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What should I do now?

From the Business Desk of Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing

During the past two months I have been discussing writing a business plan. I said at the beginning of September I mentioned the Executive Summary is the first portion of the business plan and gives a summary of what is in the rest of the business plan. Here I am showing my executive summary and using it as a review of what we have covered over the past two months.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Business Description and Vision

Mission Statement

The mission of Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing is to write, publish, and market books that encourage, inspire, educate, and enlighten. “The Books Folks ‘Swan’ to read.”

Vision Statement

Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing is destined to be the most sought after publishing enterprise through its uniquely created books that inspire, educate and enlighten. Marketed in such a way that it benefits writer and reader alike.

Business History

Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing was started when the first book of The Locket Saga: When God Turned His Head was published in 2010 which Donna Brown under the pseudonym Cygnet Brown self-published. Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues was written in 2012. In 2013, Cygnet Brown’s first nonfiction book Simply Vegetable Gardening was published. The most recent title, A Coward’s Solace was published. Cygnet Brown has been featured in newspapers and interviewed on radio.

Market Definition

Industry

52 percent of all books sold are sold outside brick and mortar bookstores. Eight to Eleven thousand publishers enter the field every year. However, the average number of copies sold at a POD company is 75 books per title. Most independent authors do not know how to promote their books. I am different in that marketing is the backbone of my publishing business.

Competition

My competition includes writers of the historical, Christian, romance in fiction for the books of the Locket Saga and gardening writers in regards to Simply Vegetable Gardening.

Target Market

Regarding the Locket Saga series, the basic demographic for a romance reader is likely be a well-educated woman between the ages of 25 and 64 living somewhere other than northeast. She is either married or has never been married. She is not likely to be divorced or widowed.
This same basic demographic holds true for Simply Vegetable gardening however, more men are interested in gardening than are interested in romance novels.

Summary of Products

Titles in the Locket Saga: When God Turned His Head (published 2010) Soldiers Don’t Cry (published 2012), A Coward’s Solace (published 2015),
Upcoming titles:
Available in: paperback, Kindle
Title: Simply Vegetable Gardening (published 2013)
Available in: paperback, Kindle, Kobe, Nook, Smashwords

Organization and Management

Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing is a sole proprietorship owned by Donna Brown and is licensed in the State of Missouri.
Donna Brown-sole proprietor, publisher, author, marketer, sales person
Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing
RR71 Box 152504
Alton, Missouri 65606
Website: http://www.cygnetbrow.com
Email: cygnetbrown@gmail.com

Market And Sales Strategy

Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing, offering both paperback and e-book versions of their books markets using both traditional publishing models of PR, book signings, and interviews in the real world, but also assist authors in developing their online platforms and marketing strategies through social media and mobile applications.

Financial Management

The Financial Management of Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing includes summation of results of current balance statement, income statement, and cash flow statement. as well as statements showing projections of how I expect Cygnet of the Ozarks Publishing to do over the next three years. I am keeping my actual details private. Will share on a need to know basis.

IMG_8330 final copy

 

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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You Can Call Me Crazy, but. . .

Intentions without goals is like a path without direction

God has a clear path for each of us if we would just trust his direction

Some people might call me crazy, but as of late, I have been asking God to direct my every step. I have actually taken to heart the verses Proverbs 3:5&6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not unto your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all of your ways, and he will direct your path.”
It is amazing the changes that have come over me since I have been listening to the still, calming voice that I sense inside my spirit.

Laying It All Out

God leads me to scripture. Recently he led me to this verse in Philippians 4:6 which says, “be careful (anxious) for nothing , but in everything in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known unto God.”
He has led me to study out the meaning of words in the Bible by using the Concordance.
I learned that the word “prayer” specifically in this verse essentially means to lay it all out to God. He wants us to allow him to look at not only the situation and the request, but also to look at our motives behind the request.

Knowing He’s Got Our Back

He wants our motives to line up with his mission for us which can be found in Matthew 28:19&20 and in Mark 16:15-18.
He doesn’t want us anxious. He wants us to ask him for what we need and trust him to supply it to us.
I have had a problem with anxiety for a long time. Whenever I have ever had a problem that I didn’t have an immediate solution for, I would get anxious.
Now whenever I feel that anxiety coming on, I lay it all out to him. He knows when I feel anxious, but he wants me to acknowledge that he is always my solution. I just have to learn to trust him and believe that he wills the best for me.

