2014 Business Plan

Marissa Meyer – fabulous author, friend, and my kindred spirit in list-making — posted her writing plan for 2014 this morning and looked at her business plan for 2013. I remembered that I’d written one last year, too. So…how did I do?

  •  celebrate & promote BORN WICKED paperback release (Jan 3)  (done!)
  • draft & revise (…and revise & revise) CAHILL BOOK 3 (done! My original goal to have a draft by February was wildly optimistic – it took until the end of April. However, I think it was the best first draft I’ve ever written; revisions were comparatively really light.)
  • celebrate and promote STAR CURSED (June 18) (done, to the best of my ability? My father-in-law passed away on the day the book released, so I was obviously preoccupied with family matters.)
  • submit proposal for potential option book  (sort of done? I’m revising the proposal right now with some great notes from Agent Jim.)
  • hopefully – draft most of option book (ahahahaha, no. I had a difficult autumn, writing-confidence-wise.)
  • start a monthly newsletter to highlight author news + my favorite reads (Failsauce. But I think I’m ok with not having a newsletter. If you want to follow my book news, you can always follow this blog, or my twitter, or Facebook. Readers? Does anyone REALLY want a newsletter?)
  • post to blog at least twice weekly, plus monthly to Corsets & Clockwork group blog  (Nooo. Sad. But I’m reviving the Thrice interviews for 2014 debuts and I vow to be more consistent with posts. Readers – is there anything in particular you’d like to see on my blog?)
  • read 100 books (Also no. This is the one I’m most disappointed in myself about, honestly.)
  • Do at least 2 writing retreats   (Done. I did 3.)
  • Be a resource for 2013 & 2014 upcoming debuts  (I hope so? I try, anyhow.)
  • Be a more thoughtful and timely critique partner. (I did critique more last year for friends — though usually not in as timely a fashion as I’d like — and also started a critique business!)

I also went on a Breathless Reads tour in February; participated in the NYC Teen Author Festival in March; did the Annapolis Book Festival in April and the Gaithersburg Book Festival in May; and started the critique business in October. I started teaching after-school writing workshops for a nonprofit called Writopia – which was on my personal goals list – and taught one class last winter, two last spring, five weeks of summer camp, and then one this past fall.  However…the only other personal goal I kept was to get a monthly massage. Looking at this confirms even more my intention for 2014 – to be more consistent in having both a writing life AND a healthy life outside of writing.

I posted lots of goals for 2014 here, but I didn’t focus  much on business stuff. The challenge with that is that I’m at the end of my contract right now – I’ve finished the Cahill Witch Chronicles books, except for the promotion, and I haven’t sold another book yet. I hope to have news on that front soon! But these are my tentative goals, anyhow:



  • revise proposal for YA WIP and send to agent
  • create MG proposal (assuming this idea is as fun on paper as it is in my head)
  • draft YA WIP (assuming someone buys it :))
  • draft MG WIP (er, also assuming someone buys it :))
  • move into cardboard box (assuming no one buys anything) 


  • attend NYC Teen Author Festival in NYC in mid-March
  • celebrate STAR CURSED’s paperback release (April 10)
    • set up book signings (hoping to do this in and around DC, Nashville, Asheville, and Chapel Hill, since my husband and I are taking a road trip in those areas)
    • attend Romantic Times convention in May
    • twitter chat, probably – the one I did for the paperback BW was fun!
    • Set up a street team to help? (Extra chances at ARCs of SISTERS’ FATE or foreign copies and some bonus content, in exchange for helping to promote? Maybe?)
  • Celebrate SISTERS’ FATE’s release (Aug 14)
    • Set up a launch party in DC
    • Possible other East Coast signings?
  • For reals, be more consistent with blog
  • Figure out how Tumblr works and cross-post some material there (Anyone have any tips on this?)

