Career Planning for Writers
by Pamela S. Thibodeaux © 2004 (Revised 2017)
Statistics show that those who set goals and write them down are the ones who succeed. Even freelance writers need a career plan. Here are some ideas for short and long-term goals for writers.
Short-term Goals for New or Unpublished Writers
1) Complete manuscripts. Finishing your manuscript would be the most important goal for a new writer.
2) Write to publish. Write at least two or three articles for your writing group’s (or another) newsletter. This gets you name recognition and exposure…two things essential to any writing career.
Take this one step further and get those articles out there on the World Wide Web. There are Ezines, websites and newsletters that pay for reprints of articles. Funds for Writers is a great placed to start, but there are hundreds of options to market your work.
3) Submit and Work Those Rejections! Submit your manuscript—or at least query—two or three editors and/or agents. Books such as Be Your Own Literary Agent by Martin P. Levin and How to be Your Own Literary Agent by Literary Agent, Richard Curtis give you information on how working those rejection letters can benefit you and your career.
Short-term Goals for Published Writers
1) Finish that next project. Every author knows that in order to maintain the coveted title of “published” you must continue to write things that will sell.
2) Focus on Promotion. Spend at least five to 10 hours per week promoting. This goal is as individual as you are but promotion is the key to a successful writing career.
Before setting goals for promotion, every author should also set a budget. Be reasonable and be realistic! Do some research and get the most exposure for your money. For low cost promotional ideas check out places like EbookSoda and The Book Breeze or check out publications like, The Top 100 Websites for Book and Author Promotion. There are also Good Reads and Facebook groups where you can participate in group advertising for free. Also, check with your publisher or fellow authors about co-op ads in publications like RWR or RT.
Remember, Free is always better! List your book at free sites and sign up to receive every newsletter available to you. This provides you with numerous opportunities to promote and write!
3) Speak up. Schedule at least one book signing and/or speaking engagement per month (when possible). These serve two purposes: exposure and sales.
Plan for a Career
If you want to make writing your career, you’ll have to establish longer term goals. Here are two ways you can provide a sure foundation for a writing career.
1) Multiply your efforts. Plan to Write and publish two, three or five books within three to five years. This can be expanded to cover 10 or 20 years. One or two books per year is a very reasonable goal (depending on what you write) especially if you already have a career and a family and are busy promoting yourself and your work.
2) Write full-time. Another goal would be to make enough money from writing to do it full-time. Consider writing and marketing articles, short stories and essays. Check out resources such as Freedom With Writing and Funds For Writers which share lists of paying markets and other ways to increase your writing income.
Live the Dream
Goal setting and career planning are navigational tools for writing success. Is it important to write those goals, check them off, and reevaluate them? Many would answer this question with a resounding yes! Writing is as personal and individual as writers and goals should be tailored as such. Keeping your goals flexible makes them more attainable.
Finally, keep in mind that writing—not goal setting—should be your top priority. If setting goals takes the enjoyment out of your writing, build up to it slowly. But don’t put it off forever. Writing is a business, and every business must establish short- and long-term goals to ensure continued success.
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com
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