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The Flip-side of Writing: Creating a Writer's Business Plan
by Tequitia R. Andrews

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced writer, you could benefit from having a writer's business plan in place. Not only does a writer's business plan helps you set writing goals, but it can also improve your odds of publishing success and keep your writing on track. Here are the four basic elements of a writer's business plan.

1. Description

Describe what type of writer you are or your specialization. Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both? Maybe you write greeting cards, screenplays, or copywriting. Whatever genre or field of writing, define it.

Also include your writing goals. For example, you could write, "As a fiction writer, I would like to have published one novel within the first year and three novels within a five year period". Try to be very specific in what you'd like to accomplish.

2. Marketing

A big part of writing is getting publishers to buy what you write. Thus, the marketing element of your business plan is very important. First, research your customers. Find out what they want. Read what they have on the market now. Once you know that information, target the ones who are interested in what you have to offer.

The number one marketing tool for writers are query letters. They can be your one-way ticket to publication or the trash bin. Send them out as frequently as possible. Some additional marketing tools for writers include networking and free publicity. You can network at writing conferences or workshops. Get some business cards and by all means, give them out. Free publicity can be helpful, but be careful. It's okay to do the occasional free article or newsletter to get your name out but too many free writing assignments and you're no longer in business. The point is to get paying customers.

3. Financial

Speaking of getting paid, it's important to manage properly the money coming in and going out. You can hire an accountant or do it yourself. If you do it yourself, then you must be aware of what receipts are important to keep, which items are tax deductible, and how much money it requires to cover the day-to-day needs of your business. Have budget in place for items like supplies, equipment, and fees. There are many accounting software available that can help like, Quicken and MS Money. Also, keep your personal finances separate from your writing finances. It makes it easier to decipher what is what when tax season rolls around.

4. Managerial

Have in place a plan to run the day-to-day functions of your business. This includes clerical and administrative work. How are you tracking your submissions? What system will you use in filing work that has been published versus those awaiting publication? What about meetings with clients or subjects to be interviewed? Decide on how they will fit into your weekly schedule. You may want to designate one day a week for meetings and a couple days a week for clerical work. It's up to you and what works best.

Give your plan a test drive for a year. After which, sit down and re-evaluate it. Look at what worked and what didn't. Edit it to suit your needs. Your business plan isn't set in stone. It can be flexible enough to grow and adjust with the changes of your writing business.

© Copyright 2002, Tequitia R. Andrews

Tequitia Andrews work has been published in All About Kids, Indy's Child, MainStreetMom.com, and CreativeHomemaking.com.

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