Tips for Creating a Career Plan that Works (RWA 2010 Blog Series)

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photo_21486_20101008Image: Francesco Marino /’>Image: Francesco Marino /’>Francesco Marino /


Today I’m discussing a few of the tips I picked up from Cherry Adair’s great RWA Conference workshop titled “Creating a Career Plan That Works”.  So what should every career plan have?

  • Goals

Obviously our goal is to sell.  If you are published, your goal may be to make the NYT Best Seller List.  But these are all things we ultimately have no control over.  Trying to make this your goal can end up putting you in the nuthouse.  So what types of goals can you realistically set? 

  1. Timeline for finishing a book.  If your goal is to have a writing career, you should write at least one book a year.  That works out to about a page a day.  If you miss one or two (or more) days, you’ll have to make up for them somewhere.
  2. Earning a minimum amount of income within a given period of time.  If you haven’t sold, obviously you need to give yourself a long-range period of time.  Say, XX amount of money within 5 years.
  3. Pitching to dream agents or editors.  Keep a list, and plan on pitching to them, but only once your book is really ready to go out!
  • Strategies

What are some strategies for getting published or, if you are published, advancing  your career?

  1. If you are unpublished, entering contests could be a good thing, but make sure they provide feedback.  This is what contests are really all about.  But once you’ve entered three contests with the same book, it might be time to put it away and concentrate on another book.
  2. Conferences are a great use of your money if you have a book coming out around the same time.
  3. Pay attention to the market.  By the time you hear of a trend, it’s already passed.  But if agents or publishers are saying something is hot and you just happen to have a work in progress that meets that trend, finish it fast and start pitching it ASAP.
  4. Continue to develop your craft by buying conference tapes.  There is a wealth of information there.
  5. Use social media, and develop a mailing list now.  

So what do you think?  What other goals or strategies should a career plan have?



2 thoughts on “Tips for Creating a Career Plan that Works (RWA 2010 Blog Series)

    Ciara Knight said:
    October 25, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Great Strategies. Thanks for sharing these. Keep writing!

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