This version was posted Jan of 2018
When I first thought of this step of the business plan, I said, "This is going to be easy!” I'm currently on my twelfth mission statement in a year. No. I'm not kidding.
Originally, I followed Susan Kaye Quinn's advice in her novel, For Love or Money, and it was very nearly verbatim. I wanted to do nearly the exact same thing she did. Because...Susan's amazing! I don't even know where that thing is anymore. What I can tell you is that it didn't work for me. Why? Because I hadn't answered the questions as myself. Why do I write?
I write because I have to. There's something inside my soul that won't let me stop. I see people and I want to tell their stories so others can see them (and themselves) the way I do.
I continue to grow by helping others. This is my core. I enjoy touching people’s lives and helping, no matter how hard I profess to being a cold-hearted person. I'm learning by helping them study their craft and their markets, and by editing their books, and by teaching them what I learned. I didn't even realize I knew as much as I did!
But I want to write full-time, to help a little less and to focus on my own work at least half the time, instead of in my spare time. So, I need to write like my butt's been lit on fire. But I'm not a science geek--no matter how hard I wish I was--and I'm not super smart in anything. I know people. So, the stories I write need to be about real people living amazing lives, showing the reader what they, the reader, is capable. of.
And that is my mission statement. Once I stopped trying to impress people like Susan--who never read a single version of my mission statement--or my husband, or my fellow authors or service providers, or even myself, I realized exactly what my mission statement needed to be.
Address Your Author Brand
When you think of author brand, you probably see a circus in your head. I know I do. It's like standing in a crowded mall during the holidays with everyone going in so many directions, struggling to remember to be decent human beings while just trying to get the flock out of there.
What the heck is author brand?
It's the promise you make to your readers. When they pick up an S.M. Blooding book, what do my readers know they're going to get?
Well, originally, I had thought I would brand off my ability to tell character-driven stories. I mean, I do! But...that's not my brand. What I discovered is that my brand is taking my readers places they never expected. At one point in my career, I was even deemed "too imaginative."
Well, for better or worse, that's my brand.
So, everything in my business plan is shaped by that.
A lot of readers can't follow me through all the genres I write, though. I go from hard spec fic to fluffy fairytale retellings. I have military Sci-Fi's, then shift over to paranormal romances (though, admittedly, with the help of Alivia who puts the romance in the romance). I have MG, YA, fantasy, sci-fi, UF, steampunk, and I don't even know what to call Dreamland. Each of series has a different marketing strategy and a different readership. What I discovered is that some of these really do need to be built up separately in order to be successful with less effort.
So, part of my brand is having multiple author names that will be branded differently:
F.J. Blooding - hard spec fic in UF, high fantasy, steampunk, and sci-fi. The focus is on adventure.
S.S. Wolfram - (written with K.S. King, my husband) is male lead UF, less emotional, more explosions and sarcastic wit. (It's now solely my husband's. He just took it over.)
Hattie Hunt - (written with Alivia Patton) is romance where we get to focus on all different sorts of mythos in an UF setting.
Dandie Lyon - light-hearted and fun, cozy mysteries. (I discovered in 2020 I can't write cozies. What...the...I'm so sad, but I can't do it.
JoJo Wynx - way, way, way out of the box Dreamland stories in MG, YA, and Adult Next time, we're going to get down to brass tacks with the stuff that most of us just don't like; business, finances, and schedules. Don’t worry. It’ll be fun!