Successful and high achieving Authorneers know the value of having a plan of action for their books and their business. In honor of International Strategic Thinking Month, I’m going to share some tips about planning for author-based businesses.
Having a working plan, written down and kept-up-to-date is one of the best things you can do for your books, for your business, and even for your life. Yes, life doesn’t always go according to plan, but when you have a plan, at least you know when you’re veering off in the wrong direction!
Having a Plan Helps Your Mindset
One of the worst things that you can do for your productivity is doubt yourself. Self-doubt rarely, if ever, leads to any form of success. What it does lead to is incomplete projects, stressful days, sleepless nights, and giving up.
If you can’t believe in yourself, you won’t be able to put your best effort behind your projects and will end up with half-attempted work and nothing that you can really be proud of.
In order to avoid being overcome with self-doubt, you should have plans that you can enact in case of certain situations. Planning ahead is great because it helps you avoid situations in which you’re caught off guard.
Therefore, having a plan in place helps you vanquish the Mind Goblin of self-doubt. You’ve already made the hard decisions before you were put into a time-crunched situation.
Putting This In Action
- Develop an outline for your book before you write it. As one of my mentors likes to say, “An outline well written is a book half-written.”
- Develop a marketing plan before you market – even better, before you write – your book. This helps you focus on what you need to do and avoid bright shiny objects that come up while you implement the plan.
- Develop a book series plan. Are there other books you can write that will go with the one you’re working on right now? Plan them out so they get done!
Plans Help You Handle the Unexpected
It’s not uncommon for unexpected or unwanted incidents to arise, and you need to be prepared to deal with them swiftly if you want to keep going toward success. By planning ahead, you’re able to know what to do and how to do it when you have to deal with something suddenly.
You should have a few different plans to work off of.
- One should be the plan that you intend to follow assuming that nothing goes wrong. This will be your baseline plan.
- Next, you should make plans for potential hurdles that you might have to overcome.
Finally, you should plan for the worst-case scenarios that you can think of, just in case something truly bad does happen.
These plans can range from being fairly general to very specific. You might have a plan of what to do when your editing process takes longer than you expected. You might have a plan for how you’ll pay for the various steps in the publishing process if a home emergency requires you to use the money you thought you were going to use. You might even have a contingency marketing plan in case any of the pieces of your plan are derailed (like you are sick with the flu on the day of your launch – happened to me!)
How do you brainstorm all these challenges you hope you won’t have, but might? Try doing a S.W.O.T. – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats – analysis. This will help you leverage your strengths and opportunities while anticipating how to work around your weaknesses and handle threats to your plan.
Putting This In Action
- Before you write your book and/or marketing plan, conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis. Invite stakeholders in your success to participate so they can help you see things you might not see on your own.
- Embrace and leverage your strengths and opportunities to help you overcome weaknesses and threats. Now that you know what your resources and assets are, as well as have an idea of what challenges you might face, you can create an even better book outline and book marketing plan.
Having a Plan Helps You Strategically Say Yes
Zig Ziglar once advised that when you are presented with an opportunity, you can evaluate it against your goals by asking yourself, “Will this opportunity take me closer to or further from my goal?” When you have a plan in place, you can confidently answer that question because you not only know what your goals are but when you want to accomplish them and how you intend to reach them.
This is the best defense against Shiny Object Syndrome I know. Successful Authorneers know this, well. And now, so do you!