I have one writing-related goal for 2018:
Get an agent.
I know, it’s February, and i’m a little late to the new years’ resolution bandwagon, but i required some thinking time to come up with a plan for the year ahead.
When it comes down to it, my overall goal is much the same as last year. To get published. This year i’m taking a step back and focussing on securing a literary agent. Last year I received 20+ rejections for one of my manuscripts which was really disheartening. However I’ve also been encouraged by the helpful and constructive feedback i’ve received from other writers, publishers and competitions I entered. I also completed the first draft of another two manuscripts, one of which i’ve spent months editing and is by far the most polished manuscript i’ve created to date.
This year, I’m ready to pitch that manuscript. With another story percolating in my mind, a part-time job and a two-year-old underfoot, i’ve realised i need to have a clear plan for the year or the months will just pass by…
In 2018 I plan to follow these 7 steps:
1/ Hire an editor. A structural editor is an idea i’ve toyed with for a couple of years and i’ve decided that with 7 manuscripts sitting in my bottom drawer i’ve got to find a new approach. Critique partners and writing groups have provided me with great insights but I think i’d benefit from a holistic look at the story. It’s an expensive option but I want to make sure I submit a manuscript to agents/ publishers that is of a high standard and the best possible version of my work.
2/ Research. Last year i came up with a long list of agents/ publishers and competitions to either pitch or enter. I’ll be doing the same this year for my current manuscript and then i’ll stalk those agents and find out where i can find them in person 🙂
3/ Attend pitching sessions. I’m not the most organised person so i’ll often see opportunities that look amazing and then i tell myself i’ll get around to booking in, but i don’t. Conferences and pitching sessions book out quickly, so this year i’m doing my research and getting in early!
4/ Practice makes perfect. Practicing my pitch. I still fumble around a lot whenever someone asks me what i’ve written. I hope to gain confidence in summarising my novel into one sentence. Here’s my first practice run:
“a traumatised psychologist will do whatever it takes to survive, even if it means taking the law into her own hands.”
How does that sound?
I have undertaken a couple of pitching workshops so i’ve got a cover letter, synopsis and blurb sorted, but i think i’ll try and get feedback on these before i send them out too.
5/ Pitch. Yep. Whether it’s in person or online, i’m going to get my manuscript out there- even if it means i’ll receive another 20 rejections.
6/ Keep on writing. Even though my aim for this year is to get an agent, i do have another story i’ve been thinking about so i’ll make a start on that sometime this year. I may even have another look at that manuscript from last year if i have the strength to tackle it again for like the bazillionth time.
7/ Cross my fingers and hope for the best! Without hope there’s despair. Unfortunately writing brings about both. I’m lucky to have a great support network that keeps me motivated and encouraged even when i feel like giving up. Let’s hope 2018 is the year!
Finally, what’s coming up on the blog in 2018?
Hopefully some regular posts like my ‘top 5’ series with resources and links for writers who, like me, are trying to get published. Last year i moved away from focussing on book reviews and started to share the more personal aspects of writing and pursuing publication. I’d like to do more of that this year, but i don’t want to commit to a schedule.
One thing i’m really excited about is a new monthly blog series i’m putting together. It will involve guest posts from authors and if you’re a writer who wants to get an agent, then this is the blog series for you. Stay tuned!
Finally, did you know i have a monthly newsletter? I do. It offers a round up of what i’ve shared on my blog, interesting stuff i’ve found on the web, recommended reads and what i’ve been working on. And if none of that tempts you, i also give away a literary-themed gift to one subscriber each month. Sign up here.