Giving Back

  • teach Writopia class this winter
  • teach Writopia summer camp sessions (I’m going to have to skip the spring session, I think, because of all our travel. Alas!)
  • Aim to critique a full ms through MCS once a month
  • Also critique mss in more timely fashion for friends
  • Post more Thrice interviews
  • Serve as a resource for 2014 and 2015 debuts (my inbox is always open!)

Refilling the Well

  • beachy Breathless sisters writing retreat in February
  • possibly another local retreat in spring or fall
  • read 100 books
    • specifically, make a point to read more MG, more second books, and more diverse work in terms of books featuring POC and LGBTQ protagonists

What do you think? What are your business-y goals for 2014? And do you have any thoughts on newsletters, twitter chats, street teams, or Tumblr? Let me know in the comments!

12 Responses

  1. froze8

    Yay Jessica! I do love lists 🙂

    Here are a few thoughts:

    Newsletter: This can be a great resource to reach readers but you really have to offer something neat to make it interesting. The best newsletters I'm on are the ones that give me sneak peaks and deleted scenes that I can't get anywhere else.

    Twitter chats: YES!! I love Twitter (clearly) and you are always welcome to join in on my chat anytime you are free (and I'd love to have you one week as an official guest if you are up for it!)

    Blog: Blogging can be a great resource too if you find a theme. Too often (even on my end which is why I'm currently reworking my whole blog) blogs tend to be written more for the author than the audience or lack a theme that ties the posts together.

    What I have seen some authors do which I am liking better than blogging right now is vlogs. Somehow video seems more personal and when the author is vlogging to connect with me, the reader, it seems to translate better than text. If that makes any sense?

    Street Team:
    Another YES!
    Do be aware however that depending on how large and how organized you want the team to be the more time it will take to manage. As part of my author assistant work I do a lot of managing street teams simply because it takes up a lot of time. But if you really get a passionate team it can be such a good way to give back to readers while letting them give back to you (a win-win!).

    I do know with WordPress you can download the plugin "Jetpack" and activate their "Publicize" feature which works wonders for publishing posts to Tumblr from the blog. I'm not sure what you use for your blog but that's what I use 🙂

    Okay. I think those are the big points I noticed. 🙂 Hopefully you'll find this helpful!

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this, Kate! I think I'm going to let the idea of the newsletter go. I would like to try and be more consistent and theme-d in my blogging, and also possibly cross post shorter material on Tumblr.And I'm thinking about the street team and twitterchat issues as possibilities for SC's paperback launch. We'll see how I feel over the next few weeks. Like you said, I want to be sure I have the time and energy to develop worthwhile rewards for a street team!

      1. froze8

        You're welcome Jess!Newsletters can be great, mailing lists are super important in marketing terms but you have to do it right for sure. I'm still learning!Having a theme (basically knowing your audience) is key for ANY marketing efforts so I'm sure that will help a lot :)If you do want to be a guest on #k8chat just let me know! I'd be happy to have you! We could talk about Historical fiction or something else if you'd like!And do let me know if you decide to start a street team! I'll be sure to join!Best,Kate TiltonAuthor Assistant &Social Media Manager | Book DesignTemplatesConnect with me!Twitter | @K8TiltonWebsite | <a href="<br />Google+ | <a href="<br />LinkedIn <a href="http://||<br />Facebook | <a href="<br />Are you a book blogger? Interested ingetting more review requests and featuringmore authors on your blog?Join Kate Tilton's Book Bloggers !

    1. Thanks, Alyx! I think I was a bit lacking in that last year – too much focusing on writing or being so exhausted by the writing/worrying about writing that I didn't have much of a life outside of it.

  2. Jennie

    I think your list is great! Well once you crossed out the cardboard box option. 🙂 Good luck! Can't wait to celebrate Sisters' Fate!

    I think you should somehow squeeze in a few midwest signings…specifically like say…Missouri. 🙂

    1. Aw, thanks, Jennie! I'd love to come to Missouri – I've only been once, for a writing retreat in Branson a couple of years ago. But I don't see it in my immediate future, alas. I am thinking about doing a twitter party to celebrate the SC paperback release, though!

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