Saturday, December 01, 2007

Blog Post Number 300: Your Goals

It's hard to believe I've done 300 posts since beginning this blog.

That's a lot of info about publishing.

Getting published, staying published, and becoming successful, has a lot to do with luck. But one of my core philosophies is that the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Last blog, I asked you folks what your goals for 2008 were, and how you planned to reach those goals.

I got a few responses. Some are brief. Some are detailed. Some are cynical. Some are inspiring.

I encourage you to read each and every one, because the sum is greater than the parts, even though a lot of the parts are dead-on.

You might recognize some of these names. Others, you may not recognize yet.


So let's see what our peers, both newbie and pro, have to say, in the order I received their answers:


1. Your goals for 2008.

Get my next novel on the New York Times bestseller list.

2. How you will reach these goals.

Entitle my next novel "As Seen on Oprah".

But seriously, folks... In 2008 I'd like to do a better job of promoting my new novel (Mean Town Blues, coming from Pegasus in late 2008) than I did my last one (Homicide 69, from Carroll and Graf in 2007). I hope to accomplish this through careful bribery and shameless hucksterism.


1. Your goals for 2008.

Get my two latest novels published by a reputable publisher and get a movie deal for at least one of the two screenplays I've written.

2. How you will reach these goals.

Pray. Don't break any mirrors. Throw salt over my shoulder. Don't walk under ladders. Don't antagonize my agent. Throw a coin into the wishing well--no, make that several coins. Be nice to everyone I meet. Bend over backwards. Give away the shirt off my back. Find a falling star and wish upon it. Think positively. Don't let rejections get me down. Don't give up. Pray.


1. Your goals for 2008.

To write two books: one thriller, one young adult novel

2. How you will reach these goals.

Committing myself to writing 5 pages a day.


My goal for 2008 is to sell more books than I did in 2007, and I hope to do that by writing better books.


1. To make it to 2009.

2. Work my ass off, writing everyday, and hoping, somehow, to get it right.


1. Your goals for 2008.

Given the current state of publishing, I am hoping for the minimum, so my goals are scaled down...lowered expectations. We learn from recent history and are informed by the state of the art. 2007 and 06 have seen tougher and more difficult times for
authors gaining contracts. It almost seems that if you don't have a movie or game tie-in, or a gimmick, or what's the new term for it, a platform, say a novel that has a whale of information about fly fishing, crocheting, farm animals in crisis, a haunted microwave that also explains how microwaves are in fact supernatural, or a dog or cat at the center of the mystery, you are not going to sell your novel. The more serious the work, the harder to sell has always been true, but never as true as today.

It seems editors are prowling for fluff and publising much of it with such titles as The Cat Who Came in From the Executioner's Toilet. In this market, my goal is to find an editor interested in a complex, layered novel (sell at least one in 08) with fully realized characters. Primary goal is to make enough money to support my writer's life and perhaps buy my wife a gift once in a while.

2. How you will reach these goals.

I will pressure my current publisher to get on track with my next work; I will pressure my agent to ferret out editors who are killing to work with me (not always easy to do). And I will remain on the look out for such a person. I have already sent
out multiple inquiries for a new novel, and am hopeful that once the holidays have passed, that singular individual who understands and responds to my voice and purpose will be found.

I will also go to as many writers conferences as I can afford. I am also making inquiries with folks on the other coast, Hollywood, again hoping to find a connect there that might pan out. Much of marketing is a shot in the dark, but one keeps
firing. Never say die.


1. My goals for 2008.

Finish at least two of the six books I currently have in progress.

2. How I will reach these goals.

No idea.


My writing goals for 2008:

1. Complete the manuscripts for 3 specific novels. One I'm working hard on, one I'm tinkering with, and one I wrote a proposal for, but think will sell better if I complete it.

2. ANGELS FALLING is scheduled for publication May 2008, so my goals regarding that revolve around specific goals I have for promotion: visit a minimum of 25 Michigan bookstores and sign stock. There are other things in development, but I haven't laid them all out yet.

3. Sign at least one book contract (preferably more) for the completed novels.

4. Hit a specific dollar amount for my writing in total. I won't say it here, but it's a little higher than my 2006 number and better than the 2007 number, which wasn't as good as 2006, but was still pretty good. Hitting goal #3 would help considerably in this. I've already signed a nonfiction business report contract for a good chunk of it, the advance expected in January.


Number one, far ahead of all the rest...

