Friday, February 1, 2013

Planning or Something Close To It


“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” Woody Allen

For a very long time I didn’t have plans, not for my books or my writing career.
I didn’t outline for a long time. Chapter by chapter detailed outlines just didn’t work for me. I figured if I’m going to do all that work, I would rather just start the book.  I soon learned it killed my muse after a few hours of misery.
I didn’t have plans for my career because…hmmm, I was clueless. I was first traditionally published. So except for doing book signings, handing out bookmarks, and doing speaking engagements I didn’t worry about much else except meeting deadlines. .
I started indie publishing in 2010. Again, no plan at first. Then I thought up a few steps to take:
  1. Write two original titles
  2. Send letters to publishers requesting publishing rights be reverted
  3. Re-design my author website
I didn’t see this as a formal plan, and it wasn’t written down. Still this was way more planning than I’d ever done before. I also had a few marketing ideas. Not all that sophisticated, but I had them. In my head.
Slowly I learned more as I networked via Novelists, Inc. and a Yahoo group for authors jumping into indie publishing their backlist. Soon the authors turned to indie publishing original titles. I kept hearing about setting goals, crafting a marketing plan, a production plan,  etc. There was that word again- “Plan”.
I’m almost allergic to plans. I don’t know why, but it could be because very little in my life has gone according to my plans. I realize I’m not in control, and my plans either go awry or get changed completely in a snap by something unexpected. And it’s not always a bad thing.
I imagine my past “plans” were like God’s favorite sitcom. I can see him clearing his schedule so he could listen for entertainment. He’d say to the angels, “Okay, now I don’t want to be disturbed. My show is about to come on. Lynn has a new plan!” Smile
So I gave up on “plans”. I went to a writers conference with no plan but ended up meeting the editor who bought my first book. I didn’t plan to have back to back contracts for the next ten years. I didn’t plan to have one of my books made into a movie.
Okay, fast forward to 2011. I decided on being more grown-up and professional and… create plans. Here’s what I’ve done:
  1. I have two series started. (I’ve never done connected books before, on-going characters)
  2. I added doing an audiobook to my plan. A Darker Shade of Midnight is now on sale at! Yaaay!!
  3. I’ve re-branded my website and built an author Facebook page
  4. I now have a marketing plan for 2013 (better late than never!).
  5. I’m reaching out to the global community via Facebook. Not sure it will increase sales, but I had this idea to try way back in 2010.
I’m proud just because I’m planning. Right, it would be more exciting if I could add, “And I’m rich, famous and own a vacation home in Costa Rico!!!!.” Hmmm, no. But my sales have increased, and my Facebook author page went from just over 900 page likes to over 1,500 and counting.
I’ve reached objectives and completed steps. I’m being more methodical, though I still tend to spontaneously change. Yes, I turn on a dime! Therefore I can endorse planning and flying by the seat of your pants- at the same time!

Visit me at:


Charles Gramlich said...

I've always felt weird planning because I know that it's never gonna end up the way I want it to. Too many life things intervene. Too much work. But I still make them, use them as loose guides at least for what I want to do.

Lynn Emery said...

Yes, plans are good for keeping us on track at least.

Liane Spicer said...

Congrats on the Audible version!

Not planning has worked out pretty well for you in the past, it seems, but things change (esp. in publishing). Not planning might have been a symptom of having little control over your books; now that you have that control as an indie (look how easily that word comes to me now... compared with two years ago) planning is vital. Good luck!

Lynn Emery said...

Liane, great observation. I think you're right! Thanks, and continue on your journey :)

William Doonan said...

Nice website! Love the boxed sets.

Lynn Emery said...

Thanks, William. I need to update it already! Things happen so fast.

Eugenia O'Neal said...

You know, it's terrible of me, but I sort of see my writing plan more as my writing wishlist. But I'm working to change that.