Friday, December 26, 2008

New Year's Resoulutions?

As you are lying there in that after Holiday's Coma your computer is screaming at you to get back to work. Right now it is sick and tired of you trying to find those perfect sales that really don't exist. I know, I have tried. The news kept telling me of great deals but hey, they just ain't there.

In any case, as you lay there, you start thinking about all of those great plans you have for the new year when it comes to your writing. These are a few of them I am sure... (with my comments)...

Conferences are fantastic. Before you go jumping into the things and start dumping money, or rejecting those that might be too far away, start doing some research. Feel free to begin with the conferences that are close to you so that travel is not that big of an issue, but expand your thoughts. If those conferences are close but don't offer what you need or want, think bigger. You need to be looking at not just the cost, but the agents and editors that might be attending, the sessions they are looking at running... the list is endless.

Also, make sure to budget your time and money. Yes conferences cost and you can't ignore that. When I look at conferences, I increase or slow them down based on other things going on in my life and with the agency. 2 years ago, I was all over the place. Don't get me wrong. I love it! But, I needed to spend some more time with my family. So I slowed down. Now, we are all ready to travel again so the conference schedule is back open and running. At this time, I am tentatively NOT going to RT or RWA (unless some thing changes) so the time for travel to local chapters is very open. ATTENTION CHAPTERS, EMAIL ME AND I WILL COME. THE TIME IS THERE!

I love this one. Sorry but there is no control over this. With the market the way it is, the publishing thing is still a huge crap shoot. Keep writing but remember, it is still in the hands of the editors and their marketing groups. I will also say, that I have seen more places sticking to the established authors instead of picking up a lot of new people. This is not to say you can't get published but the odds are tough. Keep it out there for a goal though. NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Looking at the market, this is really becoming a bigger and bigger need for new writers. Don't rush into anything and please, do not be convinced only with the list of writers an agent has, or the number of big sales they have had. Remember, for the most part, these are not necessarily new writers that are getting the big numbers. Most are from those that have done a lot more writing. We've talked about this before, but find the perfect match for you that deals with the type of writing and the approach to writing that you have.

This is a big one and it goes back to the idea that makes a "real writer". Keep writing but finish something.

For me, as a writer, this is my goal. I have a couple of writing projects on my computer right now that will be finished before the end of the year.

These are great. I always encourage writers to take classes every now and then. Sometimes, the class is not so much about learning new things, but to be inspired to get writing a bit more.

There are a ton of classes out there and I would encourage you to take a look at them. First, look at the local community colleges. We often forget these but there are great courses. I know I teach some at the local colleges and the numbers in the class really provide for some great one-on-one work.

There are also a lot of online classes out there. Like anything online, there are a lot of pros and cons to consider. How much interaction do you have? What is the computer platform they are working with? What is the content? What do you get from it? Do you have the time to commit to it?

Now, I can hype my own class here. Beginning in mid January, I will be running the MARKETING YOUR FICTION NOVEL class again in conjunction with Pierce College. The class is run on a great learning platform that allows for writers to discuss with each other as well as post their actual writing for others to read as well as for me to read. There is nothing to download and the software issues are all run through the college.

In this class, we discuss finding your own niche, researching editors and agents, high concept, query letters, synopsis writing and the first chapters. Along with all of this, you get constant feedback from me as well as any other writers taking the course, constant Q & A time and if you wish, continuing education credit from the college. The information is on my website, or contact me directly and I can send you the link. THERE IS STILL TIME TO REGISTER!

These groups are great. Too many writers feel they don't need a group. This is a big mistake. Not only do you get critique, you also have a network for infomation.

How much should you get involved? This all depends on the time you want to spend or that you have available. I find it amazing how many authors lose so much time due to the work they spend with their chapters. Be careful with this, but certainly get involved.

Regardless of what you plan, please, follow through with your goals. There is a lot you can do but you can't just leave it to fate to carry out your plans.

Happy Holidays!


  1. So funny you posted this today! I want to finish my wip before the New Year so I can start another book! LOL So many ideas, such slow fingers.

  2. Great post, Scott!

    And I gave your blog an "I love it!" Award. Because it's great.

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Great post BUT while at the last conference, the two agents standing in front of me in the lunch line both quietly said to each other that they had never taken a single ms from a conference, and that they only attended because it was their professional responsibillity to do so. I really admired their honesty, as it confirmed my own suspicions that the the brief interview could only serve to discover if a writer can speak coherently, not much more. i have gotten a much better respnose from writing to agents in my genre, sand think the conference money is much better spernt giving onre some free time to write a home. I know you seem to find writers at these events. The Black Raven croaks again. Happy new year to all. Better to know the trutyh, than not.

  4. Anon,

    I agree with the comment you made. I have heard the same thing, and while that is frustrating, I am afraid it is too often true. The people who pitch at conferences are often far from ready and often pitch because they were pressured into it.

    I have to say that as an agent, when I go to conferences, although I would love to hear some great stories (and again I remind that person that I requested 2 fulls from at Nationals to send both) I go to conferences to help writers better prepare their writing. I do not like to bring in pre-done prsentations that simply promote my authors but to provide guidance to new authors.

    Still, I keep my fingers crossed that I will find something I like.

  5. Any chance You'll be at the Lori Foster event this coming year Scott? Would love to finally meet the man on the other end of the phone when I'm checking in with you... LOL

  6. Bonnie,

    I only go to the conferences I am invited to with the exceptions of the large national ones. If a chapter or group wishes for me to come, all they have to do is ask.