Plan Your Money: Setting up Your Authorial Calendar for Success

by Stephanie BwaBwa
published in Community

Hey writer, next year is around the corner. Is your author career set up for success? Oftentimes authors join the #StarvingArtistsClub because they don’t do one thing: plan. If authors planned more, they’d hit goals they’re proud of, and would consistently build a business they never want to be away from. Being an author is not just being an author. Being an author means being an entrepreneur. As such, you have to take the time to not just plan out writing and publishing a book. You have to also plan your money. 

This means:

  • How much money are you trying to make? 
  • Is that number sustainable for you and yours to survive? 
  • Can you factor in days off for vacation and sick days with that number? 
  • What about a surprise pregnancy? 
  • What about shopping during the holiday season? 
  • And emergency expenses like a new car transmission?

The money matters. I’m passionate about this because when I started my indie author journey, nobody stressed the coin to me. And because no one stressed the importance of the coin, I lost a lot of it.

Now, I make sure I plan how to get to the bag and build a successful authorial business.

I need you to do the same. Take off your hobbyist hat. Even take off your author hat. Now put on your entrepreneurial hat. It’s time to think like an entrepreneur. It’s easier than you think to set up your next authorial calendar year for success.

To start the journey, you’ve got to plan your money.

Plan Your Money

Do you know how much money you want to earn in your business by the end of next year? I’m sure you have a lotfy idea of what number you’d hope to reach every month. Perhaps you even know what you’d like to make every week.

But what about the amount you’d be proud to bring home from your books at the end of the year after taxes?

This is important to note because your financial target will determine the activity you execute to reach your goals. 

I hope you caught that: The number you are working to earn by year’s end will determine what you do every month, week, day, and hour to hit that goal. 

It’s important for you to know where you’re headed so you can identify which paths will take you there. Once you know how to get there, you’ll then be able to see what’s the quickest way of reaching the goal.

Then you can publish with purpose.

Identify your numeric goal posts

The first step to plan your money is simple: identify your goal for the following year.

Really. Just pick a number.

Whether you want to make $100K. $250K. Or even $50K – $75K. The number is up to you. Whatever you’re comfortable making that will provide a nice cushion for you and your family, go with that.

Once you identify the number, you need to break it down. Saying you want to make $100,000 in 365 days might be terrifying. 

So work backwards:

To reach $100K in 12 months, you need to bring home $8,333.33 each month. This may still seem terrifying, yeah? No worries. Let’s break this number down.

To earn $8,333.33 every 30 days, each week your books have to earn $2,083.33. Some of you make more than this at your day job. So this doesn’t seem too much, right?

If you’re reading this and you’re still huffing and puffing—let’s break it down even more. To earn $2,083.33 every 7 days, your books need to earn $297.62 (rounding up) every single day.

This amounts to you needing to sell 12 to 13 books every single hour.

Note: This doesn’t factor in taxes, tithes, etc.

So if you sell 12 to 13 books every hour for 12 months, you’ll hit your income goal of $100,000 by the end of next year. Knowing this number will make it crystal clear on what you’re reaching for, so you can then identify how to reach it.

Identify how you’ll achieve the numeric goal posts

Knowing how you’ll reach those numeric goals is also pretty simple.

It boils down to IPAs. Income Producing Assets. As an author, you need to get clear on what your money makers are. Do you have one standalone? Two completed trilogies? 30+ books published in different series? Multiple series in multiple genres?

Sit down and identify in writing what all of your IPAs are. List out how much each costs. If you’re still writing, this is the perfect time for you to know what numeric goal you’ll be shooting for so you can determine how many books you’ll need to reach the goal.

Note: Not all IPAs have to be books. Candles, mugs, stickers, character art, pins, and all forms of book swag count as IPAs. You might have one novel, but you can package it up with a mug, candle, some art, and a journal in a box that ships for $57.00 to your readers at home and abroad. 

This is part of how you’ll achieve your income goals. Take some time to list out all the ways you can take one product (the novel) and stretch it to different income streams. Crunch numbers and make it plain what activities you need to do, and how often they need to be done, so you can hit your goals by the end of the following year.

Put a system in place to reach your numeric goals

Systems were something I stuck my nose up at until burnout knocked on my door and made a permanent home. Not only that, I lost a crap ton of money because I didn’t have solid systems in place to keep coin flowing.

Have you ever considered that each aspect of publishing requires systems? Systems aren’t only important for marketing your business to access high levels of exposure. They are also important for the writing through the publication phase.

Consider the following:

  • How long does it take you to write a scene? Or 3K words?
  • When are you most productive?
  • What environment do you need to establish to access your writing flow?
  • What tool do you use to write?
  • What are you using to track your progress?

Knowing the answers to these questions is a system. How you get your work done as an author is a system. Because when it’s time to start the next book, you’ll go through this exact process all over again. 

Once you’ve finished writing a book, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you do your own developmental edits?
  • Are betas involved?
  • How many drafts will you do before submitting the manuscript to an editor?
  • How about line editing? 
  • When do you factor in time to just re-read?
  • How long does this process take?

Every minute, day, week, or month different parts of the publication wheel take you to finish takes up time on the timeline of reaching your numeric goal by the year’s end.

You need a system for writing. You need a system for editing. You need a system for publishing. You need a system for marketing. You need a system for growing. You need a system for scaling.

At what point of this process can you start monetizing? What do you need to do to monetize? Are you emailing your subscribers every week? Are you texting them? Will you do reels on Instagram? Will you post creative Tik Toks? Will you go Live on Facebook? Are you going to start threads on Twitter?

What activities can you do that require the least amount of effort but produce the most amount of results? How can you write fewer books and still sell to more readers so you can reach your goal faster?

You won’t hit your goal through the sheer will of your determination and efforts. Your goals will end up submitting to the default of your systems. If you’re all over the place as an author, you can tell that monetary goal sayonara.

But if you plan your money, if you sit down and write what you’re shooting for, how to get there, and what systems to establish to get it, you’ll be tap dancing into the following year.

Make the commitment to plan your money for next year before this one ends. Planning makes you purposeful. Being purposeful makes you profitable. You can’t earn what you don’t expect. Schedule a time on your calendar with yourself, that no one can interrupt (*ahem* not your kids, not your spouse, nobody), to strategize and plan what your author career will look like in the next 365 days. 

Then, get to work.

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Stephanie BwaBwa is a Christian Fantasy Novelist. She’s the creator of the universe: Elledelle – about angels in magical worlds with impressive power that mirror the human condition.

She’s the author of the YA fantasy series: The Seraphim Resistance Prequels and The Transcendents Serial, as well as the writing guide, Fantasy Fundamentals for Christian fantasy writers. You can usually catch her going for a walk through a park, or simply binging Disney+ with too many snacks. Get in contact with Stephanie directly at:

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