Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's Not In My 5-Year Plan

Like all of you, I have a 5-year plan (you DO have one, right?). And a 3-year. And a 1-year. I have a best-case plan and a worst-case plan. What I don't have is a plan that can't be changed.

And yet, for many authors afraid of change or risk or of being an aggressive business person, the fall-back response to not in fact wanting to do something is that the something is not in their 5-year plan.


I want my book available to everyone; therefore, I will only pursue traditional publishing. Self-publishing is not in my 5-year plan.

I want my book available to everyone; therefore, I will self-publish it and distribute it to as many sites as possible. Denying anyone access to my valuable tome is not in my 5-year plan.


I have a carefully laid-out plan for acquiring and nurturing readers. It's a slow build and anything else is not in my 5-year plan.

You're kidding, right?

The potential of selling a couple of thousand copies of my book short-term is not in my long-term plan.

Selling a couple of thousand copies of my book short-term may, in fact, be detrimental to my long-term plan.

I give up.

May I just ask: 5 years ago, was publishing an ebook in your 5-year plan at all?

There are many, many legitimate reasons for not hopping on the newest bandwagon, for not following the latest trend and for not trying out new tools when they're offered. "Not" in some cases is the exact right strategy. But declaring that "It's not in my 5-year plan" and allowing technology and opportunity to pass you by for no other reason than to cling to a plan that was obsolete the day after you penned it? That's old-school thinking that simply can't keep up at the pace of digitization.

So if you're going to say no when an opportunity knocks, know very clearly why you're saying no, and always be open to the potential of saying yes. Your new 5-year plan could very well start today.


lexcade said...

*cowers* i so do not have a 5-year plan. i have 5 years' worth of novel ideas, and a lot of hopes for my future. i suck at being an adult.

among my hopes (and tentatively inside some sort of 5-year plan): going back to school for media arts degree, starting small business designing author websites, sell books.

Jo-Ann said...

I'm a pantster, not a planner. Both in my writing and my everyday life. Five year plan? Seriously? I struggle to plan for the next five minutes.

Jo-Ann said...

Actually, I do have a plan. It's simple. Don't mess up. Just don't mess up.

Robert said...

I've just reviewed my five-year plan from two years ago built around POD. Hmmm. I write in the morning, then when my brains are draining from my ears, I sketch the plans for my next three books plus translations on a large grid. As Chief of the German General Staff Von Moltke said 'no plan survives first contact with the enemy.' But it helps enormously to get your troops up to the front.