story is coming together, but that’s not usually recommended. The best thing to do according to most people is to write your summary before you write the book, it just doesn’t work that way for me. I’m not going to tell you to do what most people do. I’ll just say to do what works best for you. Writing usually starts pretty much after the log-line for me.

Either way, a summary of your book is a great addition to your books business plan and can help you to start the book if you have not already. This gives you a chance to expand on the log-line and it also helps to get a greater understanding of the story.

  1. Book Marketing Budget

One of the most important things for me to write down and to seriously organize is my Book Marketing Budget because when push comes to shove, how much money it will take me to make this book available is going to be a major determining factor. Why? Because I’m broke. (Why else?) No matter how little it will take to publish your book, it’s going to cost something in the end (even if it’s just the cost of your print books). So, the next part of your book business plan is the marketing budget.

It will help determine your options for publishing and marketing this book.

Open a Word Document or Excel Spreadsheet and document the cost of everything you need to produce this book and I mean everything. How much will the book cover cost, cost of print books, bookmarks, business cards, that PO Box you talked about getting, and funds that will go toward promotional products and whatever marketing you will do.

Total cost of Publishing This Book $_______________

  1. Book Marketing Strategy

Of course, if you have a Book Budget then you need a marketing strategy.

The purpose of your marketing strategy should be to identify and then communicate the benefits of your book to your readers. Your purpose here is to deliver value and to create long-term relationships.

I don’t like to get too technical, confuses me. So, to make this simple (as you want your plan to be as easy to read and understand as possible. Remember, this is for your eyes only after all), begin your marketing strategy by looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will make your previous plans make more sense.

For instance, if your goal is 50 reviews on launch day but you have not established an author platform yet or you’re already a few weeks from launch (which will make it impossible for people to finish the book in time, let alone review it), then this is a weakness toward you being able to realistically achieve this goal. You can therefore go back and tweak your goal. Maybe you’ll strive for eight reviews or ten.

  • My Strengths
  • My Weaknesses
  • My Opportunities
  • My Threats
  1. Publishing Timeline

My favorite and most exciting one is Publishing a Timeline for my book (because it means publication is near!) Not publish as in post it to your blog or anything, but just something you write down and keep to yourself. In this timeline, you are listing the goal for this book on a month by month or week by week timeline. We’ve all heard that long-term goals are a series of short term goals. Do not try and move the whole mountain, but carry it away one pebble at a time.

Your mini goals can be a lot of things: a title by a certain date, book cover art completion, a certain number of advanced reads, editorial completion. You choose.

When making these decisions, be sure to use S.M.A.R.T. goals here — they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive.

Publishing Timeline

______________

Goal: Write your goal for this book here. Be as specific as possible.

Production Starts By         Review Copies Sent        Book Released By

  1. Executive Summary

In a business plan, the executive summary is first but it helps to write it last. Write down your plans for this book. This is for your eyes only so make it simple. Some questions to consider: Which platform will you use to publish? Will you publish this book in eBook and paperback or one or the other? Will you purchase your own ISBN Number or use Createspace freebies? How much is book cover design for this book?  How will you go about garnering reviews before, during, and after the book releases? What marketing strategies will you do to get the book noticed? When will, this book be released? Will you host a party? Book signing?

When you are finished writing the executive summary, copy all of this in a Word Document and put the Executive Summary at the top of the page, followed by the other bullet points.

Save this as a PDF document and store it away in your files. Edit it whenever you are working on a new book to reflect that book specifically. You can even title your plans after that book so you don’t mix it up with the others.

Refer to your plan anytime you need a reminder or a little push in getting your book published.

UPDATE: This post has been updated. Instead of the form (which I’ve deleted due to issues) simply use the contact page and I will send you a FREE sample Business Plan Layout for Your Book!

 

7 Common Sense Reasons You Should Build an Email List

  1. Direct Communication

Many Indie Authors don’t see the immediate need for an email list until after a book is born. That’s because after a book is published we come to see the pertinent role emails play in driving traffic to our blogs, websites, and increasing revenue. According to The Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the USA and according to The WordPress Beginner Guide, in our business, email lists get 10 times higher conversions than social media campaigns. One reason is because of direct communication. Also known as Electronic Mail, e-mail has been around forever as a way to directly communicate over the web.