Broaden My Platform: Given the fickle nature of publishing and the increasingly shallow pool of people who buy books, the only way I'll continue to prosper as a writer is to create product for a variety of divergent markets.

How the heck I intend to do all of the above

I currently have two non-fiction book proposals with my agent (one in sports/recreation the other in health/medicine.) We'll whip those into shape and, with luck, have contracts for both in early 2008 and completed manuscripts by the end of the year. In addition to fulfilling my contract with St. Martin's for a fifth book in the Zack Chasteen Caribbean Mystery series, I'll flesh out ideas for a Young Adult novel and a historical novel set in 1870s Florida. And while 2007 was a very good year for my freelance magazine business, I'll continue to place articles in new markets and find more venal, yet lucrative, copywriting projects with advertising agencies in order to pay the everyday bills.

And somewhere along the line I'll: update my Web site and blog more frequently; continue to strengthen ties with booksellers; make even more speeches, book festival panels and bookstore signings than the 120 or so that I did in 2007; and attract gobs of new readers.

In short, in 2008 I'll: Write faster, sleep less, travel to new places and have even more fun than I'm already having.


My goals for 2008: First up, i will have sent off my second, fully revised MS to my agent by the first of the year, so hopefully I'll be celebrating its sale early in 2008. That means I'll be starting my third novel by the end of the month. And finishing it before the end of 2008.

Here's how I will accomplish this goal: Between now and Christmas 2007, I'm working 2-3 hours every day to complete revisions for book #2. For Book #3, I've learned it takes me about two months to write a novel (I'm clearly no Joe!). So, my goal is 4000-5000 words a week. Have a finished draft by the end of the summer, then spend two months revising. Voila. Book #3.

Thanks for making me put this in writing, Joe.


I set a goal about two years ago to finish my first novel by the time I turned 40. Well, I turned 40 this past March, and didn't quite make it. I did finish the first draft in April or May. But I decided something simple like not meeting my goal was not going to discourage me. So I set a new goal of having the novel finished by my next birthday, March of 2008. That means polished, edited, tweaked, and ready to find an agent. I'm still a ways off, and March is coming up fast, but I still think I can do it.


1. Goals for 2008: I’d like to try to take on only those projects that I love and feel passionately about (as opposed to doing favors or going against my instincts when something doesn’t feel right). I’d also like to find new areas of interest – my client list is pretty eclectic, but I’d love to find a great children’s book, or a military thriller, or other types of projects in areas I haven’t ventured into too often.

2. How will you reach these goals: I’m going to try to be more realistic about my time and how valuable it is and really force myself to say “no” if things aren’t right for me. And, I’d like to increase my reading time so that I can look at more things that may be coming over the transom in those areas I’d like to expand into.


Get and develop a website.
Earn at least $500 from my writing.
Finish EVERY story I have started/ideas written for.
Begin at least 1 new novel.
Get an agent for the novel I have completed.


1. Your goals for 2008.

My main goal for 2008 is to continue writing and turning out the best stuff that I can. A long time ago, before I'd sold any of my novels, I was just sitting down to start a new manuscript. When the mail came, I discovered that I'd gotten one back that I'd previously sent out. Depressed and demoralized, I questioned myself. Did I really want to continue in this writing game? Steeling myself with resolve, I vowed to begin this new novel, putting everything I had into it, making it the best that I could make it, even if no one else ever read it but me.

That manuscript was A Killing Frost, and it turned out to be the first of mine to get accepted for publishing. So my goal is to keep that fire in my belly . . . to keep turning out the best prose I can . . . to write in an entertaining and interesting manner.

I also have to continue to promote the new projects that are coming up. A Killing Frost was just released last month in mass market paperback, and I have the first novel in a new police procedural series due out from Dorchester in the spring. It's called Random Victim. I also have a collaborative novel, Dead Ringer, that I wrote with my writing partner, Julie Hyzy that's due out in 2008 as well.

2. How you will reach these goals.

I hope to reach these goals via two words: HARD WORK.


1. Lose 30 pounds.

How? Get on the treadmill as part of my daily routine, not just once
in a while.

2. Improve my marriage.

How? Learn to communicate with my wife more effectively.

3. Write one short story to see if all these ideas in my head can be
translated into something coherent and worth sharing.

How? I'll jot down the random plot points I've come up with between
now and Jan. 1st, then use my lunch hour at work everyday to write until
the short story is complete.


