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Managing the practicals

I’m a writer. So that’s what I do – I write. Right?

Well, yes, of course. But that isn’t all there is to it. Unless writing is a hobby – in which case, you do it for fun, write when you like and what you like – a fair proportion of time is also spent in managing your writing business.

For me – management consultant by day, writer by night – a ‘fair proportion’ is probably about 40% of my ‘writing time’ is spent on looking after the practical aspects of writing. I know that sounds an awful lot of time but that is because I only have a few hours a day to be a writer. So, for a typical week, what am I doing to look after the business side of writing.

Well, of course, there’s this blog. It is how I start my week. In one sense it is writing but it is, also, an important marketing tool. With my weekly blog I have something to talk about during the week. I might also make notes on some possible future blogs – just so I’ve got a few in the pipeline.

Marketing is key for raising my writing profile – so the other thing I do every day is manage my social media feeds. I’m no super-user when it comes to social media – at the moment I only use Twitter and Facebook – but I spend a bit of time each morning creating tweets and Facebook posts and load them up into my scheduling tool so they are posted during the day. I post on a range of subjects – about writing, giving tips, promoting my blog and also on what is going on in my life.

I do a bit of maintenance on the website every week. I’m not at all technical which means I can manage the content well enough but if I want to do something more wizzy it takes me a while. I still haven’t worked out how to get a page set up to show my full blog archive, for example! I’m still working at it though and I will work it out eventually.

The other side of marketing is, of course, sales. My website has a shop so I need to make sure orders are fulfilled as quickly as possible. As orders come in I need to package and ship books. Volumes are small at the moment but it is important that customers get a prompt service so I give it priority.

There is some basic book-keeping which I do every week as well. I keep it pretty simple at the moment. What have I sold, what costs have I incurred and so on. As things get busier I’ll need to get more sophisticated with this. My writing work is part time, of course, and at the moment I just about break even but as it get busier, I’m going to have clear records to keep the tax man happy.

The other thing I spend time on is educating myself. The move from hobby to doing this more seriously has made me aware of how much I need to learn. So I spend time reading, doing online courses and talking to other people who’ve done this or have expert knowledge I can tap into. Learning more about how to manage my own website is one example of that and that’s my next task of the week: I’m doing an online course in webdesign to build my skills in managing my own website.

The writer’s work is never done!!

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