Saturday, December 17, 2005

New Years Resolutions for Writers

One more year passed and you're still not where you want to be? Make 2006 the year that 2005 should have been. Here are some resolutions for the unpublished, and the published.

Newbie Writer Resolutions
  • I will start/finish the damn book
  • I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
  • I will attend at least one writer's conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
  • I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to
  • I will join a critique group. If one doesn't exist, I will start one at the local bookstore or library
  • I will finish every story I start
  • I will listen to criticism
  • I will create/update my website
  • I will master the query process and find an agent
  • I'll quit procrastinating in the form of research, outlines, synopses, taking classes, reading how-to books, talking about writing, and actually write something
  • I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing--and I'm a lot more talented than that guy
Professional Writer Resolutions
  • I will keep my website updated
  • I will start a blog
  • I will schedule bookstore signings, and while at the bookstore I'll meet and greet the customers rather than sit dejected in the corner
  • I will send out a newsletter, emphasizing what I have to offer rather than what I have for sale, and I won't send out more than four a year
  • I will learn to speak in public, even if I think I already know how
  • I will make selling my books my responsibility, not my publisher's
  • I will stay in touch with my fans
  • I will contact local libraries, and tell them I'm available for speaking engagements
  • I will attend as many writing conferences as I can afford
  • I will spend a large portion of my advance on self-promotion
  • I will help out other writers
  • I will not get jealous, will never compare myself to my peers, and will cleanse my soul of envy
  • I will be accessible, amiable, and enthusiastic
  • I will do one thing every day to self-promote
  • I will always remember where I came from

Did I miss anything? Feel free to post your resolutions.


JA Konrath said...

I forgot one, for both pros and newbies alike:

I will buy multiple copies of Whiskey Sour and Bloody Mary, and recommend them to everyone I know.

Happy New Year!

Anne Merril said...

Nicely covered!

R.J. Baker said...

You're an inspiration. You seem to be one of the hardest working authors out there and that seems to be what it takes these days. A combination of self-promotion, savy marketing, publisher support, and good writing.(not in that order)

Your site and blog give good practicle advise. Also, it seems everyone I run into the business either knows you or has met you.

I was recently in a local bookstore, Kazoo Books, in Kalamazoo. I mentioned I was a struggling writer they said,"Have you met Joe Konrath?" I get that every where I go. Whatever you are doing must be working.

Keep up the good work and good luck with your new book. . .

M. G. Tarquini said...

I will go to Thrillerfest. There I will snag Joe and buy him with Whiskey Sours and Bloody Marys and tell him thanks for all the great advice. I will also make him sign my copies of his books.

Jude Hardin said...

I've decided to definitely stop procrastinating.

But I think I'll wait till 2007.

Alphabeter said...

I will read Joe's blog everyday until I'm as successful as him.

Then I'll buy him a beer.

Mark Terry said...

Damn. You started the professional writer one with updating your website. There it is already, #8 on my to-do list, just under:

7. Call SS @ PICA
and before
9. 2 copies Pitchfork.

It's been there fore a while because I'm lucky to get that far down on each day's to-do list. But this week! ReallY!

Wow. Word verification is: You're bloggers.


Julia said...


Once again I'm going to print your blog and hang it on my bulletin board.

Marty said...

Those lists are pretty close to the ones I make every year, except I usually throw something in about losing weight, exercising and quitting smoking. Funny how I need to make the same list every year, huh? :)

Adam Hurtubise said...

I already bought Whiskey Sour and Bloody Mary, and I already recommend them to everyone I know, so I'll buy Rusty Nail and recommend that, too.

I'm rolling on that outline, Joe. I know you said, right on that list, to write instead of outlining, but my agent, who is also your agent, requires an outline for this effort...

Bottom line: It's rolling, and so am I. Thanks.


B. K. Birch said...

Great post Joe! Thank you for posting.

Random Walk Writer said...

Oh, I'm definitely keeping this post. Oddly enough, I already had some of the newbie ones on my to-do list for 2006 already.


HawkOwl said...

I love "I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to." If one doesn't think the magazine is worth buying, why submit to it?

Captain Anomalous - Procrastination is so the new black, it's actually the title of my blog. :)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Nine novels and 500 rejections...I just hope that I can display that much perseverance!

Violet Strange said...

One thing I would add to the newbie list:

I will keep records for which will prove to the IRS that I take writing seriously as a business.

A painter friend offered me this advice, and it has helped. I followed her setup of a binder with two page per day calendar. On the timeline I mark the hours spent working, what I was working on, and I staple any writing related expenses to the page.

Because you won't really know if it makes sense to claim your writing expenses on your taxes until the end of the calendar year, it makes sense to start keeping the records ahead of time. It also forces a more professional attitude, in terms of looking at how productive you are being.

Julia said...


I have one question. Do you really think a new writer should finish everything they start?

Sometimes I start something only to find out that it is truly garbage. I move on. I consider those pieces to be practice.

Am I wrong?

BTW, I did purchase Whiskey Sour for my mother and sister for christmas presents.

sexy said...