1. Your goals for 2008.

Write better...

2. How you will reach these goals.

Read more!


1. Your goals for 2008.

Well, I have a March deadline, so finishing the WIP before then is my first priority. After that, I need to make some more sales so I can continue to make up stuff for a living. That means writing proposals and/or complete manuscripts. I'd like to write a total of four to five proposals next year (and -hopefully- sell them) and finish a complete that I'm working on in addition to the deadline book.

All the goals I make are for things I can control. As a result, I don't set publishing goals, just writing goals. I've found if I do the writing, the publishing part tends to take care of itself (with the help of my agents).

2. How you will reach these goals.

I write full time, so reaching these goals is a matter of showing up at my computer, pushing my insecurities aside, and putting words on the screen. It's as simple and as complicated as that.


1. Your Goals for 2008.

I really want to get a novel finished and in submission shape so I can get an agent.

2. How you will reach these goals.

I will write as much as I possibly can, as well as I can.


My main goal for 2008 is to finish my eighth book before the end of the year. That'll be the official end of this "just in time" delivery system I've been laboring under, where I turn in a new manuscript five months before the pub date. Much better to have one in the queue and that's what I'm shooting for.

My marketing goals are less distinct. Sometimes I hear other authors say things like "My goal is to crack the NYT printed list," but I don't really think in those terms. Not that I don't want to crack the printed list, and more; it's just that I've broken down into bite-sized chunks the list of things I need to do to achieve my lofty goals, and now I focus day to day on making sure all those little things happen. Over time, they add up. So I guess you could say my marketing goals for 2008 are to continue to do the things I've been doing. Which means, at a high level, appearances, online presence, increasing penetration of the romance demographic (sorry, I had to say it), etc. etc.

More abstract still: to continue to try to gain greater self-awareness and objectivity about the world and my place in it. To continue to try to be the change I want to see in the world (learned that from Ghandi). This one is much harder than the other two, and infinitely more worthy.

How will I reach these goals? Well, I gotta stop sniffing glue, that's #1...

Seriously, the key to achieving any goal is to reverse engineer the goal into steps you can follow every day. The thought of writing a 100,000 word novel is daunting. But if write only 500 words -- less than two pages -- a day, the book will be written in just over six months. Break it down into little pieces, focus on those pieces, stop thinking about the big bad goal. Shit, who can't write 500 words in a day? I'll probably write nearly that many just in this email.

It sounds odd, but focusing too much on the goal once you've figured out what it is is counterproductive. Cops involved in a shooting typically report a telling sequence: surprised, they get their weapon out and shoot instinctively, thinking things like "Die!" and "Go down!" Of course, hitting the other guy is one of the key goals in a gunfight (the other being not to get hit yourself). What's interesting is that, at this stage of the gunfight, the cop can't seem to hit the target. Then, after a second, the training kicks in. The cop stops thinking "Go down!" and instead reverts to the sequence he learned to concentrate on in training: aggressive stance. Gorilla grip. Front sight on the target. Roll the trigger.

And bam, like magic, the bad guy falls down.

Break it down into manageable steps, then systematically follow those steps. Your life could depend on it...

Another way I've heard it expressed is: plan the work, then work the plan.

I could go into a lot more detail, but I have to get in my daily writing...


1) Finish the first part of a trilogy I've just started writing. Get the 500 words per day done.

2) Work hard at getting my YA fantasy novel published.


My goals for 2008:

To somehow achieve the balance of being a loving husband and father while also negotiating the hellish shark-infested waters of the book and movie business, which I love, God help me, but not as much as my wife and kids. Does that make any kind of grammatical or spiritual sense?

How I will reach these goals is by being as nice as possible to my family, while simultaneously pushing the envelope of my writing comfort zone, especially stretching into new genres such as true crime, fantasy, and dark comedy, and also taking regular dosages of Xanax and Belgian chocolate.


I keep remembering something Mason Williams (the composer of "Classical Gas") said about how he worked hard on his music and it improved but then he worked on himself and his music improved a lot more. I've been trying to get some balance in what I do. For years, I spent so much time writing that I didn't pursue activities that I'd always wanted to try. Flying, for example. Last March, I made the decision to take flying lessons. Twice a week, I now go to the local airport in Santa Fe, where I fly with an instructor and (this is a very conscious metaphor) "get above it all." My skills are now sufficient that I soloed and am able to take the plane up by myself. By June, I hope to have my pilot's license.

