Peering Into 2014

Mindy KlaskyMindy Klasky
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Following up on John’s post from yesterday…

Anyone who has read my posts here knows that I’m very interested in the business aspects of writing, including the care and feeding of a strategic plan.  My strategic plan helps me to know when I’m on track for the career that I desire.  When I try to decide whether I have resources (time, money, energy) to devote to a new idea, I can check it against my strategic plan.  If the activity in question doesn’t advance the plan, then I’m much less likely to make the investment of resources.  When I question whether I’m making progress and whether my career is where I want it to be, I can measure with my plan.

So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m hard at work on my 2014 strategic plan.  As always, there are personal goals I want to achieve.  I won’t bore you with those.  But I will outline my plan’s career goals for the coming year.

My primary business goal is to increase my income by 50% over what I earned in 2013.  At first glance, this multiplier seems huge.  While it’s a substantial goal, it’s not as daunting as it might seem at first glance.  My 2013 income was somewhat lower than my 2012 income (for reasons largely related to cash flow — I received no major contract payments from a traditional publisher in 2013 — and partly related to a softening in the self-publishing market).  I believe I can overcome those weaknesses with my updated strategies.

Those strategies include:

1.  Build the DIAMOND BRIDES baseball romance series.  (I have two novels drafted, one outlined, and general plans for the remaining 6.  The first launches on March 31, 2014; the last will launch in December 2014.  I am approximately one month behind in my writing; however, I’ve scheduled nine days of writer retreats in January, to help make up for the lag.)

2.  Build the MAGICAL WASHINGTON light paranormal romance series.  (I published the fourth Jane Madison novel, about a librarian who discovers she’s a witch, in 2013.  I intend to draft one more by the end of 2014.)

3.  Procure an additional traditional publishing contract.  (I have two strong contenders that will be on submission in January 2014; I have another strong middle grade story idea that I can develop later in the year, creating a synopsis of the first volume and short summaries of additional volumes.)

4.  Extend non-fiction freelance work.  (I have raised my hourly rates — as I do at the beginning of every year — and I have specific strategies for acquiring more freelance law-related work.  This strategy is actually a “toggle” — if I land the major goals above, I will not seek to expand freelance work further than my current client base.)

5.  Expand my social media presence.  (I will continue to blog on my website — www.mindyklasky.com — at least three times a week.  I will build my Facebook presence — https://www.facebook.com/mindy.klasky — posting status updates at least three times a day.  I will build my fledgling Twitter presence — https://twitter.com/MindyKlasky — with multiple tweets a day, exploring the platform more to determine an appropriate posting schedule.    At the same time, I’ll endeavor to limit distractions, streamlining my social media usage so that I can accomplish the other strategies listed above.  (And yes, each of you can help me to maximize this strategy by friending and following me on those sites :-) )

So.  There’s my 2014 in a nutshell.  How about you?  Is/are your major writing goal(s) different from your goal(s) in the past?  What major strategies are you employing to achieve those goals?

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11 comments to Peering Into 2014

  • Mikaela

    I’m not as organized as you, but 2014 will be busy for me. I tend to write novellas and novelettes, and I’m finally taking the plunge to selfpublish. Eeep. So in January I’m contacting editors for the first novella, while finishing the first draft of the third, and preparing to edit the second.

    So I’ll have a busy spring, but it is a good kind of busy. :)

  • […] I’m at Magical Words, talking about my strategic plan for 2014, including updates to my 2013 plan.  You can read about my insane goals and strategies to achieve them here:  http://www.magicalwords.net/mindy-klasky/peering-into-2014/ […]

  • Mikaela – Best of luck! (And it sounds to me like you’re plenty organized :-) )

  • I promise I will dedicate some weekend time to my goals. They are in my head but i need to see them on paper. Uh — file. Mmm — screen. Yeah. That’s it.

  • sagablessed

    Like Faith, I have goals. Sure. Really. Ummm….there ::dig around computer:: they seems to have been lost except for finishing the WIP. And finding work to support my sorry tuckus and feed Monster.
    Beyond that I make no promises.

  • My goal is just to write. For several years I’ve been waffling between wanting to write and wanting to continue making video games. I finally made the choice to do NaNoWriMo and was successful at that. I’ve since uninstalled all of my programming tools, archived 20 years worth of programming projects onto an external drive and off my computer, and deleted every programming related link I could find. I even went so far as to cancel my web hosting account and remove my business website and blog from off the face of the internet, and set all of my domain names to expire instead of auto-renew. (Okay, I kept twistedhelix.com, because that’s kind of an awesome domain name, and there’s a novel in me somewhere with that as the title).

    So what I’m saying is that I’ve attempted to remove every distraction possible in order to set myself up for 2014 to the be the year I reinvent myself as a writer.

  • Mindy: It’s great to see someone establish stretch goals with target dates. I learned from running a company that it’s very important to have set goals that require focused attention, to set deadlines, and to share those goals especially with anyone whose help will be crucial for you to get the job done. I published my writing goals on my blog (http://petergpollak.com/blog) earlier this week.

    Dave: If I may be so bold to suggest you’ll find yourself happier 12 months from now if you set firm goals, such as a number of words per week or completing specific tasks by set dates rather than aiming “just to write”. In another network a man wrote that he had 14 incomplete novels. I suggested that he prioritize the list based on how long it would take to finish each and do the one that will take the least time first, but the point is that without holding yourself to targets, it’s possible to end up with dozens of half-finished projects, which, I don’t know about you, but would make me depressed.

  • Wow, Dave, that’s quite a dramatic change. Best of luck with it!

    My mission statement way back in 2011 was, “To make a successful living as an author, published by a traditional publisher in the young adult fantasy genre within the next five years.” And while I might not make that goal exactly by 2016, I think I’ve made major progress.

    I’ve listed my goals on John’s post. But now for strategies to stick with my plan. Continuing in that vein, to keep at it:

    1. The first goal is to acquire an agent. Which means doing all that I can for that. Right now, since I was selected as an alternate, I’ll pour everything I have into PitchWars. Should nothing come of PitchWars, I’ll continue querying agents. Should nothing come of *that*, I’ll turn my eye to small presses. I’ll give myself until the end of 2014 for querying this piece before considering other options.

    2. The next goal is to work on other projects so that I have more marketable work. By the end of this year I would like to have a solid finished piece from the urban fantasy. I also want to have a good draft of the new YA fantasy complete, too.

    3. The third goal is to be flexible. Should the best possible outcome occur with the current novel I’m shopping around, I’ll devote time to writing the other two books in the trilogy. There is no target date for this because it’s more of a series of If-Thens. Realistically speaking, all of my goals are because of this. But should this occur, then goal #2 will likely have to change. Either way, the point is tangible, productive forward movement.

    So 1. Market myself, 2. Diversify my product, 3. Be flexible, and 4. Keep at it, no matter what. :)

  • My strategy for this year is to make a schedule and stick to it. I have to wait and see exactly what my teaching schedule is, then add in office hours and grading time, then I plan to schedule specific times each day for writing (and exercising). In the past I’ve had a looser approach, just saying I had to write X hours per week. But with the busy teaching schedule I have this year, the day job keeps bleeding into the writing time. I think/hope a daily schedule will help fix that problem.

    Of course, the best laid plans. . .

  • khernandez

    Mindy, I’m dabbling in the self-published world these days… or I’m going to, when I get mine done. I have a friend who is writing a YA series, self-pubbing one every 3 months. I thought her schedule was crazy, but I just have to tip my hat to you.