- Set goals. Know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re going to do it. What do you really want to accomplish with your writing? Do you want to quit your day job? Become a best-seller? Achieve critical acclaim?
- Have a business plan. Write down your strategy for how you will attain your goals and when.
- Review last year’s successes and failures. Analyze what you did that worked and what didn’t. Use that information to set new goals and write your business plan.
- Study the market/genre. What’s selling, what’s not? What are the top sellers doing different than the bottom sellers? Take note of changes. Last year’s hot genre may be this year’s dud.
- Aim high. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t just seek out what you’re pretty sure you can get, aim higher than that. Dream big and shoot for the sky. If what you really want is to become a New York Times bestselling author, don’t settle for midlist. Do what it takes to achieve your dreams.
- Set a writing word count and stick to it. No excuses. Push yourself to exceed your writing goal. Not only will this allow you to produce more books faster, it will free up more time for you do other things.
- Feed the engine, but don’t flood it. This applies to both writing and promotion. You have to be prolific, but you have pace yourself. If you do too little, you won’t gain enough momentum to reach your goals. If you overproduce, you’ll operate at a frenzied level that will lead to burnout.
- Be persistent, consistent, and allow time for your strategy to work. It takes years to build a readership. Yeah, some debut authors will hit it out of the ballpark with their first book, but that’s generally not how it goes. There is no secret formula, and if there were, “individual results may vary.”
- But conversely, don’t keep slamming your hand in a drawer. If you’ve given it your best and things still aren’t working for you, shake it up. Do something different.
- Be flexible because the market is going to change whether you want it to or not. E-publishing has revolutionized publishing. The market can shift quickly, and Amazon, the 600-pound-gorilla, can and will change the game overnight.
How many of these practices do you follow?
What other practices would you recommend?