Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Little Actions Have Big Potential

Are you dreaming of some great things happening in your writing life over the next few months? I hope so. I look around at the publishing community and see great opportunity for readers—online and in print—in books and in magazines. As I read the publishing news, I learn about a continual stream of new publications and new publishing efforts. Each one is full of big potential—only if you take action.

As I speak with authors, I find many of them have deep-seated dreams for their novel to find a publisher or their nonfiction book to jump on the bestseller list. I applaud the dreams but they must be backed with consistent action. Are you searching for the right publisher for your next work? Are you actively approaching literary agents to champion your cause? When you learn about a new editor, are you writing that editor and pitching an article or an idea? Are you approaching long-term editor friends with your ideas and pitches?

When I dig into what these authors are doing to expand their writing life, I find very little action. I don't know what will catch fire and become the next best thing in the new year. I do know I will not find it, if I'm not actively looking. Also if you are stuck or not finding a place for your work, I encourage you to knock on a different door. If you are writing novels, then try to publish some short stories. If you are writing a nonfiction book or book proposal, then pitch some magazine articles and write some shorter works. If you don't have any presence online then begin building one. There are few overnight successes but the key is to take action every day and build potential. That potential remains unrealized if the pitch is never made and the book stays on your computer or in your file drawer.

It's an old image but big doors turn on little hinges. As a writer, you are looking for the right connection or connections to move you into the next level with your publishing life. It will not happen unless you are on the move and taking action—daily action.

And when you get rejected? I've been in this business many years and I believe it is important to plan your response for how you will handle rejection. I encourage you to follow the example of Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield. When they were looking for a publisher for Chicken Soup for the Soul and getting rejected. Each time, they turned to each other and said one little word, “Next.” That word propels you forward to the next opportunity and the next place to consider your work. It prevents you from sticking the idea back in your drawer and never sending it out again.

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