Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Additional Thought on the Radar Theme

I knew I would end up wanting to add more to this and sure enough, here it is.

This really goes along with the idea of knowing if you are ready for an agent or not.

The successful writers out there are constantly producing. I hinted at this in the last post but I think it is important enough to put this in its own little section.
Those writers that are making it out there always have several projects in the works, and writing at many different phases. Let me give you a couple of examples from two writers in particular. You will notice a trend.

Writer A divides her time between 3 publishing houses. Each has different demands and focus. One is a bigger house that really only wants one story each year. This story is unique and the editor really likes to work through the process with the writer extensively. This house demands a lot of time but does so in blocks throughout the year. The second house she works with is a category house. This one is looking at fast turn arounds and roughly 3 a year. Finally, she has an electronic press that she does smaller works with.

Writer B divides her time between 2 publishing houses. Like Writer A, the demands are different. At one house, the push for completion is not so severe. When the stories get done, they get done. She is also at a Category house and is on the 3-4 book a year process.

Now, what you see with both is that they always have a project going. Writer A has one in the middle of a critique, 1 in a drafting phase and several on proposals. She also has a large stack of potential future projects for when the need arises.
Writer B has worked out a schedule (which we just finished yesterday) where she blocks out 3 month blocks for each publisher throughout the year to meet the needs of each editor. Writer A, she also has many projects that are "waiting the chance to be written."

I bring this up because these writers stay on the radar. There is always some element of their writing that I am working on with them.

Keep that in mind if you want to move to the professional realm of this business.

And by the way, if you want to read a great blog article on the role of an agent as a publicist, check out the Bookends Blog for today. (Great article Jessica!)



  1. great post on time management. Do you think it's easier to do when you're a full-time writer, or can you hold a full time job and maintain the same schedule? Would a schedule of 3-4 books a year for a category house and the occasional st be enough to live on?

    (I like Bookends, but their blog-focus is different. You're more craft oriented, and they're more...uhm? edit/industry...I'm not sure how to put it. But there's a difference. I think the key is process versus end result)

  2. Jodi,

    I have to say that the time management issue is not something that only happens for part or full time writers. It is a matter of priorities. You have to make sure that each day, you do something for your craft. That might be writing, it might be outlining, it might be researching. It doesn't matter.

    I think the second thing to understand is that writers that produce are not just sitting down at the computer and saying, "Hmmm what will I write today? or "Let's see what my character wants to do today." They are in complete charge. They know where the story is to go to.

    Remember Writer A and Writer B? Although they both take slightly different approaches to plotting, they both do it. Writer A creates a great beginning and then plots major benchmarks the characters have to get to. Writer B figures the entire story out before starting. It takes a couple of days for both of them to work out in their head the entire premise of the story, but it is there before they work.

    Knowing where you are going to that day and what you want to say is the key to success.

    Now, as for the concept of "living on the writing" please get that out of your head. Never give up that day job. Eventually, if you can maintain a pace and produce, you can begin to make some money, but remember, many of these writers have spouses making money as well.

  3. lol, that's what I thought about the money. I appreciate your honesty. :)