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Last month I said that I was starting a business plan, so this month, I made having a business plan my month long affirmation. Here’s what I have so far.

Designing a Cover Sheet

The first page of a business plan is the cover sheet. As a creative person, this cover sheet should be as creative as possible. The old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is definitely true. The cover sheet is the first impression that others have of your business plan.
Just as I dress nicely when I meet a potential client or venue, so also should my cover sheet be dressed nicely. I have decided not to take this project lightly so this is a project that I am going to be working on throughout the upcoming month.
So far, I know my business name. My business name is Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing. In addition to the business name and the address of the business, I will include my tagline: “The books folks swan to read.”
I think that I am going to create a logo that represents both my company Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing and The Locket Saga. I will probably include some kind of swan as well as some form of a locket. Perhaps I can put a clipart swan in the place of the word swan in the tag line.

Beginning My Executive Summary

The second page of a business plan is the executive summary. As the title implies, this page summarizes the rest of what in the business plan. It gives a summation of details revealed in the rest of the document.
Just as I will be working on the cover sheet throughout this month, I will be continuing to work on this page as well. In some ways, this page reminds me of the abstracts that I had to write during college, but it is written more like an outline of the entire document. For the online edition, I will place book marks in the document and put hyperlinks in the Executive Summary. Of course, this will not show up in a printed version of this document, but it will provide a way for me as the author of the document to maneuver around the document with ease. There is no way to finish this page until all of the others are in place, but below are the summary topics included in my executive summary.

The Components of the Executive Summary

Headlines within my author/publishing business plan will include:
Contact and Location Information-Name of Contact person (in this case me), physical address of my business, phone number, email address, and URL to about page on website which has more detailed online contact information.
Mission Statement-A witty summation of what my business is about and in my case will include my tagline: The Books Folks “Swan” to Read. (More about this in the next post.)
Time Line of Business Activities- Named milestones and dates about the history of the business.
Business Bio Summary-Summary of the Business-what are you in business to do and how did you get where you are today?
List of Staff Positions- include temporary positions and contracted work

Business Investors: This is anyone who has invested interest in the business. In my case, so far the only person who has invested in the business is me, but because this is a business, I could myself as an investor.
Summary of Products: Since I have four books out (to date) these are the products that I list. Here I include name of product, initial launch date, and form of the books currently available. (Is it in e-book, paperback, hardcopy? Is it available as an audio book? Has it been translated into other languages?)
Summary of Services: as a writer and author, I am a writer and as a writer, therefore this would include various aspects of the services that I provide as a writer such as research, writing articles, writing online content of various types. However, this would also include paid and unpaid appearances that involve speaking.
Targeted Customer: Who reads the kind of book that I write? Provide summarized statistics of my findings.
Industry Projections: What is the estimated growth of this industry and this business in particular?
Marketing Summary-Summary of the strategies of how I am marketing my books
Financial Summary: Has the business been running at a profit or a loss? (This information probably would only be in personal copy of business plan or to financial institutions that I am seeking financial assistance) This summary would include future financial projections. This would also include what would use of funding requests from financial institutions.
Future Endeavors: A summary of Intentions and Goals with emphasis on what I will be doing next including marketing strategies as well as future projects (books).

A Living Breathing Document

Just as books that we write will not be perfect the first time we write them, I know that my business plan will not be perfect when we first write it, nor will it be a document that is carved in stone. This document is an ongoing living breathing document that will grow and change as my business as an author changes. If you are an author, do you have a business plan? What other aspects of an author’s business do you think you would add to a business plan?

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

 


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This month my affirmation is all about being in business as a writer. This month my focus is on treating my writing as my vocation rather than just a hobby.. This month (and next month too) my goal is to create a comprehensive, living, breathing document called a business plan.

The Many Hats of A Self-published Author

A self-published author wears many hats. First, I am the author of four books and am writing more as we speak. Second, I am a publisher. I am a business owner.
I am a researcher, and I am one of the editors of my work. I used to be the only editor, but I changed all that when I realized that if I didn’t own my company, I could be fired for having done such a poor job! So I now have someone else handle the final edits. I format my own books and picked out the designs for the covers. Again, I probably would do better if I hired someone else to do that. I am also handling the marketing and most of the sales. In addition, I am currently my own PR person and my own secretary. Due to precious little money coming into my business at this point, I handle my finances as well. Finally, I am the president and CEO of my company. I am the boss.