While this might seem to have nothing to do with writing, it actually is pertinent. I think it's possible to get so involved in the publishing world that our imaginations get stuck in the conventional rut that publishing appears to encourage these days. Meanwhile, our lives go by, along with the chance to experience things that spark our creativity. I know that I'll use my piloting experience in a book some day. Meanwhile, it amazes me how refreshed I am after a lesson and how more energetic my mind is as I return to the desk.

Every project should be an adventure, just as our lives should be adventures. If we can make the two come together, there's no stopping us.


1) Complete my novel (sit my ass in a chair and write the thing)

2) Sell a few more stories (make sure I send them out)

3) Get my website up and running (kind of the same as #1)


1. Goals for 2008:

Write more.
Write better.

2. How to do it:

Pay more attention.
Think less.
Go deeper.


My main goal is annex the western third of Canada and rename it Jimvada. The capital will become Bornville. Gambling, outrageous fireworks and sex with farm animals will be legalized. From this stable and fun place to live I will then create an army that will attack countries which have no military or Moslems because it seems like those are the two things that seem to cause problems with invasions. Perhaps Polynesia because they’re protected by France which is the same as no military.

I will reach this goal as I do all other goals. I will train, be ruthlessly determined and then rely on a tremendous amount of luck.

As for publishing

My goal is to have a good launch on Burn Zone in February and build on the strides I made last year. Unless you are lucky, building an audience is a slow, careful process. I also work on improving as a writer every year and learn from the corrections of the previous novel.

The first goal requires some help from the publisher and fate. A few more reviews, a little news coverage and everything starts to roll. The second goal is something I’m serious about and work on not year by year but everyday by listening to seasoned writers I respect, seeing what editors are saying and looking at things from their perspective then by reading good books.

But I’m new to all this so I may be wrong.


1. My goals:
-- Finish writing Book #7 in the Jane Rizzoli series.
-- Lose 5 pounds.

2. How I'll reach those goals:
-- Plant my butt in my chair and write
-- No. More. Martinis.


My Goal for 2008:

To get my “voice” back. And finish a story.


One. Page. A. Day.


1. I only have one writing-related goal in 2008: To finally get that ever-elusive mass market deal!

2. Part of my plan to reach this goal involves...waiting patiently. After all, my agent has sent out three-chapters-and-a-synopsis proposals for two new novels to various editors, along with two novels that have already been published in very tiny print runs as pricey collector's editions. But that's not good enough if I want to be as famous as the mighty J.A. Konrath. So to supplement the stuff that's already floating around, my primary 2008 goal is to--in addition to finishing the already-contracted small press work--give my agent a complete, unencumbered, highly marketable novel to sell.


#1 Goal For 2008

Get my current novel – which is currently on submission – accepted by a legit publishing house.

How I’m Going To Reach That Goal

In this case, it’s up to will of Fate, Karma, unseen market forces, and St. Martins’ Press. I’ve written and re-written, found a legitimate agent who’s doing her job, so all I can do now is control my own attitude. That means not being a pest, not living in a “lottery dream” fantasyland, and not wasting my free time when I could be working on the sequel.

#2 Goal For 2008

Write a minimum of 180 pages of the next book… which may not seem like a lot given your productivity level, but with a toddler at home, another baby on the way, full-time advertising job, and bi-weekly column in Buzz, Balls & Hype, 180 pages will be a stretch (of my wife’s patience to boot).

How I’m Going To Reach That Goal

Write during lunches, write in hospital waiting rooms, write during nap times, give up watching “Project Runway,” and be happy, damn happy with 5-6 hours of sleep a night.

#3 Goal For 2008

World Peace.

How I’m Going To Reach That Goal

Recycle my plastic bags. Not vote for Guilliani.


Your goals for 2008.

1. Sell book I just completed
2. Write new book
3. Grow readership
4. Repeat steps 1-3 for next 30 years

How you will reach these goals.

Beat back distractions with a heavy club.


My Goal for 2008:

1. Finish WIP

How I’m Going To Reach That Goal:

2. Get it written


1/1 - start new novel
12/31 - finish (hopefully not too shitty) a first draft of new novel

1/7 - start researching/writing masters thesis
11/1 - finish first draft of thesis/submit to advisor
12/20 - Graduate from grad school!


I wish I had something witty or pithy, but this is sincere.