While it’s unrealistic to think all (place number of subscribers here) of your blog followers are going to be reading your content and providing feedback, the hope is that at least half of them are. How do you know? Sure, someone may like your blog post and comment but that’s not a genuine system of measurement. A blog can have lots of followers with only a handful of views or lots of views and only a handful of feedback, and so on down the rabbit hole that is blogging. But then, ahh but then!

But then there’s the email list. Briefly, the email list is not the same as someone subscribing to your blog. When someone follows our blogs via email, they are opting in to receive email notifications of new blog posts. This is not an email list. This is someone following your blog. An email list is literally a list of email addresses and names of people who are highly interested in your content and thus gave you permission to add them to your list. The good thing about the blog is that many of those same blog subscribers can easily turn into email list subscribers. The email is essential for gazillion reasons but mainly, here is a direct line of communication. You can even monitor the open rates of your emails and see which of your subscribers are opening your mail consistently and which of them are not.

  1. Your email list subscribers are your real supporters. This means that they are the people who will actually invest money into your business

I’m not saying that the people who follow your blog or who support you already won’t support you because they’re not on your email list. I am also not saying that every email list subscriber will purchase your product(s) or open your emails. Not at all. What I am saying is that emails are personal. People get flooded with tons of emails a day and for them to give you permission to send them one is a BIG deal. How is it that some authors have people waiting for their next book? Fingers on the Buy Now button? There are many reasons but one of them that I’ve come to notice personally is the email list. I’ve noticed that many of the people on my email list are the same people who put their money where their heart is.

When people give you their email address, they are giving you permission to contact them and to connect with you on a deeper level. As a result, they are more than likely to actually purchase your next book. Not to say you should build one just for that reason, but email lists really narrow it down far as who is really true about their support and who is just doing lip service.

  1. An email list is the only communication asset that you actually own online.

I’m sure we’ve heard this a million times but its worth repeating. Of all the faith we put into Facebook, Twitter, SEO, and other things, email is the only true source of electronic communication. If all of these social networking sites come crashing down, email will prevail.   True story:

Before I really got into social media, before Facebook and before blogging I would send email shouts out to my email list of family, friends, and people who bought my books before. Many of you already know because you are one of them! Remember those days I’d email you on the release of my poetry books? Ahh, the memories.

Anywho, back to the story.

I didn’t know anything about landing pages, Lead pages,  Mailchimp or any of that. Though I’m still learning, I didn’t know a thing. Nada. Zip. Targeting those people already in my email was just common sense. It was the only way I knew to get the word out. I was green to selling books online but sometimes simplicity is wisdom. So, in not having all of the big brain marketing insight, I did the only thing that made sense: I sent promotional shouts out to my email contacts and was unknowingly doing what many email marketing services have you to pay them for.

The only difference is that I was doing it the hard way. It was  my first real stab at getting serious about my work. Once people started to email me for orders consistently (back then I was strictly paperback), I decided to create a website for the first time.

  1. Social Media is the traffic driver to your email list.

One thing I’ve admittedly not done is take as much advantage of my social media pages as I should have. Social Media is not about selling books directly, in my opinion. Obviously, we all want to sell more books online (don’t be phony, you know you wanna sell more books!) but consistently pushing buy my book links gets old eventually. Social Media is about building relationships and making connections. New relationships = visibility and reach. Visibility and reach = readership and readership is the platform.

  1. Feedback

When people subscribe to your email list they can respond to your emails just by clicking reply and give you valuable feedback. Why is it valuable? Remember, these are your real supporters. They can let you know what works and what doesn’t, helping you to create better and consistent content that targets your audience interest.

