It’s time to think strategically

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By Scott Bury

It’s the solstice. The year-end approaches. At least this year, we’re not worried about the world ending at midnight tonight. Now is the time for festivities, gatherings with loved ones, eating and drinking a little too much and being determined not to worry about the credit card bills … until next month.

For the most successful people, this is also a time for starting to implement those strategies for the coming year.

Authors as business people

As members of the Guild of Dreams, we’re a pretty dissimilar bunch, with a wide range of writing styles, habits, approaches, genres — and market success.

If that sounds a bit business-like for a group of creative people, that’s because I’m encouraging us to think more like business people. The book field is an extremely competitive, fast-moving market. If any of us hope to carve out the slightest sliver of presence in it, we’re going to have to recognize it as a marketplace and ourselves as sellers of products. Marketers. Business people.

The authors who sell the most books treat their activity as a business.

Think strategically

I have to admit I’m not the greatest business type person in the world. But over the past couple of decades that I’ve been selling my words, I have learned that you’re a lot more likely to succeed at something if you have a detailed strategy to achieve it.

I am asking every member here, and every writer, blogger and reader who looks at this page to think strategically about your career as an author and about the success of this group. Set some realistic, if ambitious, and measurable goals. (Check out George Doran’s SMART project management approach.)

These should not be just a number of book sales. Your strategy has to list a lot of specific steps that will help you achieve your goal. What will you do to increase sales? When will you write your next book, who will review it, edit it, design the cover, take care of the production of an e-book or a paperback?

Are you going through Amazon exclusively via the Kindle Select program, or will you list it in the other e-tailers as well?

What is your promotion plan? How will you contact book reviewers? What is your social media plan? What will you do on Facebook, how frequently will you tweet, what will you do to increase your number of followers on Goodreads?

A collaboration challenge

As individuals, we don’t have the ability to make much noise. But if we work together, strategically, we can raise the profile of the group and its members.

I don’t think that one person can devise the ultimate strategy. This is my challenge to the group as a whole for the coming month: let’s each of us start to propose some ideas for a group marketing strategy, suggesting some specific actions that we can take, and share them. And together, let’s find the best ideas and put them together into a specific, realistic and measurable strategy, and then volunteer to carry out tasks and activities according to what each of us thinks is our individual strengths. Know a lot of book bloggers? Think you can raise the Guild’s profile among them? Willing to spend the time to do it? Go for it.

Sure, your efforts will be on behalf of others, as well as yourself; but teamwork, as we all know, can achieve great things.

Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Cheery Holidays and I look forward to reading your thoughts on this!

Pic-ScottBuryScott is the author of the historical fantasy The Bones of the Earth and the contemporary occult fantasy Dark Clouds. He lives in Ottawa with his wife, sons and cats. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog, Written Words.

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6 comments on “It’s time to think strategically

  1. I think there are certainly things we could do to better promote ourselves and the Guild, Scott. Everything from Bruce’s idea for a ‘review’ post that covers a variety to topics and resources to better communication/coordination on releases. New books draw interest! I loved having some guests posts here, which added new voices to the mix. And maybe we need a Guild FB page…? And someone who actually replies to Guiild Tweets and FB posts (rotating duty?). Geez, five minutes ago I didn’t think I had any ideas… lol. Let’s talk and get ourselves organized!

  2. We do have a FB page, but we use it to share among ourselves. Perhaps it’s private, and we could use a public page?
    I think the idea of a rotating duty for different roles is great!

  3. As a regular reader of this blog, I’d love to do a guest post. Autumn had asked me about this a few months ago, but things were hectic then. If the guild is still open to the idea, I could write one for January.

    I am a goal setter. A month ago I wrote a business plan and made a list of things I want to accomplish in the next year as well as in the next five years. I’ve already set things in motion to accomplish this. The goals are realistic, but will not be reached unless I continue to work towards them. I also have goals to where I want to be in ten years, but of course, that’s a long way off, so they are open to change.

    I find goals to be great motivators.

  4. Pingback: Independent authors are making progress | Guild Of Dreams

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