Making Plans for 2021

I hope you were able to have the best Christmas possible under the circumstances. As you will have heard many times over, it’s not what happens to us it’s how we respond to it. 

The same applies to when we send our manuscripts out into the world. Providing we’ve done everything we can to make it our best effort, we have to cross our fingers and hope that our stars are aligned! Getting published these days is as much about luck as hard work and talent.

I’m not one for New Years’ Resolutions anymore, or setting goals, but I do think about what I would like to achieve over the course of the coming years.   

When it comes to laying out my plans for writing and marketing my books, I begin by purchasing some new notebooks, usually spiral bound, A4 with a fancy cover. Then, I stare at the blank pages. 

So that you don’t have to ponder too long on your plans here are my SIX TOP TIPS for 2021.

  1. Review your public persona. Give your website a make-over – new photographs, fresh content, bring your blog up to date, offer a give-away and clean up your email data base. You can do the same with your social media sites. Give them a good spring clean. 
  2. Read as much as possible on marketing for authors. Joanna Penn and LJ Ross are very successful self-published authors who are ahead of the game. Joanna Penn has written a series of books for writers who are seeking commercial success and is generous with her knowledge and expertise through her free regular podcasts. 
  3. If submitting to agents and publishers, make a comprehensive list of ones who specialise in your genre. Read their requirements carefully and consider rewriting your submission letter and synopsis. You might want to consider enlisting the help of Jericho Writers or the Literary Consultancy.
  4. Read a lot of books in your genre. This is so important. Authors have told me that they have no time to read when they are so busy writing. Read with a critical eye and take notes. What makes a book strong/weak/compelling/boring?
  5. Gen up on algorithms.  They are everywhere!
  6. Draw up a loose monthly plan. Underestimate what you can achieve to allow for slippage, unexpected events and not being in the mood. (That’s often my excuse). 

A final point would be to keep your eye on the publishing world. Things are moving so rapidly it’s hard to keep abreast. The Bookseller is a market leader for trends and is a mine of information about publishing.  Sam Missingham is a go-to person and describes herself as “the best-connected person in book publishing”.  Many agents and book people are on Twitter but you don’t have to join to scroll through looking for potential sources of help and advice.

Wishing you all the best for 2021.  

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