Friday, October 03, 2008

Gosh! 13 Things?

1. Be careful what you say and where. You never know who will overhear your comment, so don’t gossip about others or vent unless it’s in a closed room with your friends. Word does get around.

2. Make sure you want your business dug up. Chances are that whatever you put on the internet at your site will be able to be found by the most random of people. And if a Joe next door can find it, who says an agent or editor can’t?

3. Practice your craft! Some of us have been writing a long time, but unlike old dogs we can learn new tricks. In fact, we must to stay marketable. So don’t think you know it all. You may have the basics down pat, but the market is always changing.

4. Persona sells. Make sure that you can sell yourself. Learn to be presentable and be able to hold your own in a social setting. On some occasions you will be forced to mingle…and just imagine one day you could be dining with your editor or agent at Nationals!

5. Make writing friends. These people, male or female, will have your back and be there when you need them! They will understand all your quirky nuances, because most of us writers are strange folk :0)

6. Be web savvy! These days you need a website. So make sure you know some rudimentary basics. Even if you hire a designer, you need to know what your marketable points are as well as those niche points that make you stand out from the crowd. And it’s always good to know how to get your hands a little dirty with the behind the scenes snafus in a pinch!

7. Budget! Money is tight everywhere, but authors aren’t making what they used to. Not that the bygone paychecks were a mountain of mullah. You will likely have to promote yourself, so be wise with how you invest those hard-earned $$s!

8. Be seen as much as you can. I’m not saying to be a social butterfly and spend your kids college tuition on conferences. I’m saying it never hurts to have a good web presence, especially if you’re eyeing e-publication. Be able to tap into veins of promotion, as well as making friends who can guide you when you’re in the dark about something. I know one fellow author who’s on over 100 Yahoo Groups. ;0)

9. Know how to tap into your inspiration. We all get stuck. It’s a fact in writing. But you need to know what can get you out of the funk. Is it cookie dough ice cream, a walk through the bookstore, or a drive to the local grocery store that gets you back in the game? Whatever it is, make sure you know when to flip that switch!

10. Be imaginative! These days any where you look, you’ll see products in movies, tv, games, and books that bear striking resemblance. Do something that makes you unique. Just make sure it’s not too way out there, or an agent or editor may shy away. I know this item can be tough, especially when you’re stressed and on deadline, but give yourself an imagination day where you can brainstorm those new projects to work on after you’ve sprung yourself out of deadline hell.

11. Go to meetings! I love my local meetings, but gas prices and over commitment are keeping me from seeing my friends and learning from them. Take every chance you can to socialize! Writing is a lonely business, and you need some interaction with people of your own kind ;0) Sometimes this can save your sanity when the normal home-life plus work is at a breaking point.

12. Pack light! When you’re traveling be sure to learn to pack less than everything and the kitchen sink. I know, you’re saying but I’m a woman, and I have to be prepared. Ditto that little mantra for me. But on the other hand think about lugging those suitcases or carry-on bags through the airport, especially if you’re sprinting for a connecting flight, the next train, or to catch a cab when you’re running late. You will be so glad you’ve slimmed down to a single bag…or two. And when you can’t pack those must haves (can you say freebies or swag), ship them to your destination! But be certain to check the postage so you won’t be surprised at the total when you hand over those boxes to the nice USPS/UPS/DHL clerk.

13. Always make your deadline. I know, I know…I screwed this one up last week. But this reminder is one of the most important things to remember. You want your agent and editor to believe you’re dependable. You don’t want them to be forced to rearrange a publishing schedule because you were late with your final draft, line-edits, etc. In fact, make a schedule that keeps you on track. That way if you leave yourself a leeway week, you might just come in at the buzzer with a few minutes to spare. Remember life has a way of screwing up anyone’s best laid plans.



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1 comment:

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Skyler, excellent advice. Espcially the last one about life getting in the way!