I’ve found that serendipity is often part of a writer’s life, whether it’s a chance meeting with someone who can provide that bit of information you’ve been seeking for a novel, or an introduction to someone who happens to be a great editor or jacket designer. This month, I had a number of conversations with writers, discussing their work, or their publishing and bookselling experiences. Each conversation gave me food for thought. Ideas for increasing my output and “discoverability” bounced around my brain, then faded away, and sometimes returned in snippets. But those ideas all gelled this weekend when I came across one of Dean Wesley Smith’s most recent blogs.
He’s been writing a series that he calls Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing. This week’s topic was on the concept of falling behind, or missing one’s chance. The point that really struck me was to take a look at where I am now as a writer and ask myself if I still want to be in this same place five years from now. Smith stressed the importance of forming a business plan, and of achieving realistic goals that don’t set one up for failure. And so came my answer: create a business plan or, in my case, revise the plan I’ve been working on.
For many years, the plan was simply to learn how to write and revise a novel that would be publication ready. After that goal was finally accomplished, the second plan was to find a publisher while working on more short stories and novels. It was daunting, but I eventually achieved this goal. Since 2011, I’ve been publishing a book a year, something I could only dream about five years ago. But over the past three years, I’ve realized that there’s another important step to take. I’d spent so much time revising my work that I didn’t realize I needed to revise my plan as well.
Thanks to those insightful conversations with others, I’ve come up with some ideas about how to make it happen. As mentioned above, the gist of it is about increasing my discoverability locally and on the Net. This does not mean joining more social media sites, but working smarter, particularly on short stories and novellas featuring novel characters I’ve already created. Ideas have already begun to flow. I’m jotting down notes and working on freeing up more time for writing. This is turning into an exciting year of possibilities.