Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

My family and I plan our vacation months in advance. As active as our lives are we find that there are very few weeks in the year where we don't have any conflicts. We study the calendar, determine when school gets out in the spring and when the next school year begins. We map out all the kids' activities (baseball games, cheerleading camps, church camps, etc.) and try to identify the one week in the summer when we can take a trip to our favorite destination.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans. Both of my sons made their respective all-star baseball teams. The younger son's team didn't advance beyond the first round. I expected similar results with the older son's team -- but they surprised me. They won the district tournament last night to advance to the state tournament, and you know when it is, right? You guessed it. During vacation week. Oh well.

The same is true in publishing. In the summer of 2000 when I decided to write a novel, my plan was to simply write the novel believing that if I did it would be published. That was naive and not very good planning. I have a stack of rejection letters and e-mails to prove it. It takes a great proposal to even get noticed. And once you finally find a publisher that believes in your work and is willing to take a chance, the really hard part begins. Marketing.

If your writing a novel or trying to get one published, your plan must have at least three components. 1. Write the best possible story you can -- one that sets the hook on the first page. 2. Write a killer proposal that grabs acquisition editors' attention immediately. 3. From the moment you write the first word in your manuscript be thinking about marketing. Publishers not only desire great writing but they also need to have a comfort level that your book will sell.

And remember that sometimes even the best laid plans go awry.
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Blogger Terry Whalin said...


Thank you for the fascinating post. Flexibility is a key part of living life and you've placed your priorities on family and your son's baseball instead of the vacation. I hope you will still manage to get some time away from the work.

Keep up the good effort.

The Writing Life

9:57 AM  

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