  1. Every Successful Business Has One

Name one successful business, entrepreneur or otherwise, that does not have an email list opt-in or use the old fashion style of emailing in some capacity, in general? I’ll wait. There are two reasons for this that I’ve identified in my experience dealing strictly with emails (again, before I got into social media and blogging):

#1: Email is the best form of marketing. It’s low-cost and allows companies to easily and effectively spread information about their products and services, both to existing customers and potential ones.

#2:  Our email subscriber list is the real deal. It lets you know if your business is growing or not and for Independent Authors this is massively important. Of all of the Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, IG followers, AND blog followers your email is the truth. Why is it the truth even more so than your blog numbers? Because its targeted. Meaning, these are the group of people who are specifically interested in your content. Really interested. They didn’t just follow your blog but they took it a step further and subscribed to your personal email list.

If I had 8,000 Twitter Followers (which I don’t lol hee hee), and 1,000 email subscribers, you know what? My real number is closer to that one thousand! This isn’t to say the 8,000 aren’t genuinely interested but that these one thousand are highly likely to support versus the 8,000 because they are already tuned into the content on a personal level. You can even break it down further when you  look at open and click rates. If 1,000 people are subscribed but only 500 open the emails on a consistent basis  then those 500 are even more likely to support. But…

It’s less about the open and click rates and more about the conversion rates. That is, how many of those supporters have we converted into buyers, and how can we  aim our marketing strategies and focus toward the activities that’s going to not just increase open and click rates, but also generate revenue. Again, this isn’t to say its all about the money (because its not, its actually all about the relationship and connection) but keeping this in mind will remind you why you should never buy an email list. Apparently that’s a thing? I didn’t even know what buying an email list was but apparently instead of building a list on your own you can buy one. I’ve even read that you can rent email lists! That’s just lazy. Click Here to learn more about buying email list and why you shouldn’t because I’m getting a headache just thinking about how stupid that is.

But I digress…

So you see, email also makes it easier to track interest and thus, create relevant content:

“According to research conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, 93% of email users have opt-in relationships with a consumer brand, as opposed to 15% on Facebook and 4% on Twitter (according to Chris Brogan, president of New Marketing Labs).”

The point is that email lists remain one way to make it easy to gauge the reach of your support system. Interestingly enough, with all of the advice (and carefully strategic opinions) out there I’m surprised there isn’t more talk concerning how to build and maintain the email list.

  1. An email list gives you the opportunity to connect with people who are not active online or who are technologically deficient

“It’s true that email is fighting with other services for online communication, but it is still ubiquitous in a way that other social media networks are not. If you want to reach the majority of your audience, email is still the safest bet.”

– Smashing Magazine

I talk to my husband all the time about the differences in how I saw technology when I was just a student in Chicago versus being an adult running my own business. Back then Facebook didn’t exist, (Myspace didn’t even exist!) and I didn’t know anything about blogs. Granted, I’ve taken computer courses but although I enjoy technology, I was at a time in my life where I wasn’t into the social media thing. It was just a different world for me on so many levels. However, even though that was years ago, I am always surprised to discover how many people are still not into social media.

Aside from updating their Facebook posts, you’ll be surprised to discover that a lot of people are just unaware of how to browse the web in its basic form, and not just browse the web, but are aware of its many uses. This is where your email list can make a huge difference. Back in the day when I didn’t know much about the online scene one thing I did have was email. It was a big thing back then and guess what? It still is!

“It’s worth noting that people tend to be members of multiple social media websites simultaneously, with varying degrees of involvement, but they usually have only one or two active email addresses. The email address remains the unique identifier online; you use it to log into almost everything, so it would take a lot for it to become obsolete.” (Smashing Magazine)

People who don’t spend their lives on Facebook, Twitter, and other social outlets will have an email address for sure. (I’ve also found that people who are not online are more interested in getting hardcopy, paperback books as well as opposed to digital. It’s always wise to have your books in both formats).

Well, I am off to find something else to do but I sure do hope these tips have helped you. So, go on. Start that email list!

