Sunday, February 26, 2023

Playing the Long Game


By Terry Whalin

Are you writing with the long game in your sight? Or are you just focused on the day to day writing work. I understand we need to be working on your current writing project such as a book or a magazine article or some other type of writing.  

At the same time, we need to be focused on the long game or what you will be doing in the weeks ahead. For example, I know the book printing supply chain is still challenged. At the end of March and May, I will be traveling and teaching at a couple of writers conferences.  Last week I ordered more books so they would be printed and I would have them available to take to these events. With the challenges in the supply chain, books take time to get printed and shipped to authors. You have to plan ahead for such actions to make sure you have the books that you need when you need them.

Also last week, I pulled the various handouts for several workshops I will be teaching next month. I checked and double checked the information to make sure everything was updated and the website links worked before I sent them to the conference. I tackled this extra work because I've been in workshops where something goes wrong with the handouts or the technology. I see this work as part of my actions to play the long game and make sure I give the best possible teaching experience in my workshops. Follow this link if you want to possibly attend one of these sessions. I encourage you to attend writers conferences because some of my most important and lasting relationships were formed at these events. They can propel your writing life through the instruction, insights, inspiration and relationships.

Also Ive been working on some new marketing materials to take to these conferences. It takes time and thought to design a bookmark because I dont want it to simply be a bookmark. I want it to contain some valuable information. Then the reader will keep it and take it home with them. The effort I put into creating a bookmark is all a part of playing the long game with your books. If I design and create the right bookmark, it will be used for possibly years in the future.

As another example of a long-game action, on a social media channel, I noticed a well-known author had finished the first chapter in her second book. I know she self published her first book and I wanted to help her get more distribution for the second book. I wrote and told her about the broad distribution at Morgan James and even included a photo of my book in an airport bookstore. Intentionally I crafted a short yet focused pitch to this author then emailed it to her. Will she send me her manuscript? I have no idea but my pitch was playing the long game and hopefully giving Morgan James the opportunity consider publishing this second book. 

Whether I am reading, taking an online course or a class at a conference, Im always looking to expand my market and the reach of my words as I continually grow my connections. I hope you are taking these types of actions for your own writing life. 

In the days ahead, where do you want to go with your writing life? I encourage you to take the long game approach to get there. This approach will give you better marketing whether you are writing novels, nonfiction, short stories, or magazine articles. Whatever you write, you need to learn the process, then practice it over and over. 

From my study of publishing, there are no overnight successes. Jerry B. Jenkins wrote in the foreword to 10 Publishing Myths that Left Behind was his 125th published book. He was not an overnight success but had been faithfully writing for years before this successful series. People wonder how Ive published so much material over the years. Its one step at a time and playing the long game. How are you playing the long game with your writing life? Let me know in the comments below.

My Articles in Other Places
I encourage you to write for other websites and here's a couple of my recent articles:

Is Any Aspect of Publishing Easy?  Once a month I write for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference blog. In this article, Im helping authors have a realistic view of publishing.

Im Tired of Pitching Once a month, I write for Writers on the Move and used my title to talk about a basic for every aspect of publishing--whether you are a beginner or a long-term professional--you still have to pitch--even if you are tired of it.

Will an Editor Fix All My Mistakes? Also once a month, I write an article about proposal creation for Almost An Author. In this article, I attack a common belief that the editor will fix all of the writers mistakes.

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2 Comment:

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Karen Lange Left a note...

Thanks for this, Terry, it's timely. I need to invest more in the long game. I do, and then I slack off, and I need to be more consistent. Doing some reading, have a course lined up, and am trusting for wisdom as I move forward. Probably need to attend a conference, too. Haven't been to one in years.

Wishing you much continued success and blessings with your writing, conferences, and otherwise. Thanks so much for your constant insight and encouragement.

At 7:28 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Thanks for this comment and feedback. To have the long game in focus and devote some of your work is critical for every working writer in my view. It is hard because the immediate demands our attention. I know it's hard to get to a conference but there are some great ones where you can make critical connections. Hope to meet you at one of them some day.

Grateful to pass along some of the things I've learned through my years.



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