The Best Of lists have been compiled and analysed, the mornings are still dark, the evenings are still dark and the days still short, largely grey and damp and body clocks are still in holiday rhythm, so must be time to make those New Year’s Resolutions.
Here are some tips:
- Don’t front load the year by starting all your resolutions in January.
- Resolve to check submission guidelines and competition rules to avoid wasting your time and postage by making submissions destined to be rejected and your competition entries disqualified.
- Keep “write more” resolutions achievable and factor in research and editing time.
- Keep reading – you’ll never develop as a writer if you don’t read and poetry magazines are always looking to increase subscribers.
- Keep resolutions under your control – you can send out more work to publishers or write more guest blog posts but you can’t control whether or not your work or posts get accepted.
- Factor in publicity – marketing departments, where publishers have them, can’t magic up sales without the author’s involvement in publicity. However, writers can influence what kind of publicity they do. You’ll know what works for you so if a marketing department ask you to do a book tour you can’t do because you’ve got caring or job commitments and hate readings, you can offer to do radio interviews and/or podcasts instead.
- Ensure you have something to publicise – if you dash off a press release every time you get an acceptance, your local news desk will press delete every time they see your email address and thus miss that brilliant story about your climb up the Himalayas and the sequence of poems you published as a result to raise funds for a tiger sanctuary.
- Try something new – those quiet times when there’s no book to publicise or when waiting for editors’ responses are a good time to research setting up a website, try out a new social networking site or start your next writing project.
- Social media – monitor readers, friends and followers, but don’t sweat over daily statistics, focus on the trend and if that’s downwards, review whether you’re using the right platform for you. If you love performing, you may be better off doing interviews and podcasts rather than blog posts. If followers drop off, balance updates about you and/or your writing with related articles or stories by others.
- Review – focus on successes and don’t be too concerned by failure. Rejection is part of a writer’s life and the best way of dealing with it is to polish the piece that got rejected and try another editor. All editors receive more submissions than they can publish, but a significant proportion of rejections are due to the writer not following submission guidelines.
Above all, enjoy writing. If your writing becomes a chore, it will become a chore for readers too.