God Opened a Door

Having learned the need to trust in God and his direction, I have recently accepted the position of pastor of a The Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri. This is not a position that I can take lightly. As it says in Psalm 127:1 Except the Lord build the house, we labor in vain. Also I am thinking about the idea that as pastor, I am responsible for others. Its sort of like when I was raising my children. I couldn’t just leave when I want. I am excited and scared all at the same time. I have been praying concerning how the Lord wants me to proceed. I have to remember that this is a  journey, one day at a time.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


future opportunities

As an author it always pays for me to look ahead at the next book that I am writing and I have been doing that. Of course, there are the books that I am writing in the Locket Saga. Many of the writers who write serial books like this use a Character Bible which allows them to use ghost writers to help them write more books on the same subject over the course of a year. I do not intend to do that. I prefer to do my own writing. Not that I wouldn’t mind selling books for other writers within my publishing business. (At this point, this has not even reached becoming an intention, but it is an idea that I have been throwing around in my head.)

Creating Simple Booklets

I do not intend to limit myself to just The Locket Saga and my gardening book either. Once I get the next two books in the Locket Saga written (Sailing Under the Black Flag and In the Shadow of the Millpond), I will be working on other nonfiction projects. One of the books I intend to write will be a book for writers called I Never Get Writer’s Block.
In addition, I will be working on a series of small booklets related to gardening. I was thinking about writing one about the three additives that I use in my organic garden. I was thinking about including an ounce sized sample of these additives with each booklet. I figure that I could sell these booklets with samples in numerous locations around the country along with the gardening book. Since they don’t require much time to write and the samples don’t cost much, they would help add to the overall bottom line of my overall sales.
I can also include these booklets (though without the sample additives) as e-books perhaps with connections to my website where I will set up a sales page to sell that additive in larger quantities than the original sample. I would not however want to sell more than a pound of these additives per sale. I cannot see it being cost effective to me to do this and I am not looking to house warehouses of these products . (Just writing this gave me another idea. I could connect with a company that sells these products and get a commission as an affiliate for the sales I do get for them or put their ad on my website at cost.)

Extending My Territory

Over the next two years, I intend to extend my paperback and e-book markets throughout the region and into national markets. I will do this by moving out from my current base of operations into nearby towns and into nearby cities and continuing to expand throughout the region.
In the summer of 2016 I intend to go up into Pennsylvania and return to my roots to extend my book sales into that region using the same techniques that I am using in this region. (In addition I will be doing research for future books.)
I think that I can duplicate the way that I have been selling books locally on regional and national levels. I have been selling them at events, on consignment to bookstores, and wholesale to smaller businesses that cater to gardening projects. If this goes as planned, I may actually be able to quit my Just Over Broke in the spring and do this full time while traveling around the country. The prospect makes me excited and scared all at the same time.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


success sign post

Do you remember back in September when I wrote about the various hats? Well, one of my goals is as I can afford it hire staff to take responsibility for jobs I am either not good at or hate to do.
I have to confess, I am nowhere near being able to pull that one off. At this point, this is not much more than an intention. Right now I barely make enough to pay even one of my smaller bills and keep up with book marketing costs. However, a lot of what I am trying to do now is leading toward that intention. I have developed incremental steps (goals) that are part of the path that will lead to that actually happening.
As I mentioned before, a huge goal that I have in working toward that intention is that I hope to be able to earn my living by writing by April 1, 2016. To get to that goal, I have to create realistic monthly goals that lead toward that end. Just as I have been using monthly affirmations to improve how I feel about my own abilities, every month In order to accomplish these monthly goals, I need weekly goals. And to accomplish these weekly goals, I need to attend to daily tasks based on strategies that I plan to use to accomplish these goals.
Strategies

In goal setting, I think that creating strategies and using those strategies has been the place where I have failed in the past. It isn’t enough to set goals, we have know what it takes to make them happen and strategies are what we do to make them happen. Using a strategy is the legwork involved in achieving goals.

The Difference between strategies and Tactics

Strategy is what we are trying to accomplish and tactic is how we are going to accomplish that strategy.
For instance, one of my strategies for accomplishing the goal of earning my living through my writing is to sell my books wholesale to businesses who would then retail them.
I can use several tactics to do this strategy. I can 1) email prospective businesses with a pitch and link for them to buy online. 2) I can call businesses and pitch them to buy and either take them the books or mail them to them 3) I can go to the businesses directly, talk to the decision maker and sell the books directly. 4) I can set up a website and create an online campaign of building a list of business owners who would buy my books directly online.

