Around the end of the year holiday period, the editorial world becomes quieter than normal. Admittedly, almost every publisher has slow communication with writers and agents but that becomes even slower over the holidays. From my experience in publishing, I know editors and agents are focused on other details at this time of year.
Over ten years ago, when I was an acquisitions editor for a different publisher, I spent an entire day signing Christmas cards to all the authors of the publishing house. The time spent on this one activity gives you an idea how why the business of publishing is put on hold as other holiday tasks and events crowd into schedules.
When your submissions get no response and seem to disappear into a black hole—in December or at other times of the year, how do you keep your writing life going? As a writer, your task is to keep going and continue pursuing your dreams. Your persistence and continued effort will pay off. I’ve shared this message in my workshops—but I’ve been hearing it from others as well.
Tips for Acting Tenaciously During the Holidays
Here are some tips for developing tenacity so you keep going until you succeed.
Be Persistent: The road to success is littered with people who do not persist. These writers try a few things, get rejected then put their writing away and figure no one wants it. In contrast, the writers who get published continue to look for the right place for their material to be published. They are persistent.
Begin A New Writing Project: If you are struggling to get published with one idea or manuscript, I encourage you to write a second book proposal or manuscript, and try sending out that one. Maybe the second one will be the ticket to success. I’ve known many novelists who never published their first novel—and their manuscript remains in their desk drawer. Instead, they needed to persist and write and market several novels. Doing so would help them find their writing voice and a path to publication.
Write In A Different Genre: While you wait, try a different type of writing, such as publishing in print magazines. It is necessary to experiment with many different options to find your path to publication. For the last year, each month, I’ve written an article about different aspects of magazine publication. Check this link, and you will see that I’ve written many different articles about this key writing skill. From my experience there are many different writing possibilities. I have a wide-ranging list of some of these possibilities in the free sample chapter of my book, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. (Just follow this link to download it.)
Several months ago, I was reading a story in Lauren Graham’s memoir, Talking as Fast as I Can. She was at a cast dinner and seated next to mega-bestselling author James Patterson. She asked him, “How do you do it?” He responded, “Keep going, keep going, keep going.”
Read Articles to Get New Ideas: Numerous obstacles will show up into your life and prevent you from writing. Persistence and continuing to write despite the barriers provide keys to your success. As writers, we need to continually read and open to new ideas and new options. Last week, Smashwords Founder Mark Coker had an article in the current Publishers Weekly: Ten Tips for Autopilot E-book Marketing. Whether you have E-books or not, I encourage you to look at these ten ideas. These are perennial ideas that you can use with your books.
One of the hardest things to discover is something that is not there. This principle applies to proofreading, writing, marketing and many other aspects of publishing. When I read Coker’s article, I began to think about #2, “Add a Discussion Guide.” Years ago when I was an acquisitions editor at David C. Cook, we decided to add a discussion guide to every new book—nonfiction or fiction. Why? This simple addition added great value to each book.
Every month thousands of book clubs select books to read and discuss. If your book includes a study guide, then you have opened this possibility for your book. If your book is already in print, you can write the study guide and give it away on your website as an added value for your readers. You also can use the study guide as a list builder and have people give you an email address and first name to get the free download.
Each of the tips mentioned in this post contain a common element for you as the writer to use during this quiet period in the world of publishing: Take continual action and try new ideas to keep your momentum going. Your consistent action can prove a game changer in your writing life now and in the year ahead.
What are you doing during the holidays to keep moving toward your writing goals?
About the Author
W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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