Orna Ross, founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, runs a creative business planning program for authors and poets through Patreon. The program. The program offers a monthly live workshop online, alongside other resources, and is founded on the principle that publishing can be as creative as writing.
If you've read my book, Creative Self-Publishing, you'll know that I'm on a mission to see authors profit, creatively and commercially, from their publishing. As a director of ALLi, I see every day how so many author-publishers are working hard but, from a profit perspective, standing still, or barely inching forward.
Their books are not selling. They don’t pay themselves a salary, or even have enough money for their tax bill. They are unclear about the time, investment, skills or resources needed. Some are overwhelmed or stressed, perhaps depressed, even despairing.
I devised my Creative Business Planning Program for Authors and Poets to help. It enables and empowers authors and poets to run successful creative publishing businesses, which integrate money and meaning in their own individual way.
This small-group program is run through Patreon, allowing my planning patrons to access a monthly workshop, key resources and personal attention.
As an indie author, you need more than a to-do list to manage the complexity of your work, especially at the beginning. You are not just a writer, you're also a publisher, which means you must wear three hats:
- maker: producing books and other products
- manager: optimising your processes and profits, looking after your tech and your team
- marketeer: maximising your marketing and sales promotions
You need a planning method that accounts for these three aspects of your job. And one that accounts for your creative, as well as your commercial, goals and demands.
A creative business is not just business as usual. Your writing and publishing is driven by your passion for writing and your sense of mission and purpose as a writer, as much as by your need to earn.
Also, for a creative, rest and play are not breaks from the process. They are the process.
Your business plan must factor time for both, alongside your creative work. You need time and space to switch off and relax, to explore and experiment and express, to mess about.
Finally, a creative planning system must be flexible enough to allow for flashes of intuition, unexpected insights, and inspired deviations.
I outline the basics of the creative business planning method for authors in my book, Creative Self-Publishing and in this blog post. You can purchase the book, planners and workbooks in our shop.
Creative Business Planning for Authors: Patrons
My planning patrons benefit from a monthly creative business planning workshop based on my book, Creative Self-Publishing. They also receive key resources, including a Facebook accountability group (see below). Places are limited in this premium-level program which offers personal attention for a tiny fraction of mentoring or consulting costs.
To join, sign up on my Patreon page — you can unsubscribe after a single workshop or any time you want or you can take an annual membership for a discount, if that suits you.
As a Creative Business Planning Member you'll receive a variety of resources that will enable you to plan a creative author-business that is uniquely yours.
- Monthly Planning Workshop: Last Friday of each month at 5pm UK time. This is not a large webinar of thousands but a small-group, private workshop on Zoom, where you can ask questions and receive direct advice.
- Personal attention including feedback on your current project.
- All questions answered. Nobody left behind policy!
- Replay videos so you can refer back any time
- Go Creative! in Business Worksheets: Downloadable printable PDFs of the worksheets used in each workshop.
- Monthly downloadable Planners – Downloadable printable PDF planners for the coming quarter, month, week and day
- Accountability group: A private Facebook group for weekly intention mapping and accomplishment logging.
- Named as a patron on my website (optional).
Creative Business Planning For Authors: Testimonials
Joanna Penn, bestselling author, award-winning entrepreneur, and host of The Creative Penn podcast
Mark McGuinness, award-winning poet, creative coach, and host of The 21st Century Creative podcast
Orna Ross is a genius. She combines incisive knowledge of publishing, huge appreciation for words, great humanity for the writers producing them, and invaluable materials – all to get to the heart of your writing life, and provide the scaffolding of your writing business. She has worked with me as both mentor and as a facilitator and I think the world of what she does and how she does it. No ego, true presence and a brilliant talent.
I spent nearly four decades working in comedy thinking my precious art should not be sullied by anything as vulgar as marketing. In the last couple of years Orna has taught me that if you can think creatively about it, keeping control of and marketing your work is as important to a writer's career as the work itself.
Karen Dodd, Suspense Author
As the author of two books and one on the way, I feel fortunate to have found Orna and her coaching at just the right time in my author career. She has a way of winnowing in on exactly what the intimate, small group needs as we went through our various challenges together. Orna presents information clearly and through her willingness to answer all questions, she fosters a trusting and compassionate relationship between mentor and participants.
Orna has exhaustive experience being an authorpreneur both from her own personal journey navigating the publishing space as an author and working with/mentoring other authors who are walking the same path. I find these workshops to be a distilled essence of this highly specialized knowledge that she has gathered through time.
As a result, this is highly effective and beneficial for an author in terms of the multiple hats that we wear as an authorpreneur. Orna defines them as – maker, manager and marketer. The pay yourself first approach that I got to learn from the workshop is how I'm going to be structuring my business as I believe it's going to set me up for success. Also appreciate the flexibility of attending only the workshops on topics that I most want to learn about and the Q&A time at the end of the session.
Beth Ball, Epic Fantasy Author
I learn so much in each of the sessions, and I really appreciate all of the work you do to help us with both strategies and mindset on the indie author journey.
Beth Ball is an epic fantasy author spinning stories of druidic magic and the power of nature that span the realms of Azuria and Eldura.
Belinda Strotheide, Writer and Business Trainer
I just wanted to take a few minutes to say how much I appreciate your creative planning training. My college degree is in business, I’ve spent years listening to entrepreneurial training, I’ve helped businesses, nonprofits and communities think through the process and formulate their plans and goals. You have helped me see the process in a new way. A way that lets me view it creatively, with the business aspects as a framework rather than the focus of the activities. Thank you! Also, thank you for your sensitivity and respect toward the individuals in the meetings. I also like how you push us to go for the deeper truth of who we are creatively and address the real reasons we may get stuck. A really BIG THANK YOU. What you’re doing is so very helpful.