Once you publish a book or, if you’re fortunate, books, you’re not just creating, you’re running a business. You find yourself with a full complement of tasks that have nothing to do with writing.
The sales, customer service, and marketing departments of that business can easily swamp the creative and editorial departments, demanding and getting a larger and larger share of the only employee’s time and attention. The only employee here would be me, and for a while I was being nibbled to death by goldfish, dissipating time and energy in a dozen directions and getting little done.
But wait a minute! I know how to manage a business, don’t I? Where are those skills when I need them? It isn’t rocket science. 1.Set goals. 2. Set manageable objectives. 3. Make the objectives and performance standards measurable.
So what is the primary goal of a author business? #1 write good books. Not only is it a matter of getting the product out, it is the single most important marketing task. Your next book sells your previous work. So before I fritter my days away cruising social media, writing blog posts, looking for advertising or review opportunities or fussing with my Web site, I have to write.
Numbers work for me. Lately I’m focusing on two key numbers: 2000 and 6000. I write 2000 words daily. Sometimes I am done in a few hours. Sometimes it takes all day, and I don’t get anything else done, but the 2000 come first. 6000? Those are steps. Yes, I know fitbit wants me to do 10000, but I like my number goals to be actually realistic. What do steps have to do with writing? If I don’t get up and move my brain starves for oxygen. Plus, walking for an hour gives my characters an opportunity to talk to me and tell me where to take the story next.
So what is goal #2? Make friends for the company. I’m still trying to figure out which objectives work.
Bean counting, statistics, and productivity. It works if you begin with clearly prioritized goals and you make them achievable. So far so good.
But first, coffee.