Very often, an author will be asked if they are a plotter or a pantser. People are typically asking how the author writes their stories: by carefully plotting out the story or just sitting at their computer (or pad of paper!) and writing. But there is another kind of planning you should think about: strategic planning for your overall writing/publishing goals.
Some people like to think in grand schemes (“I’ll sell half a million copies of my masterpiece in five years.”) without much planning. That’s called dreaming. It’s not a goal based in reality—you know, actually writing the book, taking care of any research if it’s needed, getting it critiqued, edited, formatted, reviewed, and sold.
Take a look at D.D. Scott’s plan for next year. Here is an author who actively takes time to plan what she wants to accomplish. She asks herself almost 20 questions about where she is having success, where she needs to readjust her goals, and reviews her financials and yearly sales.
Now, maybe this is more in-depth than you want to get, but it gives you a great place to start brainstorming for the next year. Will you write more? Less? Have your pricing strategies worked out the way you wanted them to? Are you reaching your target audience? Are you still having fun?
I know some of you are doing this type of stuff already. I’ve gotten some general target dates to expect manuscripts from some of my regular clients (thank you, by the way!) in 2013. This helps them keep themselves accountable to someone and, frankly, it helps me to plan my year. I’d hate to plan a vacation for the very week one of my clients absolutely, positively has to have their manuscript back!! And I noticed a general uptick in inquiries and editing requests for November in preparation for December sales (have to fill that Kindle or Nook with something, so it might as well be YOUR newest release, right?), so I’ve had to disappoint some people when I got booked so quickly for November and December.
But a little planning can go a long way. Remember—the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!