It’s Write O’Clock: Do You Know Where Your Contacts Are?

Writers In The Storm welcomes back literary attorney, Susan Spann, with her next installment of her author’s business plan series.

susanspannBy Susan Spann

Welcome back to our ongoing series on writing an author business plan!

We’re almost through – just two more sections to go. Today, we’re taking a look at Section 6: Operations and Management.

The Operations and Management Section of the author’s business plan contains a detailed list (sometimes more than one) of the people and entities on the author’s publishing “team.”

On one page, you should list each step in the writing, production, distribution, marketing, sales and fulfillment process for the book or other work in question, along with the name and contact information of the person (or company) who is responsible for its completion. Some authors prefer to use spreadsheets. Others like organizational apps, and still others use word processing software. The key is finding the method that works for you.

I recommend making two separate lists:

List #1:

The first is organized chronologically in accordance with the book’s production and publishing schedule.

“Writing the book” comes first – and yes, you should include that even though you’re the responsible party. Other entries might include peer editors or critique partners, professional editors, publisher names, marketing personnel and publicists. Independent authors may also have cover artists, distribution contacts, and printer information.

List #2

The second list contains all the names and contact information of everyone taking part in production, publication, and marketing the bookorganized in alphabetical order for easy reference.

With the two-list system, the author uses list #1 – the chronology – to make sure each person does his or her job in the proper order and time. When properly cross-referenced with the production timeline, operations and management information is a powerful tool.

List #2 is the quick reference guide and also a helpful resource for the future. Smart authors often add notes to the contacts, identifying the ones the author intends to work with again on future projects.

The length and complexity of this section is mostly a matter of author preference.

Some people work from a list of contacts containing only basic information like telephone numbers, email and mailing addresses. Other writers like having a detailed list that names each person involved in the publishing process, along with specific functions that person will handle. At the end of the day, that choice is up to you.

At a minimum, each author should have a list of the names and contact information of people involved in the publishing process.

Keeping that information together, and easily accessible, helps the author save valuable time and energy. After all, every minute you don’t spend hunting down numbers is time you can spend on writing!

Are you writing your author business plan with us as we progress through this series, or saving the posts for use later? Do you have questions for Susan?

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Susan Spann is a publishing attorney and author from Sacramento, California. Her debut novel, CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, July 2013), is the first in the Shinobi Mystery series featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori. Susan blogs about writing, publishing law and seahorses at http://www.SusanSpann.com. Find her on Twitter @SusanSpann where she founded the #PubLaw hashtag to offer law and business instruction for authors.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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14 Responses to It’s Write O’Clock: Do You Know Where Your Contacts Are?

  1. Susan, I am saving all these posts for the day I need them. In the mean time I am learning valuable skills. It might take a while for it all to sink in, however, with these easy to follow instructions, even a disjointed person like myself can’t go wrong. Thanks so much … I do so look foward to each segment🙂

    • Susan Spann says:

      I’m so glad to hear the posts are helpful. Business plans and legal issues can be confusing, so I’m trying very hard to make them easy to digest and use!

  2. Laura Drake says:

    Oh, nice, Susan! I thought I was organized, but you make me look like a slacker! Like Florence, I’m saving ALL your articles! Thanks for blogging with us!

    • Susan Spann says:

      Thanks Laura! (I hope you’re feeling better and recovering quickly.) I love being able to blog here at WITS – so thank you and all of the other WITS bloggers for having me!

  3. Sharla Rae says:

    This is such a good idea Susan. I’ve done this with other projects so why didn’t I think about for my writing?!

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Because we’re ALL that way! I was thinking the same thing, Char. I never remember to do stuff like this for my writing. Geesh.

      • Susan Spann says:

        Jenny is right – it took me a long time to get organized for my own work – and I counsel other people about it all the time! The good news is, it’s never too late to get organized!

        • I always mean to do it. Then, well, then … Ah well. And yet I’m so organized with everything else and a crazy planner/lister/organizer. Just not when it comes to my writing. I’m bookmarking these blogs though! Susan, you just might convert me yet.🙂

  4. Great idea. I have everyone in one file. Tweeted.

  5. marsharwest says:

    Susan, your posts have been invaluable. Some of the publishers I queried recently asked for a plan. I was able to coble together something because of your saved posts. Now that I’ve sold (to another company), I need to update everything and flesh it out more. I’d never thought of putting these two lists together. I can see how helpful it will be now and for other projects. I’m already juggling names and addies of people who are willing to host me on their blog, and I feel them falling through my fingers. Thanks for this great tip and nudge to get the lead out. (Isn’t that an odd cliche. Do you think it harkens to something to do with a gun? LOL Not sure I’ve ever used it before.) Sorry, been babysitting grands all day and I’m a little brain dead. Not so much I’ll forget to save this post.

  6. On my list? Get more organized! I’d like to rely on my myriad sticky notes, various piles, and imperfect memory. But that’s probably not the way to go.

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