Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Career Planning for Writers

This lovely picture is from Burn Bright, Marianne's new blog to promote her YA Dark Urban Fantasy .

Which brings us to Career Planning.

When I was first published I emailed Lois McMaster Bujold, who I'd recently met to tell her about the sale. And she said, 'Think about what you are going to do next.' At that point I was so amazed to have sold my trilogy, I couldn't think past getting it finished and handed in.

But she gave me excellent advice.

Do you stick with one publisher? Do you need an agent? Do you need a separate agent for over seas sales? Do you stick to one genre? What about writing for different age groups, as Marianne has done with her new series, Burn Bright? Do you write under a pseudonym, as Marianne as done with her new humorous, contemporary series, the Tara Sharp books.

And you thought getting published was hard? All you had to do was learn how to write a good book. Now you have to plan your writing career.

Do you stick with one publisher? It would depend on your publisher. Some publishers grow their authors. Sometimes an imprint can be cancelled and the writer will find themselves 'orphaned'. You need to discuss this with your agent.

Do you need an agent? I would say yes. They know the editors, they're up to date with what the different publishers are doing. And they can do the negotiating on the contract.

Do you need an overseas agent? Some literary agencies have offices in the US and the UK. If you have an Australian based agent, they will often have contacts with agents in other countries.

Do you stick to one genre and age group? That's up to you and what you want to write. Some authors write so fast they produce more books than their publisher can use and they produce books in other genres because the stories demand to be written.

If you do write across other genres, your agent may suggest you do this under a different name. This is where having an agent is great becaue they're on your side, helping you grow your writing career.

I find myself getting ideas for stories across the genres. In fact, I have so many ideas, the problem is finding the time to write, not the idea to write!

Are you tempted to write across genres, or to even combine genres?


Flinthart said...

Can I just keep working on "publish a novel" for the moment?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Doesn't hurt to have some career planning in mind, DF.

Otherwise it will all happen so quickly, you'll be left scrambling.

KylieQ said...

I pretty much only read fantasy (at least as far as fiction goes) and, at the moment, fantasy is all I can see myself writing. But once I finish my ancient Egypt series (historical fantasy), I've got thoughts of a more contemporary (urban??) fantasy. And I'd love to do something based on a particular old fairytale (is there a category for fairytale fantasy??). All fantasy but I guess I'm crossing over different sub-sections.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Great Kylie,

It's a good idea to have more books in mind. Or even to be working on a couple of series. I find if I jam up on one, I can switch over to the other.

If you submit one, a publisher might come back with -- 'This isn't quite what we're looking for, do you have anything else?'

And you could patch together a proposal -- synopsis and 3 chapters.

Karen said...

Hi Rowena, I'm writing over 3 genres. Memoir, Kids Sc-Fi and Crime. I'm still searching for an Agent.
I DON'T want 3 names! Any ideas? Thanx Karen Tyrrell

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Hi karen,

It all depends on how much you write and different the genres are. It is the sort of thing you can discuss with your agent when you get one.