But wait, EC I’m not an expert…

Secret #1: Worried about what to include in your email list? Don’t! You don’t have to know EVERYTHING. No one person knows everything but we all know in part. If you’ve ever been good at something or done something that got you positive results, then you’re an expert at that thing and don’t let any so-called professional tell you any different. Expertise just means knowing more than the person you’re targeting and no one should know more about you than you.

Tidbit: You can always just start with updates as your first few emails if you’re not sure what to provide to your list. Or you can release free exclusive chapters of works you haven’t done yet or just talk about something fun like how you got started writing. Just make sure that you’re offering something of value.

Nugget: Just like with your blog posts, compose your emails in a conversational manner and avoid “preaching to the choir”. Just be cool, calm, collective, and professional. People aren’t stupid so we don’t have to speak to them like they are. Your email subscribers are special and should be handled with care. One negative of emails is that they’ve been around so long that they are easy to ignore. People unsubscribe and delete emails everyday so when we can build an email list (no matter how small), our supporters deserve all of the value we can give them. Showcase your real self. OK wait, some of you shouldn’t do that! I mean your real polite self.  I like to keep my emails fun. At the same time, there is a level of professionalism that must be maintained as well. Obviously, we don’t want to just lose all common sense  ; )

Secret #2: As much as I didn’t want to, I recently upgraded my email. I now use my own personalized business email for my email list instead of my Gmail account. Here’s why you should too if you get the following message:

 screenshot-75

In case you can’t see the words, it says:

“Subscribers with Gmail addresses might not receive Mailchimp campaigns with a Gmail from email address. This is because several free email providers have changed their authentication policies. “

What It Means

This means that if you’re using a return email address like Gmail or Yahoo and you’re also using an email service that has upgraded their authenticity policy (like Mail Chimp but not just Mail Chimp), Gmail and Yahoo may not allow those emails to go through because a lot of Spam users create bogus emails using Gmail and Yahoo email addresses (I know, boo). This may account for your low open rates as many people are probably not getting the emails.

*****

These secrets are usually reserved for my email list, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to see what you’re missing. I’m considering writing a memoir and you know what? Friday, my subscribers  received the first potential chapter! They are the first to see the unedited, raw, and uncut first chapter to what can become the book about my life (if I so decide). In fact, I’m releasing the first five chapters. (On my list? Didn’t see it? Check your email!)

I’ve talked some time ago about doing video tutorials and I’ve officially started production on my first video. I am releasing these tutorials to my email list ONLY so don’t miss out.

Just click on the image below to subscribe. You’ll be taken to my landing page where you can enter your name and email address. Easy Peezy.

Note: Entering your email means that you’re subscribing to my email list for more secrets, nuggets, tidbits, novel excerpts, sneak peeks, resources, spiritual and writing encouragement, the list goes on and on.

ATTN. I HAVE UPDATED THIS PART SINCE SOME OF THE INFORMATION, LIKE THE TUTORIAL SERIES, IS NO LONGER RELEVANT. TO SUBSCRIBE TO MY EMAIL LIST, CLICK HERE.

10 Winning Strategies For Your Author Event

I love it. Very inspiring. Live events are definitely winners. Post Quote: “Selling lots of books is awesome, but so is meeting people who know what you’re going through and who can help you get to the next step.”

Making Money in a World Addicted to FREE—What Do Writers DO?

Most excellent article. Worth the read for Authors and Aspiring Authors.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Might I suggest one of these... I think we need to renegotiate the terms…

One of the reasons I did such a detailed post about the pop culture and how it’s impacting artists (A Culture Addicted to FREE) is that for us to make any solid plan, we need to gain a good understanding of how things are being run and also grasp current consumer habits.

To fix any problem, we must be aware of what are called operational constraints.

Operational constraints are any real or potential roadblocks in the way of our goals. If you ever do a S.W.O.T. Analysis, which I strongly recommend, it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Any time we do business—which writing IS a business—we need an accurate picture of the terrain so we make wise business decisions and can plan ahead.

Image via Wikipedia Image via Wikipedia

The entire reason for me blogging about the impact streaming could…

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Black Entrepreneurship

“Yes, let me get a beef and cheese please.”

