Been thinking about writing for next year and found myself playing a bit a few ideas. I started with the Growth-Share Matrix from the Boston Consulting Group. For those that don’t know, this is what it looks like:

Basically, the idea is that you split your business units / brands / what have you along those lines. It’s useful if, for example; you had multiple series (like I do) where you needed to divert resources to (your writing time) and decide what to do.

In my case, my Star would be A Thousand Li, the System Apocalypse is the Cash Cow, the Question Mark was Adventures on Brad and Hidden Wishes would be my dog.

Of course, that doesn’t line up directly; but it does kind of give you an idea of where my resources might be worth devoting to. But…

A Series Profitability / Effort Matrix

I think there’s another variation on this that could be just as, if not more useful.

In this case, I’d alter the axis to:

  • Y-Axis – Series Profit
  • X-Axis: Effort / Time Taken to Release each book

So, it’d be something like this:

In this sense, my Series would change a little. For example:

AoB is easy to write and at around 40k words each book, they are quick to get out. While they haven’t gotten a lot of support in recent releases, I still do pull in a decent profit overall because they’re now at 6 books out. Whereas Hidden Wishes at only 60k words is a pain to write. Seriously, it takes me as long to write a Hidden Wishes book as a A Thousand Li or System Apocalypse.

Anyway, this was a little thought process and play. I have no idea if it’s useful for anyone else, and it’s worth exactly nothing for people with fewer than 2 series, but… here you go.

Some Things to Note

  • There’s something to be said about defining profit and what timeline you are using to define it in. As a self-pub author, you have the entirety of your career for a book to make a profit. Actually, up to 50 years after you die, but you get the point. When we decide to cut-off that timeline is a good question
  • This matrix is only useful if you are like me and can ‘decide’ to some extent what to write. I know some writers who can only write what their muse tells them.

    I know others who have to finish the story they start (which, really, I recommend most people do). Again, this is another dicussion; but if you don’t / can’t choose what to write, making calculations of what series to write is kind of useless
  • Be careful of how you define effort / time. For me, I am using both the amount of time it took (days/weeks/months) and how emotionally drained it made me.
  • Lastly, you aren’t comparing like-to-like. A Thousand Li is less profitable than System Apocalypse, but it only has 2 books out. AoB has 6 books out, while ATL has 2. Again – they have different values. This is a 2 axis matrix, meant to help guide thinking; not dictate it.

Anyway, have fun if it’s useful.

Like the business blog post? Want to support me writing more of them? Want to read ahead (2 weeks) of others? Become a Patron and choose the $2-tier to be able to read the business posts only and ask questions about the business side of writing.