Business Musings: Triage (Rethinking The Writing Business Part Five)
Everyone who read the previous post on inventory and the things you needed to do to manage your inventory freaked out. Or, rather, everyone who communicated with me afterwards ran the scale from mildly freaked out to majorly freaked out.
And I must confess: the idea of going through all of my inventory, with an eye to licensing every little piece, freaks me out as well. Okay, “freaked out” is too mild a phrase. I was totally paralyzed for more than a week.
Part of my brain wondered why in heavens name I even needed to write anything else. The rest of my brain had answers. The critical/logical voice said, You must finish your various series, of course. And the creative voice huddled in a panic. Once I disassembled that panic, I figured out what, exactly, was going on.
Remember, my creative voice is barely verbal. Maybe two. And once she stopped communicating in metaphor, she whined, I don’t wanna spend the rest of my life doing stinky licensing.
Okay, then. (I particularly liked the “stinky.” That told me just how young the creative voice really is.)
Me—all of me, every single part, the critical/logical and the creative, doesn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing stinky licensing either.
But, when I start a project, or when I’m in the middle of working on one. Or when I focus on a project, I love doing the licensing. That whole Wizarding World of Harry Potter thing I mentioned a few weeks ago? Yeah, I love doing that.
Not as much as I love making up stories, but I do love spitballing the new stuff. The and-this, and-this, and-this. I love it.
I just don’t want to spend my whole life at it.
Rather like editing. I gave up editing for a while, but I missed it. I just don’t want to do it full time. I don’t want to do licensing full time either, but I do want all of the opportunities licensing presents.
I’m sure you want that as well.
The key is wrapping my arms around all of my inventory. Somehow. And if I think about it as one single thing, with many branches coming off of it, I see the inventory as a never-ending forest that I could easily get lost in.
It took a while to figure out how I wanted to handle this, and to do so, I took a word out of medicine. I decided to triage my inventory. Using “triage” as a verb means that I will assign orders of priority to dealing with the items in my inventory.
In other words, whatever needs care most will receive it first. Once I have taken care of the materials that need immediate care, I will move onto the other items in the inventory, mostly by size—series first, then standalone novels, then short stories by popularity.
Whatever I’m working on currently will get the licensing treatment immediately. And whatever is coming up next in the writing queue will get the licensing treatment concurrent with the writing.
That’s for current and future projects, though, which is relatively easy. What about existing projects?
Here’s where it gets personal.
For me—and me alone—I am going by outside interest. I need to protect certain properties that are already under option and/or being examined by various film/TV and gaming corporations. If a property has received interest from one of those, then that property will need my attention first.
I did much of this when I negotiated deals on the properties currently under option. I have frozen out the licensing on a few, and I have actively retained licensing rights for everything except a TV or movie on others. Those are more or less taken care of, but we’re going to review those properties anyway, just to make certain that I didn’t miss anything.
Next, I will deal with active series. I will go through the various items I noted in Part Four, and will put those series in order.
To do that, I need to organize here in Las Vegas. In our rapid move, we lost time and track of the various filing for all our projects. I kept current deals active, but everything else is in boxes either here or in Lincoln City, waiting for some kind of order.
We’ll be organizing that starting in August, so that we can make the up-to-date spreadsheets that I mentioned in Part Four.
I can do much of it off the top of my head, however, because I do have a memory for all of this. And I did keep online lists of everything. Only the paper is out of order.
Part of my plan to keep all of this information under control and to begin the licensing projects for the inventory is to go slow. First I will organize the current and future projects; then I will triage the inventory; and then I will work my way down each item.
I will work on no more than one or two licensed properties at a time—of mine. I will be helping WMG on some upcoming projects (that need to be started right) and with projects that already exist and need the same kind of attention that my IP needs.
So, I see myself working on four or five big licensing projects (organizing them and making decisions for them) for the next year, with an eye toward prepping some of them for the 2020 licensing expo.
I won’t be working on more than four or five, even though I have hundreds of pieces of IP, because four or five is all I have time for.
If I don’t keep that kind of lid on the inventory, I will get paralyzed again. I see too many possibilities and they could take up every moment of every day.
So, this is a short post, discussing how I plan to triage my writing and the licensing connected to it.
I know many of you are as overwhelmed by your inventory as well. If you are doing something different from what I’m doing, please let me know in the comments. Other people will want to see various methods for triage. Most of us have a lot of IP and are facing a daunting task of wrangling it.
There are millions of ways to wrangle, and if we can hit on a few, then it will help all of us.
More discussion is happening on my Patreon page. I’m writing up parts of the Licensing Expo (still) and am also posting these weekly post there as soon as I finish them.
In addition, Dean is doing a year-long program on the transition that WMG is going through. If you want to follow along, you can do so by signing up here.
Thanks for sticking with me through all of this, and for sharing what you’re doing. We learn best when we learn together.
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“Business Musings: Triage (Rethinking The Writing Business Part Five),” copyright © 2019 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © Can Stock Photo / iqoncept