I stood in observation as my husband passed the cashier the card to complete the purchase. It was nice and warm out yesterday and the Little Caesar’s boomed with life. The bright orange and yellows of the colors blended perfectly with the chipper atmosphere that always accompanies warm weather. The young woman in front of us bounced around, smiling and joking as she completed the purchase, buzzing around the restaurant to finish other things, like what the young man behind her (slightly older, I round him off to be eighteen) was pulling up on the laptop. Yes, the laptop. Maybe it too wanted to take part in whatever it was going on up front, eager to be cradled in the arms of its owner. As my nose preoccupied itself with fresh dough and pizza sauce, I let my eyes roam the rest of the store. The warm ovens and counter-top blocked my direct view, however the bodies spilling over the sidelines and walking back and forth did not allow for much obscurity. Plus, the cooking area that I could not see wasn’t very concealed, resounding like the halls of a high school, the chit chatter of non business conversation floated into the air. An older woman sat waiting for the remake of an order as if she’d rather be watching the news, and a young man with three small boys came in behind us. The itty bitty’s could not have been more adorable, though they looked like three little men. Two of which sported white t-shirts and blue jeans, Jordan’s, light complexion, and a head full of what we used to call bee-bees (when the naps let you know it’s time for another haircut). These boys looked to be no older than a year and appeared to be twins. The other boy was darker in complexion and a couple years older with softer hair outlining a Mohawk. He was, by far, more outspoken if you will and decided it was time to climb on top the counter and see what all the commotion was about. He even decided he’ll stand up and had plans of jumping until his father caught wind of his body in his arms. Whew, that was close.

A couple more customers came in, two young women. The sun was out and so were they. I smiled at my husband who preoccupied his eyes with his cell phone. I’ll tease him about all the booty standing in his way later. Let’s just say there were enough thighs to go around. They were there to see if such and such had come into work today and discussed this with their friends, emptying conversation over the tops of counters and over the people’s heads.

As I sat back and watched this scene play out before me, feeling more and more like this was my kitchen and my children had invited their friends to dinner,  I began to wonder: “It would be nice if the same black people who worked this store could also own it”. They are so content right now, making the hourly wage that could support Jordan and cell phone habits. But, what if we taught young people to look at their 9-5s as potential businesses? Often we ask ourselves, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” But our interest never completely change as we transition into adulthood. They are just better developed but they never completely change. So instead of the ancient “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Is it possible to start asking the question: “What do you enjoy doing?” And, “in what way can you turn that into a business idea?'” If you work part time at a restaurant, why not see what it takes to own one like it one day? If you like doing hair, why not set out to have your own shop and list of clientele? Housekeeping at a hospital? What does it take for you to become licensed and contract yourself out to hospital chains and apartment complexes?

I could go on and on about why I think Black Entrepreneurship is important, but it is best that we look at the facts together:

“Koreans own the beauty supplies and nail shops; Arabs and Mexicans own the fast food restaurants and liquor stores; Jews / Europeans own the banks, pawn shops, and other lending institutions, and east Indians own the gas stations. The so called African American owns little to no businesses in his own community.”

ncmutualindus

African Americans are the biggest consumers and yet they own no businesses within their own communities. To be a consumer means you are not an investor, you are not an owner, you are instead a spender. Before the collapse of one of the most prominent African American communities in the nation, the dollar in the greenwood community of Northeast Tulsa Oklahoma rotated 36-100 times before it left the community. This means, the people in that community spent money at the local stores before going outside that community. For instance: Clothes bought at Elliot & Hooker’s clothing at 124 N. Greenwood could be fitted across the street at H.L. Byars tailor shop at 105 N Greenwood, and then cleaned around the corner at Hope Watson’s cleaners at 322 E. Archer. Today, the dollar leaves the black community in less than 15mins.

Writing Tips For Self-Discipline, Motivation, Confidence

This is a continuation of the post I just posted. I split them up because I did not want to make the previous post too long (yea, I know about your attention spans). Below are some tips from Jennifer Blanchard to help Writer’s to stay disciplined, stay motivated, and hopefully, to also help to keep us confident in the areas we need it most:

Planning

When You Can’t Write, Think!

