As writers we’re great at developing character and plot arcs, but we often don’t give much time to thinking about our career arc beyond “finish book, sell book.” Hopefully we want to write more than one. Hopefully we want to sell more copies of each subsequent release. Hopefully we make more money with each book.
So how do we make that happen?
We need a business plan.
A business plan doesn’t have to be scary. It’s just an organized way to help you realize your dream. It doesn’t have to be anything formal, unless you’re looking for investors. It just needs to be specific and measurable. You need to set deadlines, and each step must be within your control, eg. “Submit novel to five agents by June 1st,” not, “Sell my book.”
Where do you start?
Start with the big picture, your dream, the thing that inspires you. Then break it down into smaller, easier, doable chunks. Accept that it will probably take longer than you expect. (Plans can be revised.)
It’s a lot like giving directions to your house. Just remember to give yourself a little extra time and a few alternate routes in case a street is closed due to construction.
It’s all part of treating yourself as seriously as a writer as you want others to treat you.