My goal is to learn not to struggle so much with the stuff I think I must do and not beat up on myself for the things I haven't done. You can think of many more jobs for the upcoming day than you can complete.

I suppose this is the old stop-and-smell-the-roses advice.

How would I achieve it? Not the slightest idea, except to go for gratitude. I hope to take more time to be grateful for what I have, including my friends in the mystery world.


I had a stroke back in February, which affected my right hand to the point that I type with one hand and haven't put a pen to paper (I'm right handed). My primary goal is not to let that stop me. To accomplish it, I'm going to teach myself to write left-handed and train ViaVoice to understand me so I can really "talk on paper". Of course I'll rehabilitate my right hand as well as possible, but it's
good to have Plan B.

My next goal is to write at least three pages a day. To do that, I'm going to stop worrying about writing crap and just go ahead and do it. If I get something to send out, great, if not, it's practice.


My goals: To continue ploughing on with my latest novel, and to polish, re-polish, re-re-polish (etc.) my previous novel, then submit to agencies

How I'll achieve my goals: I'm going to continue to book computers in the college library each day to polish my previous novel and work on the current one. I'm going to continue to redraft my previous novel until I am completely happy with it, and then when I am, I'm going to send it out to agencies and keep pushing it and staying motivated so that I find that one that says 'yes'.


1. Your goals for 2008.

Sell through EASY INNOCENCE, my 2008 book (coming in March) at a higher level than any of my other novels… get a movie option… foreign rights… and a nice big contract for my thriller, Broken Angel…

2. How you will reach these goals.

Much of it is out of my hands…(ie agents, editors, booksellers, and third parties will determine my ultimate success) so I’m trying to concentrate on what I can do.. which is to write the best book I possibly can.


My 2008 goal is to get the first manuscript published and get an agent, too. My plan is to make submissions to five agents and publishers each week; and while I
am waiting for responses, I will be working on the second and third manuscripts.


1. My goals for 2008 are actually very simple: Write my fourth book and also work on something outside of my normal "zone" of YA literary fiction. I'd like to write a screenplay or develop a video game or put together the big, epic fantasy series I've been plotting in my head for a couple of years now.

2. The old-fashioned way: By putting my butt in my chair and writing. :)


If I were to name a professional goal, I'd say it's to buy more nonfiction. So much of what I do is fiction, which I love, but I also like the challenges of new projects and I like learning new trades, so I'd like to develop myself as a nonfiction editor.

I have pursued several projects this year and I have one book in the hopper that's slated to come out in Summer 08, The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston. I want to use it as a spring board to make more acquisitions.

To be truly successful at this, I am reading more nonfiction to get a sense of what I like. Then I am studing the market around my areas of interest in order to figure out what what books work, so I can have a sense of what books are worth acquiring. And I am studying how to publish those books (package and market). I did this process for graphic novels (my first graphic novel, Shooting War, just published in Nov 07), and now I'm turning my attention to a new area of publishing--expanding my stable of nonfiction projects.


Main writing goal: Complete my first novel TableRappers: Persistent Spirit. (

How: initially release as an audio novel in weekly episodes, build an online community and following, then re-write and release printed version.


My goals for 2008

1. Sign with an agent.
2. Finish the sequel to the novel I’m currently submitting.
3. Write a full-length standalone to start submitting, should I fail to find an agent for the first.

How I will reach these goals

1. By stepping up my submissions and including American and Irish agents as well as British.
2. By improving my writing and increasing my output.
3. By listening to and learning from those who’ve tread the path before.
4. By staying focused and keeping these goals as my top priority.


1) To promote my first novel, In the Dismal Swamp, which is coming out in June 2008.

2) To sell my second novel.

How I will accomplish these goals:

1) By writing to libraries and independent bookstores asking them to buy my book & possibly allow me to do a book signing. Secondly, by running a Half-Marathon. Unusual? Perhaps. But my old home town in Virginia is hosting the second annual Dismal Swamp Stomp 13.1 mile race in April, and since the setting for my book is the Dismal Swamp, I thought it would be a natural tie-in. The race is in April, and I'm going to wear a T-shirt promoting the book, and try to arrange a local press interview beforehand.

2) By submitting queries to as many mystery publishers as I can, I hope to find a home for my second book, unless, of course, my first publisher wants it.


1. Finish my edits for Isle of Fire before Christmas.

2. Spend as much time with my family as I can.

3. To work on my next writing project, but not under contract. I know this sounds odd, but I really want to explore this new fantasy realm I'm creating. I don't want to have to churn it out in 4 months.