It is important to brainstorm every aspect of goal setting, strategy and tactic creation in order to discover the possiblities that might work then determining what I can do now and what I might be able to do in the future. I also have options. If the first tactic didn’t work, I then can go on to plan B and plan  C if necessary. Drilling down and determining what tactics may or may not work in my business may make the difference between whether I reach my goals or not.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


John the Baptist

Of The Priestly Line
John the Baptist was of the lineage of Levi because his father was a priest and his mother (Elizabeth) was also of the tribe of Levi. Because John the Baptists mother was also Jesus’ mother’s cousin(Luke 1:26), we also know that Elizabeth was also a descendant of Judah. John the Baptist, in his flesh was both a descendant of Levi and a descendant of Judah. In the flesh, John the Baptist was both a priest and king, but God knew our salvation could not come through our flesh nor could it come through the law which the tribe of Levi represented. Jesus did not have Levitical blood. If Jesus did have Levitical blood, we would be required to remain under the old covenant. As it is, Jesus is not a descendant of Aaron and in Him we are not under Levitical Law.
John the Baptist therefore became a type (a living example) of what the Levitical Law was designed to do. John the Baptist showed mankind that he needed to turn back to God. The Levitical Law did the same. It showed that human beings could not follow God through laws.
Proclaimed A Greater Baptism
In Luke 3:16-17 John the Baptist said that he baptized with water, but there was one greater who would baptize with the Holy Ghost (Spirit) and fire. He said that he would separate the wheat (Godly Righteous) from the straw (unrighteous sinners).
Then Jesus came to be baptized by John the Baptist and John said that Jesus didn’t need to be baptized by John the Baptist, but he needed to be baptized by Jesus. John recognized that under the Levitical Law, he was no match for the power that Jesus as High Priest would represent.
Everything that John said was true, however, Jesus told him in Matthew 3:15 that it was necessary for John to Baptize Jesus in order to fulfill all righteousness.

The First Evangelist

John the Baptist announced that God provided a better way than the law had to offer. Unlike the rest of the priests who stayed in the comforts of the temple, John the Baptist shucked his priestly garments of fine white linen and the delicacies of temple food for camel hair clothes, a leather belt and honey and locusts and went out into the wilderness to lead the people to repentance and to baptize with water.
The word for evangelist is euaggelistes in the Greek. The meaning of this word in the original language is a preacher of the good news. Traditionally, an evangelist is a preacher who preaches the gospel in areas in areas where there is no permanent clergy. This technically made John the Baptist the first evangelist because he told of and provided preparation for others to receive the truth of Jesus Christ’s authority.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


success sign post

Building good book business goals are not printed in stone but should be able to adjust to a rapidly changing marketplace.
We have all heard of the acronym SMART goals, For years I would create goals that were specific, measurable, time sensitive, but often they were not realistic nor were they attainable, well at least not in the position I was in at the time.

Sales Goals

There is nothing wrong with having lofty goals, but my problem had always been that I didn’t have goals that I thought were realistic. I mean it’s great to want a million book sales, but when you’re not selling a book every day, it is going to take a long time to reach that million. Also, if we say that in five years we are going to make a million book sales, we need to have a plan to make that goal happen. What we need are incremental goals that lead up to that bigger lofty goal. If I am selling one hundred books this month, then perhaps my goal should be to sell two hundred books next month. If that number doesn’t seem attainable, then perhaps I need to cut that down even farther to perhaps 20% more books than I am selling now. With a little more effort and perhaps another added strategy, 120 books should certainly be doable.

Production Goals

As authors and self-publishers, our products are our books. In order to keep selling books, we have to keep producing good books. I have several new books that I intend to launch during the next year. I have a specific goal date for getting those books launched. Again, these goals have to be realistic. I had a goal that I would get three books published this year, but as I looked at that goal realistically, it was impossible for me to achieve this year. I may be able to get the books written and maybe even edited, but I knew there was no way that I was also going to be able to give any of my books fair marketing if I just wrote them and stuck them out there. I decided instead to publish just one of them this year and launch the other two next year. My marketing is much more focused and realistic with this production schedule. I see the launches of the other two books as much more successful this way.

