If you are writing a novel or a nonfiction book, what are you doing each day to succeed with this writing project?
Yes, it is important to craft an excellent work with terrific storytelling and craft. We learn these skills through our own reading and continual practice. Writing should be a habit which you continually cultivate and practice on a regular basis.
Yet what about other areas of publishing where you need to develop habits?
Recently I heard from an unpublished author who was getting rejected or no response from literary agents. She was sending out a children’s book and couldn’t understand why she could not succeed. I wrote this author that she needed to do more to understand the marketplace. Only a few literary agents that I know represent children’s books for several reasons. First, the advances are very low for children’s books.
Also it’s hard to get a children’s book published and much of the writing work is Work Made for Hire or something an agent wouldn’t be involved in. Finally agents are looking for writers who demonstrate that they have been published. You have to show this skill through writing for print magazines or other recognized forms. This unpublished author was floundering because she had not done the basics to understand the market. As a daily habit, she needed to be reading published authors and how-to books as well as connecting with someone to help her.
Reading in the field is another publishing habit that every author or would-be author should be developing. There are free newsletters and many ways to learn from others. Are you tapping into these resources?
Another publishing habit is to constantly build your connections to others. It doesn’t require tons of time but it does require consistent effort. For example, posting on Twitter and Facebook in your area of expertise is a publishing habit. You can use tools like Hootsuite so it does not have to consume much time but the consistency will pay off.
I spend the majority of my days working with authors as an acquisitions editor at Morgan James. My personal goal is to help as many authors as I can to achieve their dreams of getting published. As a result of these goals, I’m on the phone with authors or literary agents. Or I’m answering emails or interacting with my Morgan James colleagues about book projects. I have a series of habits that I execute each day related to my work at Morgan James.
What goals do you have for your publishing life? Have you written them down and are you looking at them on a regular basis? What habits do you need to develop in order to achieve these goals?
As you are consistent, it will pay off for you in the marketplace. I have a great deal of free information in my ebook, Platform-Building Ideas for Every Author. If you haven’t read this Ebook, I suggest you get it and study it, then apply the lessons to your writing life.
What new publishing habits are you developing?
W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Irvine, California. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. To help writers, he has created 12-lesson online course called Write A Book Proposal. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com.
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