In the process of setting my goals for 2015, I realized how much magic there is in writing them down—and I don’t mean just randomly choosing goals and then giving ourselves a due date. That doesn’t work. The magic comes when we dig deep.
Here’s my process in case it helps you:
Tip # 1: Brainstorm and write it down
First, I grab a legal pad and have one page for each of the following areas of my life: business, writing, health, and hobbies. For each category, I write down the goals I want to have accomplished by the end of 2015. And, if necessary, I break the goals down into different categories.
For example, in my writing life, I have prose goals and poetry goals. My prose goals for 2015 are to finish and publish my fantasy novel and then edit and finish my memoir. And then to be writing down ideas for my next book. All great goals. But I need to chunk them down and make them doable.
For my fantasy manuscript, my first goal is to finish my first draft. How many words per day/per week/per month can I realistically do while I work fulltime? Figure it out and set a date. Once my first draft is done, what’s next? Implement my marketing plan while I take time to revise and edit. I continue writing down the next action step in my plan until I can see all the parts to the whole.
Tip # 2: Look forward to events
Look forward to events that can be used as goal dates. For example, the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference is in July this year. What would happen if I had my book ready and published in order to market at that event? The idea excites me! It feels good. Can I realistically meet this goal? With hard work and focus, I think it’s doable. Now, I work backwards from this date and plan accordingly. Read more
Self or traditional publishing?
It’s the big question most writers are considering no matter what point they’re at in their writing. Writers have more options than ever with all the changes in publishing in the past five years.
As I’ve been learning about the paths to publishing, I’ve been struck by insights from hybrid author Hugh Howey that you might find helpful as you build your writing career. Howey is known for his popular series Wool, which he independently published with great success through Amazon.com’s Kindle Direct Publishing system. Wool – Part One is currently available for free.
In 2012, Twentieth Century Fox bought the film rights to Wool, and Howey signed a deal with Simon and Schuster to distribute Wool to book retailers across the U.S. and Canada. The deal allowed Howey to continue to sell the book online exclusively. He turned down seven-figure offers and instead opted for a mid six-figure deal in order to retain e-book rights.
In a blog post by Porter Anderson on Publishing Perspectives yesterday, Anderson asked Howey to offer advice for self publishers. Here’s one piece of it:
1. Asking people to buy your book doesn’t work. Instead, try to entertain or enlighten with your Facebook posts and tweets. Read more
For the first time in its history, the National Book Foundation has announced the 2013 Young People’s Literature Longlist for the National Book Award. This is the first time the National Book Foundation has announced a “longlist” of ten titles for each National Book Awards category. The list includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Longlist for Poetry will be announced today, the Longlist for Nonfiction on Sept 18, and the Longlist for Fiction on September 19. The short list of five finalists in each category will be announced in mid-October.
The nominees for Young People’s Literature address important contemporary issues, including the immigrant experience, coming of age as an LGBT teen, and the impact of technology on civilization.
Personally, I’ve read some great books for young people and I’m excited this category is doing more to recognize the incredible talent in the field.
One example is Lisa Graff’s nominated book, A Tangle of Knots,which takes place in a slightly magical version of our world, where most everyone has a special talent—something he or she is uniquely gifted at, often to a supernatural degree. Read more
If you’ve finished a fantasy or science fiction novel but don’t have an agent, you’re in luck.
Harper Voyager, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, is accepting unsolicited submissions to find new authors with fresh voices, strong storytelling abilities, original ideas, and compelling storylines.
Harper Voyager is accepting manuscripts for a two week period: Oct. 1 – 14, 2012.
Harper Voyager is looking for full-length manuscripts only. A full-length manuscript should be more than 70,000 words, and ideally 80,000–120,000 words. Read more
In a Scripts & Scribes interview with literary magazine Tin House editor Rob Spillman, he said one thing that influences him to publish a submission is an author who writes with authority.
Writing with authority means ensuring that the tone, details and language of your story are confidently written so that readers are willing to live in the world you’ve created.
Writing with authority covers so many aspects of writing that — done well — you’re more likely to attract the attention of editors and agents. Here are some tips:
Be believable. Believable isn’t the same as boring or predictable. But characters and plot need to be realistic in the realm of the story you’re writing about. You’ll knock your reader right out of the story world you’ve created if you present a story line that doesn’t ring true.
“Nix stereotypes and the dreaded deus ex machina, in which a critical problem is suddenly solved with a contrived addition of a new event, superpower, object, or character.” Read more