If all you can manage is semi-coherent babble on a page, it’s best to stop and think. Dream up suitable ideas and titles for projects you have to complete.

When you do some research and come up with key points, you may find that the topic invigorates you, thus providing you with additional motivation to write. Sometimes, the research is the most rewarding part of writing.

There is nothing like immersing yourself in a topic to spike productivity.

Embrace A New Environment

Good luck trying to be creative in a family environment! If you have children running around, a nagging spouse or the incessant noise of traffic to deal with, it won’t take long for motivation to dwindle.

If it’s at all possible, rent out a small office space where you can have complete control over your work environment. When you’re content, words flow far more easily on to a page.

Alternately, you could try writing at a public library or a coffee shop, where the environments are a little more controlled. Or if you have to write at home, invest in some noise-canceling headphones.

Set Your Own Deadlines

While many writers may curse a demanding client, the majority of freelancers are secretly delighted. Having someone give you a definitive deadline is an excellent way to keep you motivated.

You know that failure to finish the work on time loses you a client and brings you one step closer to that dreaded 9-5 job you left behind.

If you have relaxed clients, don’t allow yourself to slip into the comfort zone. Set yourself daily targets and meet them consistently. High quality work and productivity equals happy clients!

Rest When You Need To

This may seem counter-productive in a discussion about motivation, but working when you’re exhausted never ends well. You normally see a drop in quality and have to incur the wrath of your clients.

This in turn demotivates you as all you can think about is the hard work you put in which was not recognized.

When working on a computer, you need to take small breaks every couple of hours. Go outside and take in some fresh air for a minute or have a cup of tea/coffee and just relax. You’ll find that you return to work fresh and motivated.

Exercise Regularly

This almost seems to be a clichéd tip, but exercise releases feel-good endorphins and bumps up your energy level.

If you have a long day of work planned, break it up with some exercise. It doesn’t even have to be strenuous; a brisk 20-30 minute walk is just fine.

When your job involves sitting down all day, lack of exercise can cause severe health problems. Combine this with a propensity to feast on convenience foods all day long and you have potential issues.

Be Accountable

You need to confess your lack of productivity to a friend or partner. This isn’t as much about cleansing your soul as it is about getting a kick in the rear!

If you spent the day watching soap operas instead of earning money, you need to be held accountable. As there is no boss or co-workers to tattle on you, an accountability partner is the next best thing.

Hopefully, this person can chastise you when necessary and help you with motivation.

Join A Writing Class

Perhaps you lack the motivation because you don’t have belief in your own writing ability. One of the quickest ways to lose interest in something is the realization that you’re not good enough.

But you love writing don’t you?

If so, take a writing class and become an expert at something you love doing. There is a litany of scientific studies available which prove that people have the ability to learn anything in rapid time as long as they have a genuine interest in it.

Think of taking a class as an investment in yourself.

Get Off Your Backside!

A comfortable chair is necessary when you’re working long hours as a writer, but it can also be the very thing to stop you being productive. When you lack motivation to write, a nice soft seat is the last thing you need.

Invest in a standing desk and do some of the work standing up. Medical studies have shown that sitting down all day is very bad for your health and that standing burns far more calories.

Working from a standing desk is not easy, but it takes you out of that comfort zone and motivates you to work rather than waste time.

Set yourself targets: For example, you can’t sit down until you have completed five articles.

Also, be sure to stretch every day, which will help with the tightness in your lower back and hips from long periods of sitting.

Maintain A Laser-Like Focus

While multitasking seems to be a fantastic way to get things done, it isn’t a useful tool for writers seeking motivation. Avoiding the practice of writing by checking email and using social networking sites at the same time is only harming your work.

When you focus on a single task and follow through until it is completed, you will be infinitely more productive. When you try to work on several things at once, you’ll often find that ideas are lost along with motivation for the task.

