By Wendy Lawton
As agents, we often talk about our roles in career planning. That is often misunderstood. There are aspects in our control and aspects completely out of our control. Let me list a few of those:
Goals within our control—
- Sending out only the finest proposals
- Never knowingly making a sale that will jeopardize future career growth for our client. (We call that making only strategic sales.)
- Working with our client to come up with outstanding book concepts
Goals outside our control—
- Timing of the first sale
- Changes within the publishing houses pre- or post- sale
- Publishers’ platform expectations
I could go on and on. We work hard to set goals in the areas we can control and we cover those out-of-control areas with prayer. We can’t control who will make offers on the books we propose but we can hold ourselves to a goal of getting excellent proposals out on a regular basis. It is the same for writers who want to make a career of writing traditionally published books.
I often hear writers say:
- I plan to have a book on the store shelves within x-number of years.
- I will win a Christy, a Book of the Year, a Pulitzer Prize or a Rita Award multiple times.
- I want to make the New York Times Bestseller List.
What can you do to make those happen? You might say, “Have a top notch agent,” or “Write an extraordinary book,” but the truth is, all of the above goals depend on other people. They are out of your control. Those are dreams (and good dreams) but they are not goals.
So what are some things that could be considered goals?
- I’ll add 1000 readers to my newsletter list this year.
- I promise to start writing a new book soon after finishing a book whether it is sold or not.
- I pledge to keep learning. Reading books on writing. Attending classes.
- I’ll seek tougher, more experienced critique partners.
- I will build my colleague “bank account” by writing reviews for other authors and helping them with marketing so that when my turn comes around, I’ll have plenty of help.
Can you add to the list of goals within your control? Please comment and share some with us.