Hats That I Do Not To Wear

One hat I do not wear as a self-published author is that I do not do my own final editing. I leave that to my beta readers. In addition, I do not take my own photographs nor do I design or create my own flyers. I actually have someone else do it who does a far better job than I do.

Letting Others Wear My Hats

Though I do wear many hats, there are certain hats that do not fit me very well and eventually I intend to let someone else wear those hats. I would like to focus most of my time and attention toward producing books and being featured at speaking or book signing events. I would also like to have someone else drive me to those events. A girl can dream; can’t she?

What Does This Have To Do With Business Planning?

Knowing what I do well, and what I do not do so well is an important part of business planning. A business owner needs to realize that he or she cannot do everything alone. As a self-published author, I want to have creative control over my work which I have, however, that doesn’t mean that I should make it a one woman show even if I was good at all of those things, but I am not.
Therefore, it is important that I understand what I am doing, what I am allowing others to do and what I should be allowing others to do. This gives me a human relations goal for my business. I begin to create job descriptions for future employees or contractors. This shows me what it is that I do so that when the time comes for me to share the load, I can tell exactly what I am doing so that I can tell the person that I am relinquishing the hat to what it is that I want that person to do with that hat and to know whether that hat is a good fit after all.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


And So It Begins

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The Eleven Point River in Oregon County Missouri

 

August 31, 2015, evening, we started the Oregon County Writers Group of Oregon County, Missouri. Not many people showed up, but we are all ready to roll up our sleeves and do whatever it takes to make this group a success. We were all experienced writers, so it was good for a first meeting. Enough of us showed up that we were able to elect a different person for president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. We all filled out membership forms and answered a series of questions about what we want from our writers group.

Promoting at  Local Festivals

We discussed how to increase membership and we all agreed that we would try to get into as many local festivals as possible during the next couple months (at least the free ones!) We also discussed the difference between traditional and self-publishing and we are looking to do a future meeting devoted specifically to that topic. In addition, we talked about possibly using Skype to bring speakers into our remote rural area. The vice president sent an email to me yesterday (September 1) that we had a table at a festival for this Saturday! Now we just have to get ready for it! He even said that I would be able to promote my books there! Talk about a blessing!

Making the Oregon County Writers Group A Success

The best part of it is that everyone who attended is willing to participate in making this new writer’s group a success. Before finishing this post, I set up a Facebook page, and be the main admin person. The secretary is sending me everyone’s information so that I can connect them with the page. I’ll be adding a few writing related articles to the page. She will probably send me that today. One of the members of the group does not have Facebook, so we will be helping him through the process. Our new vice president is taking charge of putting out the press releases of our meeting and is contacting the event coordinators. We sent our next meeting for the last Monday night of September, at the same place, and at the same location. I patted myself my back for delegating and spreading out the work. Next meeting, though I am president, I won’t have to do everything like I did for the first meeting!

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 


On August 29, 2015 from 1-3 pm my friends helped me celebrate the launch of  A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. Here are  the highlights.

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Patrick Ledgerwood, Presiding Commissioner of Oregon County, Missouri introduced me as Author Cygnet Brown. to a room full of friends and fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I then thanked everyone for coming. I told them how I felt that being a self-published author was like being a farmer. This went over well because we had several farmers in the room.

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I told them about the process that went into the writing of the Locket Saga (which was anything but linear) and specifically about the story regarding A Coward’s Solace.

 

I gave a special acknowledgment to my beta readers, Auralee and Jann. I could not have presented a successful book without their help.

I gave a special acknowledgment to my beta readers, Auralee and Jann. I could not have presented a successful book without their help. Also gave special thanks to the coop for allowing me to use their facilities and to Rachel Reynolds Luster for her assistance in making this event a success.

Final cover for A Cowards Solace

A Coward’s Solace: Book III of the Locket Saga is currently available for sale at The Oregon County Food Producers and Artisans Cooperative as well as online at Lulu.com http://www.lulu.com/shop/cygnet-brown/a-cowards-solace/paperback/product-22272162.html and on Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Cowards-Solace-Book-Locket-Saga-ebook/dp/B013PUO1PG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440895072&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Coward%27s+Solace

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she is the author of the Historical Christian Romantic fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her latest book A Coward’s Solace is now available! She has also written a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening.. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

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