Writers ROI and KPI

In my ‘day’ job there are two TLAs (three letter acronyms, which itself is a three letter acronym) that dominate the landscape: ROI and KPI. I’m now starting to apply them to my ‘night’ job, writing.

ROI stands for Return on Investment. Basically it’s asking yourself what you will get for what you spend. For example, you spend $1000 on home improvements to lower your electric bill by $100, it will take you 10 months to save enough money on your bill to make back the grand you spent.

I have to think about what I will gain for spending the money on How to Think Sideways or the How to Structure Fictionclasses I’ve taken. In each case, I decided that the knowledge I would gain was worth the money I would spend. The ROI made sense, even though it will likely be years before that ROI is realized.

But ROI in my writers life is more often about time than money. I have to decide between spending my time writing, and reading. Writing time is split between my WiP and blogs. The reading time is further broken down between reading books, and blogs on craft, and reading fiction both in and out of my genre. Then there is the me time that I need to put in: the family time, the goof off time, the ‘day job’ time. Those are important as well. Without the family time, my relationships with my wife and kids will deteriorate, and no matter how good a writer I become, that’s not good ROI. Without some goof off time, I won’t be mentally fresh to write. I have to watch this because its rather easy to spend too much time here and ruin the ROI. The day job time gets back to my unfortunate habit of eating and my high maintenance preference for sleeping in climate controlled spaces.

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. KPIs are commonly used to evaluate your success or the success of a particular activity. Sometimes success is defined in terms of making progress toward goals, but often, success is simply the repeated achievement.

Accordingly, choosing the right KPIs is reliant upon having a good understanding of what is important. As a writer, what are my KPIs?

Word count is making progress toward a specific goal (finishing the novel or short story), so word count is a KPI. If I had anything published, my star rating would be a KPI. Number of blog spots, new twitter followers, blog page hits are all different metrics I could use as KPIs of my platform.

What are your personal KPIs?

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