As we move into the new year and in the US we start thinking about tax returns, we find ourselves in the perfect time to plan for 2012 writing. This is the time of year you look at how many books you sold, advertising expenses, profit and loss. This information is vital to planning your taxes for the year, but it's invaluable when it comes to planning your writing.
Now before I continue, let me say that writing to the numbers, be they sales or income, I think is a bad way to go about this business. Yes, you do need to keep an eye on them, know what is working, and what might be more risky in the marketplace. But writing is a creative endeavor, and all creative works benefit from heart. If you don't love what you're writing. If you don't feel the story in your heart and soul, then the story isn't going to be as captivating as if you're just writing to the numbers. (This is something I feel strongly about, as I have thought it best to write to the numbers at some point in my career. Now that I write pagan inspirational romance, yeah, I don't think you can acccuse me of this now. LOL!)
So how do you use this information to plan your writing, without simply writing "what sells"?
1) If you have multiple years of information then look at months. Are there some months which do better for you? Perhaps you will want to talk to your publisher about scheduling releases during those months.
2) Are there publishers that are selling for you and publishers that aren't? You may wish to focus your efforts.
3) Are there genres that you're writing, which might not be doing as well, and which you aren't really enjoying?
4) The writing you're enjoying--how is it doing? Those quirky stories, are they selling as well as you thought? Do you think they'd do better with a different publisher or a different length?
5) Were you comfortable with your writing pace? Do you think you were doing too much or is there room to do more?
I hope these questions will help you plan your 2012 writing schedule. Wishing you all the best in the coming year!