In no time at all, another year has passed. Have you accomplished what you had planned?
What kind of priorities did you set for yourself? Were they realistic? Were there even enough hours in the day to fit in all of your dreams?
At the end of the year, it’s easier to look back and decide whether or not we put too many expectations on ourselves or not enough. Because looking back is always easier than looking forward. It is the known versus the unknown.
Our industry has changed, both for the writer, the agent, and the editor. This isn’t Tom Clancy or Mary Higgins Clark’s approach to getting published. And we wouldn’t want it to be. In some ways, it’s much more difficult to break into the publishing world, and in others, much easier. Neither of the recent authors had self-publishing models to work with. Neither of them could send out a query or proposal to an agent or editor with one click of a keyboard.
While we wring our hands (and we do), or bemoan the current state of the industry (and, again, we do…and often), we have to remember that never has it been easier to contact industry professionals. If you doubt that, take a look at my inbox!
Still, one thing has not changed, and that is, you must have an outstanding story to shop around. No longer is it enough to have a really good story. Or even a great one! You must have excellence at every turn. Plus, you must have been working at getting your name into social media. Speaking at lady’s teas, at churches, at workshops, at conferences, in libraries, anywhere you can be seen is paramount. I know. I know. Everyone hates to hear that, and most say, “What can I talk about if I’m not published yet?” Find your area of expertise. We all have them. We just don’t always know it or recognize it. Some folks can talk on perseverance. As hopeful authors we all get that one. Or we can offer a presentation about struggles that have happened which we can use or have used in one of our stories. How we mesh real life with fiction. The options are as limitless as our imaginations. Some folks are genius at blogging, tweeting, setting up social media events for friends. There are those who can teach long before they get it right in their own writing because they understand the trends in the industry. You can hand a great teacher almost any topic, give them a couple days to put together a program, and voila! An amazing presentation. Like I said, many can teach it before they see the mistakes in their own work.
When looking ahead to 2018, what can you do to be seen as more than a person with a very singular profession; that of a writer. How can you write while leaving time to make yourself known little by little?
Don’t sit home wringing your hands crying over the state of the industry (at least not every minute of every day J). Let’s set realistic goals, try to move into social media one step at a time, and make the decision: I AM a writer. I WILL be noticed. I WILL do all of the things that I need to in order to make my work excellent! I will attend conferences when possible. Local workshops. I’ll find critique partners/writing groups that will move me from a good writer to a great writer, to an excellent author.
Don’t cry over what did NOT happen in 2017. Move forward in 2018 one step at a time. One contact at a time. One decisive moment at a time.
Best wishes from all of us at Hartline. We pray that each of you will recognize your dreams. We are here to help, to nurture, and to further your careers. Hoping you all had a wonderful Christmas, and that you will be blessed in the new year.