While all of the above tips will not work for everyone because we are all unique, it’s virtually certain that at least a couple will prove useful to you. Keep motivation high and consistent top quality work and the accompanying plaudits will follow.

What The Heck is Author Branding?

writing_as_professionalAh, the freedom of Self-Pub, gotta love it right? You can write as many books, covering as many angles as your full heart desires. Romance, Sci-Fi, Historical, Biography, not even the sky is the limit. But what makes your Romance novel stand out from the rest? What makes your History book the best? Self-Publishing is not like other businesses. It is not a jewelry store, a brightly lit collection of possibilities. A host of shiny things that pretty much sell themselves. It is not a restaurant, a place where menus lay open for people to see and to choose. When I walk into Burger King I know exactly what I want and how I want it and I know what I am getting. I already know what to expect from the food. But book publishing is different from other businesses because there is a lot to learn and there is a lot to do.

writers-block2I think the most challenging aspect of Self-Publishing is being able to prove to your target audience that your book is worth buying. Especially as a new author. It is critical at this point that we show ourselves to be set-apart from the rest. That we garner the kind of trust in our readers that we have in Burger King. That when people pick up one of our books they know they are about to have it their way. That was corny, but the point is that they know that the journey in which they are about to embark on is a good one. Have you ever picked up a book and did not have to question if it would be a good one? That is because, like your favorite restaurant, you are familiar with the taste of the authors’ words and the way they move around in your mind when you read them.

writing-groupWhat is an Author Brand? As a Self-Publisher, it is not something that immediately comes to mind. In the midst of writing and editing and book cover design, branding is the least of our worries. Of course we think about it (eventually), but when we set out to write a book Author Branding is not at the top of our list of priorities. It is a term that is heard among literary agents and blah blah blah. We are Self-Publishers after all. We make and break our own rules. But, being a Self-Published Author does not mean you live on Mars. You are, after all, part of the world and in the business of publishing. It doesn’t really matter if you publish traditionally or if you self-publish, we can all benefit from learning more about the business, which is constantly changing.

AuthorBrand

Author branding in short is basically how you want to be known as an author. The good thing is that many of us have already begun a form of Author Branding by establishing our perspectives and personalities as we blog.

“Serious writers who want to succeed as authors should include branding in their early success planning. A strong brand helps an author in the same ways it helps a company. It gives you name recognition and helps you sell your products—your books.” – Nina Amir

I know, Branding sounds like a lot of work. Makes me think about large corporations and blah blah blah. But, the good news is that little ole me can establish a form of branding without hurting my brain with talk from branding experts and people with more degrees than hairs on my head. Below are six simple branding tips for authors as suggested by Nina:

Here’s how you start: Think about how you want to be known as a writer. To determine this, consider:

• the types of writing you want to do
• the subjects about which you want to write
• the types of stories you want to tell
• the themes you want to cover in your work
• the ways in which you want to serve your readers
• the clients or customers you want to attract
• the spin-off books (sequels or series) you would like to publish
• your values
• your interests
• your passion
• your purpose

Does something stand out? Is there one quality, topic or aspect you’d like to highlight so that you become known for it? If so, this is a good place to start. You then can create logos, taglines and websites that feature and highlight this concept so you become known for it. This becomes your brand.

literI like using myself as an example because no one likes to hear about the adventures of invisible people. I am flesh and bone and person so here goes. I suck at branding myself in the name area. I know what is required to establish myself across the web and yet I continue to move away from it (hey, maybe that is my brand, ha!). My Author Website, my blog, and my social networking sites pretty much have different names. I know, that sucks, but that’s me. I’m A House of Poetry, A Literary Korner, and a PBS Blog, it doesn’t get any more different than that. I am the brand far as I’m concerned, so like, whatever.

You can either be special like me or you can use this tip:

• Use your brand statement across all your social networks.

Use the same title, tag line, photo and colors, etc., across all your social networks, as well as in articles, videos, and guest post, and always provide a link “home.” This helps you get you known quickly and easily and is another way to strengthen your brand once you’ve developed it. And tie everything you do back to your author website.

Yea, sure. I’ll think about it.