1. Your Goals for 2008.

Now that I've completed my first large project, my first goal is to edit it into a readable story. Not that my writing is bad, but the whole thing is pretty piecemeal and needs to be edited. I did realize about two-thirds of the way through my story that it would be better cut down into a short story than expanded into a novel.

My second goal is to write and edit three other short stories. While I am well aware that publishers aren't terribly excited over short stories, I believe that these four ideas are all better shorter and will attempt to sell them as a collection.

A full-length novel is also being planned as a collaborative effort. One of my goals is to at least get this outlined, if not partially written by the end of the year.

2. How you will reach these goals.

My biggest writing problems are procrastination and distraction. I have learned through the NaNo challenge that it is possible for me to stay focused on the task at hand and actually force myself to write even when I didn't feel like it. I also know that it's possible for me to churn out large chunks of text in a short period of time and actually have the finished product be readable.
Now that I know that I am capable of writing something worthwhile, I can use what I've learned and apply it to my writing projects.

1) Take the same schedule I had this past month and use it to plan and write.

2) For me, editing while writing is a form of procrastination. I spend so much time editing one paragraph that I get bored with the story and stop writing. (I have a short attention span) So, I will write first just to get the story down, then go back and do the major editing later.

3) Ignore all the people who think it's "cute" that I'm writing stories, and that it's a phase I'll grow out of (sure, a phase that's lasted 25 years... hee.). They were wrong when they said I couldn't complete NaNo. They're wrong when they say that I should just stick with my day job, even though none of them have read anything I've written.

4) Keep writing. I normally write almost every day anyway, so that's not much of a stretch.

5) Keep reading your blog so I get all the good tips. :D


Iintend to write two more novels in 2008, edit the two I wrote this year, and get another one published.

On the non-writing front I’ll take more martial arts classes and try not to break any bones.


I think a "goal" has to be something I can hit or miss based on my own personal efforts. So whereas I have a wish list for 2008 - a president from the same planet as me, a Yankees sweep of the Dodgers in the World Series, my new apartment to be finished - about the only thing actually within my control is to write a book - for 2009 - that's as good as or better than the previous twelve.

The way I'll try to do that is give myself time ... I don't use an outline and depend on letting the story evolve organically, and my worst enemy is rushing. So I'll slow down and think carefully.


My writing goals for 2008.

Simple: I'm determined to write the novel that's been lurking in the quirked corners of my mind for 3 years. And there's about 10 short stories (my first love: writing short stories) stuffed in there as well. Out, out, damned stories!


My goals for 2008:

Drop enough weight to get down to 200 lbs, and get back into writing something. Anything.

I plan to reach these goals by watching my diet, excercising more, reading your "Newbie's Guide To Publishing", and badgering you constantly for advice and approval. Good luck with that.


My goals:

* Finish writing my third and fourth books for my MG series

* Get a brand new project to my agent

* Try writing a screenplay

* Publish 50 new magazine articles and at least 10 in magazines I've never queried before

* Decide on which MFA program to attend (choices, choices!)


Goal for 2008:

I want to challenge myself as writer and make the fourth book in my series really spectacular. Take everything up ten notches. That sort of thing.

What I'm going to do to achieve this:

1. Take a research trip to Istanbul (where the book is set)

2. Figure out ways to make my characters do the things they think they would never do

3. Meet daily word-count goals (I shoot for 2K a day)

4. Get into a good routine of writing during the day and reading great books at night


My goals for this year:

1. 2 first-draft novels
2. 1 edited novel
3. Start trying to sell edited novel.

How I am going to accomplish these goals:

1. Write minimum of 1 hour per day or maximum 4 hours per day (not counting Sunday--I need at least one relax day, and vacation when my stepfamily shows for a vacation).
2. Do a minimum of 3-4 edits on novel (done in part of my writing time).
3. Start researching agents and/or publishing houses.
4. Also, if I cannot get the first novel published I am going to post it on my site. And, then go to the next one. I have promised myself that I will not get all worked up about rejection. I have other problems that are more important like Wegener's Granulomatosis. (Flannery had lupus--blood disease and I have WG blood vessel disease.)


My Goals For 2008

1. To find new ways to promote myself and my work. I'll do this by watching, asking, thinking, trying, failing, and learning.

