The online diary of a dreamer creating Contemporary Romantic Fiction - because Every Woman needs Love and Laughter in her Life.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Thinking Ahead


QUESTION FOUR. How can you grow your business so that THE BUSINESS takes on a life and identity of it’s own and you can scale it up?

You have a talent or skill, and you can use that skill as a writer and create a business.

You are a self-employed entrepreneur. CONGRATULATIONS!

What does that mean for you as a business person?
At the beginning you might be making the pitches to publishers and agents, and running everything from your kitchen table/backbedroom/cupboard under the stairs.

Which is fine if your vision sets that as the limit of your business. But to GROW and BUILD that business, you may need a lot more. Start working on the skill sets you need to grow THE BUSINESS.

Think of any small business in the UK making a product for sale.

Think of the skill sets needed to run and develop that business. These could include:

DESIGNERS. They design a product to meet the needs of a particular customer. That is you - with a clear understanding of what each publisher is looking for, and how it fits with the product/ product range you want to create.

PRODUCTION. Someone makes the product according to the design agreed with the customer. That is you - the creative genius.

SALES
. They talk to customers, create and initiate business ideas and sell those ideas to their customers. Then track sales. Delivery. Customer satisfaction. Do you need a Literary Agent who can be your Sales Person - an expert who knows the customers you want to sell to, and what they are looking for at the moment. The agent only earns money when you sell - so this is a win/win partnership. OR - you can do it yourself.

MARKETING AND PROMOTION
. What makes you different from other writers? What makes you unique?

This is where BRANDING comes in. What is your Brand? Why should anyone in the publishing world, from the girl on the bus on the way to work, to the editor, remember and associate with you?
Oh yes – this girl specialises in Tudor Seafaring/ Paranormal Erotica. Let’s call her.
In other words, WHAT IS YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT?
IF you are working with a publisher - they will clearly play a crucial part in the promotion for your work. But there is a lot that YOU can do to market your work.
This is a HUGE topic which depends on what you are trying to sell and to whom. Readers? Or professionals? The whole team has to come together to decide the type of platform you want to create.

FINANCE. Tax. Balance Sheets. Salaries. Do you need an accountant? At what point do you inform the Tax office? Do you need to start paying National Insurance to make sure you have a State Retirement Pension? Do you have your own personal pension? Health insurance [ if you cannot work and you are the only designer/manufacturer that could be a problem.] Who is going to complete my tax returns?
FUNDING. Investment in the business. Do you need to put together a business plan and arrange a loan?
LEGAL. Do you need to form a company -a legal entity? Who is going to advise you about that? This may only become important when you have reached a point in your income, but it is still worth having in the back of your mind.
Each one of these is a specialised skill - and a complete new blog entry, not for here.
At the start, you are doing all of those tasks. Alone. Or with help from friends.
YOU are the team. But there may well be a point where it makes sense to get other people to be part of the team which makes up your business - effectively become your business partners, which is why you have to select them with just as much care as in any other business.
Why would you go into business with someone you don't like? Or respect?
You are still working for yourself - your own boss. But you may want to focus on what YOU do best. The writing.
What's playing on my YouTube right now? Toxic and the Guys from Roswell. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KqDFWKCeYHs

2 comments:

Nell said...

Finance - shudder! I must admit I've been really glad of the workshops on marketing, promotion and general business things that I did before I was published. I still blunder around but I learned a lot from those workshops and talks that have been worth their weight in gold. Everything happened rather quickly for me once my first book was accepted and I wouldn't have had the time to search those things out now.

Ray-Anne said...

Hi Nell
THis is one area where I am making an effort, but WHEN I sell a book, I suspect I will still be horribly unprepared. Sigh.