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If You Really Want To Quit Your Day Job, Get A Strategy
by Tracy Cooper-Posey


Got a day job? Wish you could quit? Do you fantasize about earning enough from your fiction to be able to tell your boss where to go?

You may think you’re doomed to be a working stiff for the rest of your natural because the chances of being picked up by a publisher are anorexic, and if you did win the lottery, you still have to hit the best seller list first time out of the gate, or you’re dead again.

Is that what you think?

You’re wrong.

The fiction industry is exploding with possibilities, and all you need to quit the day job is a decent strategy. You may never have thought of structuring your writing career in business terms, but you are a small business entrepreneur, and what works for any business will work for you.

To develop your strategy, you need to complete six basic steps:

1) Research the alternatives available for fiction writers

If you think being picked up by a big trade publisher is the only way to go, you really need to research! You can chose from:

• Electronic publication
• Royalty-paying POD publishers
• For-fee POD publishing services
• Small presses
• Traditional trade publishers
• Self-publishing

These are the major styles of publication available these days, and there’s hybrids and combinations of all of them. All of them are legitimate forms of publication and all of them are building respect, sales, and readerships.

Read everything you can about the publishing industry. Take notes. Open your mind to the possibilities.

2) Pick the end-goal you want

Most fiction authors start out dreaming about hitting the New York Times Best Seller list, but this isn’t your only choice. You could choose to build a niche readership, big enough to support your writing full time. It may never grow large enough to get you onto the best seller lists, but if you’re writing fiction full time and paying all the bills, who cares?

You may also chose to hang on to the day job for the benefits and security it provides, and still carve out a readership of devoted fans who buy everything you publish.

The choices are effectively endless. Pick what suits your lifestyle, your comfort zone, and your dreams.

3) Figure out how to get there (your strategy)

Your end-goal will help you decide how to get there. If nothing but the best-seller lists will do, then you have to run the slush pile gauntlet, network like crazy and write very commercial fiction. POD publishing is not for you...unless you chose to start there, build a platform (i.e. a readership, fans and a name for yourself), and get the attention of New York that way.

See, for every end-goal, there’s a dozen different ways of getting there. That’s why you need to research, and build your strategy.

4) Do it. (Execute your strategy)

Put your plan into action. Dedicate yourself to working your strategy, and celebrating your progress. And write your butt off.

5) Measure your progress and adjust accordingly.

This is a critical step that many plans fail to include. It’s called a feedback loop in business and information system circles, and it makes your strategy work.

Keep statistics of your progress: Pages written, submissions made, sales made, reader feedback, website traffic....anything that gives you objective feedback on your writing and marketing efforts. And analyse your data. Are you continuously improving? Is the tactic or activity moving you towards your end-goal? (It doesn’t matter how fabulously something works, if it isn’t taking you where you want to go.)

6) Persist until you succeed, or until the evidence tells you to chose another strategy.

The other major advantage about measuring your progress is that you’ll quickly realize if the strategy you’ve chosen is working. If, after a decent trial period, your statistics say you’re not making progress, or heading in the wrong direction, it’s time to reassess. This may involve changing the way you write, how you market your work, or how you publish it. Try tweaking aspects of your strategy, and if that doesn’t work, off-load it altogether, and pick another strategy. This isn’t a bad thing. You’ll have learned a lot with your first foray, and can apply that experience to your next strategy.

On the other hand, if you’re moving towards your goal, no matter how slowly you’re progressing, then stick with it! Do not switch tracks and head off in another direction.

Commit yourself to the time it will take to reach your end-goal, and hang in there. The statistics you’re keeping will help assure you that you’ll get to quitting the day job as long as you keep doing what you’re doing.

Tracy Cooper-Posey. All Rights Reserved.



Did you find this article useful or thought-provoking? Visit Tracy’s Anchored Authors blog (
www.anchoredauthors.com), for more strategies and survival skill tips for fiction authors with day jobs.

Tracy is a national award-winning author of seventeen titles, including romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal romance.



 



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