2. To get a contract for Jack Daniels #7.

3. To keep up with my email, my website, my blog, my MySpace.

4. To never settle for less than my best, in every aspect of my personal and professional life.

I can't control the publishing industry. But I can control certain aspects of my place within that industry, through hard work and perserverence.

There's a word for a writer who never gives up. Published.

There's also a word for a published writer who never gives up.



Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Uh, yeah, add "proofread before hitting send" to my goals. It takes me TEN months (not two) to finish a manuscript.

Josephine Damian said...

Happy 300th, Joe! And best of luck with your goals.

Well, I see I forgot to include the "how to" part, so I'll add that here (Joe, you can always copy and paste this to the goals I listed).

2. I've already bought my 2008 calendar and have blocked out a realistic days number of days per week for novel writing and days for thesis writing. Barring any disasters or emergencies, those days are to be held sacrosanct.

Also, I'll reach my goals by not listening to any so-called writer friends who tell me I can't possibly write a novel and masters thesis at the same time, and do both well.

Alex said...

oh man...I need to set some goals too.

Janet said...

I'm late to this party (so what else is new?) but I'll shout at the rest of you while you're going out the door, if that's allowed.

First draft of my WIP should be finished before year end, so my goals for 2008 will be:

Let the first draft marinate while I brainstorm for next WIP and make a choice of which story I will work on.

Start any necessary research and keep a file of ideas for the story and let these two things feed off each other.

After that's well started, do a serious revision of first WIP, looking especially at structural elements and pacing.

Do the line-by-line editing of first WIP, then find myself some beta readers and send it to them.

Start writing second WIP.

Do a last edit of first WIP based on beta comments and start agent hunting while continuing work on 2nd WIP.


Hopefully, I will obtain an agent and even a publisher, but that part is out of my hands. Doing the best I can at writing the novels and then researching the agents is my contribution to the process.

NL Gassert said...

I’m with Barry Eisler.

I’m feeling overwhelmed right now. The thought of having to write a complete novel by the end of March (my self-imposed deadline) is daunting, but if I concentrate on smaller, more manageable goals (like writing 500 words a day), I feel less overwhelmed.

My goal for 2008: write and sell my sophomore novel.
How I’ll do it: one chapter at a time.

Anonymous said...

All these goals were actually quite inspiring, and methinks I'll create some for me and my writing in 2008.
Sell or find an agent for 3 novels, write a fourth novel, keep my website updated, exercise, lose 10 pounds, practice public speaking and not backslide too much.

PJ Parrish said...

I read every word of this post. There is something very inspiring and touching about the threads that run through the writers' goals. And the good stuff has nothing (and everything) to do with publishing success.

Am now going back to my "500 words a day" (Thanks Barry), my piano practicing (thanks David Morrell) and cutting down on the wine (thanks Tess).

Good vibes to all this holiday and for 2008.

Diana Celesky said...

Happy 300th! Best wishes to you for a creative and prosperous 2008.

Conda Douglas said...

Many Congrats on your 300th post, Joe! And your goals sound well worth pursuing...and catching!

I spaced out how to reach my goals, but that's simple too: sit my behind down and write!

Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

As my goal is to stop reading so much about the business of publishing, and just concentrate on writing, I'm afraid I missed your last post about goal setting. But I will say, congrats on 300 posts. Although this prompted me to see how many posts I've made since I started my own blog - 437. Nyah, nyah. Got you beat.

Seriously - my goal is to keep my head down, don't worry about what other authors are doing, or what other books are selling, and just write. I think you can think too much about this, if that makes any sense - there is such a thing as too much information. It can mess with your head, and get in the way of the writing. So that's my goal.

Mary said...

Congrats on reaching 300!!!

Carleen Brice said...

Thank you for this! These goals and strategies helped me breathe today.

Mike Fook said...

You know what's shocking after having read that?

Look at how many goals were related to things outside their own control... like working with their publisher on something... finding a publisher.

Now that it's 2011 - their entire world has changed. At least I hope it has. Some of the authors I know have ebooks out and they're not worried about anything to do with publishers, paper books, distribution in stores, buy backs, etc.

The entire world changed within a few years. What will the next 5 years look like?

Probably more of the same - a lot of change, and a lot of revised goals and resolutions.

What if, instead of making goals and resolutions for the coming year, you made them for the next 5 years - and start working on them now? That'd take some clairvoyance (sp?) and yet, if you could nail it - you'd be sitting oh-so-pretty.