Monday, December 10, 2018

Tip Time

Because we are so close to the end of the year, I naturally have started thinking about things like New Year's Resolutions, which brings me to this month's tip: make a list of goals and to-do's.

At the start of every year, I do annual strategy sessions with all my clients where we talk about what we want to achieve in the coming year and the steps we think we'll have to take to get there.  It's a time to crystallize goals and also to analyze the actions we need to take.  It might sound kind of militant, but I find that it's a super helpful thing to do.

Besides the vague, umbrella goals of wanting an agent, a book deal, etc., taking the time to figure out concrete micro-goals you need to make in order to get to the ultimate one is a great way to get yourself organized and articulate what you should be doing/focusing on.

So for instance, if your overarching goal is to get an agent, your list might look something like this:
  1. Research agents who are a good fit for me
    • Represent historical fiction
    • Communicative via email
    • Good rapport
    • Looking for own voices authors
  2. Create spreadsheet to track queries and rounds of submissions
  3. Perfect query letter
    • Read articles online about crafting the perfect query letter
    • Submit query to pitch contests
    • Get CPs to read and edit
  4. Comb through ms to polish
    • Focus on engaging, active voice
    • Make sure pace moves quickly
    • Highlight all telling areas and fix
    • Read comp titles and study how they use certain writing techniques successfully
  5. Decide on timeline
    • Once I can't revise anymore, how long to I want to sub this ms for before shelving for something new?
  6. Interact with agents
    • Go to conferences and online pitch sessions
    • *Goal* - get constructive feedback from at least 5 agents this year
It's not hard to see I'm a BIG fan of lists, plans, and contingency plans, so in 2019, I invite you to join me and become The Container Store incarnate and get yourself organized!! 