Marketing Goals

Though marketing goals include sales goals, sales are only a part of those goals. The idea of marketing includes everything from handing out business cards, putting up flyers, creating posters for book displays, press releases, interviews, book reviews, participating in trade shows, online platform, social media, as well as paid advertising. Marketing can also include making speeches, giving books for a worthy cause, and teaching writing classes. As stated before on this blog, marketing is anything you do to get your name and your products’ names out there.

Financial Goals

Financial goals should be in direct relationship with the results of how realistically you handle your sales goals. Financial goals however are not just sales, but also how the money that you earn is spent and how it is invested. If one of your financial goals is to go on a nationwide blog tour, then you will need to have the sales (or money in savings) to back it up. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a rented RV in the middle of Arizona and out of gas with no way to get home.
Another word for financial goal is budget. You determine what you want to do with your money, how much money you have, how much money you are going to earn during a specific period and what want to invest into the future.
Budget goals are attached to strategies that include cutting back spending, generating more income, borrowing money, hiring staff to increase production, or finding other, more creative ways of making things happen (grants, bartering services, winning contests etc.).

Be Prepared to Change Goals Midstream

It is said that change is a constant. Nothing ever stays the same. This is especially true with our goals. As we reach smaller incremental goals, it is important to look at the overall picture of where your business as an author and publisher are going. Is your next step goal that you determined before you met this goal still where you want to go? Do you even want to pursue this big goal anymore? As we move along on our journey with a business, we often change our minds and that’s okay. Sometimes that just means that it’s time to plan our exit strategy. Other times it just means that we need to rearrange our priorities or give some of the responsibility to someone else.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


What are Intentions

Intentions without goals is like a path without direction

Intentions without goals is like a path without direction

Intentions are like my affirmations. They are not exactly specific, but they give a general direction of where I want to head. One of my long time intentions has been to start a publishing business. My biggest intention is to have my own publishing business. As an intention it is just a dim light in the future. I don’t know how I am going to get there because I haven’t developed goals or sign posts along the road to get me there.
An intention is like a wilderness with no roads. Goals are more like the roads or trails forged through the wilderness. Goals offer sign posts that tell us where we are and how far we have to go. Goals are more specific and let us know if we are close to our intentions.
The nearer intention that I have is that I intent to be a full-time self-published author. My hope is that I will accomplish this by April 2016.

What are Goals

An intention is like a wilderness with no roads. Goals are more like the roads or trails forged through the wilderness. Goals offer sign posts that tell us where we are and how far we have to go. Goals are more specific and let us know if we are close to our intentions.

Numerous goals come into play in reaching this intention. I have marketing goals, sales goals, production goals, and financial goals. I have physical world goals and online goals. All of these goals are sign posts that indicate where my business is going and how close I am to the intentions that I want to accomplish.

Adjusting Goals

There are times when obtaining our goals isn’t always a straight path. Imagine obtaining a goal as fallowing a path when suddenly you come to a bridge. You had seen that bridge on your map (plan) but what you had not anticipated was that there was a flash flood upstream and now that bridge has water running over it. You could try to go over it anyway (and potentially get washed away) You could decide to quit and go back the way you came, or you could look at your map (plan) and look for an alternative route (goal) that will get you to your desired intention.

Let me offer a recent example in my own life of where I goal was thwarted and I had to rethink the path that I was going to take. Due to no fault of my own, I lost the job that I had for the past year. My intention was that in six months, I would quit the job and go full time as a writer. When I found out that I lost my job, I thought that since that happened, perhaps I could work full time on making writing my full time career move sooner. I thought that perhaps I would seek unemployment, put in job applications as instructed to my dream jobs and collect checks while spending most of my time writing. I discovered that I was uninsured because of a three day technicality.. I thought that perhaps I could make the writing still work. That idea came to a screeching halt last Saturday when I had a well publicized book signing where no one showed up. The store owner was apologetic and said that I could come back at another time, but that wasn’t going to work either. I need some sort of cash flow. If I did that too many times, I could be sitting on the side of the road book-less and penniless.  So much for plans A B and C. I then put in a bunch of applications to jobs that I didn’t really want, but I knew that I could perhaps get. I have just been hired for a temporary job helping to move a retail store to its new location and it also means that perhaps I will be able to get in part time there, maybe until after Christmas where I would again definitely be eligible for unemployment (and go back to plan B).  Writing full time still is my goal, but I am not yet ready to walk across that bridge. I am going to have to change my path slightly.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .

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