Writer’s Corner: 5 Ways to Make the Most of The Publishing Industry’s Holiday Break

Writer’s Corner: 5 Ways to Make the Most of The Publishing Industry’s Holiday Break

If you’re a writer, author, literary agent, publisher, or publicist, you get this title. It’s that time of year when all doors close to submissions and interactions with those in the industry. If you plan to reach out to editors and agents this month, odds are you’ll soon get an auto-reply that they are closed to submissions. Makes sense. They’re catching up on the overwhelming number of queries and emails, not to mention projects that will round out their book list for the year.

Now that you know the room will be quiet, it’s time to roll up your shirtsleeves and get work done. Here’s five ways to do so:

Build Your Brand. Everyone has a brand. I’m not an expert, but I do know that when others have expectations of how you present yourself and what you bring to your body of work, that’s a big part of your brand. For example, maybe you’re the writer who author’s sweet stories about kids building courage, being nice, and finding new friends. Odds are you’re not going to show up at a book signing with a bad attitude or dressed like a…well, you fill in the blank. Anyway, there are brand expectations readers have about authors and while you don’t have to fit into a box, you should embody some of those elements. But you have the biggest say in all of this. So, take some time, do some creative brainstorming, and talk with your beta readers and friends, then build and polish an author brand that you can be proud of.

Write And Create. I know you’re thinking, “Duh!” But hear me out. We all find excuses not to write and with the holiday season in full blast, you have an awesome excuse. But please don’t use it. The holidays bring lots of distractions including family visits, seasonal preparations, travel, shopping, and cooking. Or maybe you caught a cold, had to work late, have end of the year deadlines looming at the office, or you have a personal or professional conflict that has set you back. Here’s the thing, these “distractions” occur all year long. Yes, there are a few more this season, but these are no excuse to shut down your laptop. Think about the opportunity that awaits. If it takes the average writer around thirty minutes to write one thousand words, imagine what you can do by the end of the month. That investment compounded will yield you 31k, or a third of a novel.

Edit Your Manuscript. If you have a short story, novel, or other creative work sitting on your computer, pull it up and get working on it. Again, apply the Compound Effect (Link). If you take fifteen minutes a day, and saying that you are slow in the process, that’s still about one page done. If you add that up, there’s thirty-one pages edited! Maybe print off your body of work and carry it with you then when you’re standing in a long checkout line, waiting for a friend at the coffee house, or snuggled in your plane on your way to the Bahamas, you can knock out some line and copy edits and clean up your manuscript.

Refine Your Website. Do a little spring-cleaning mid-winter and reflect on how your website presents you and your books. Maybe it’s time to start a blog or post your big plans for the New Year. Share a WIP or an event you’ll be attending. Or at the very least, scan for typos, clean up the clutter, and get some feedback on how it looks. I’ve got to admit, websites are very personal. They don’t make or break an author, but they can be a turnoff if they look overcrowded or are hard to navigate. If links are broken or there’s too many advertisements popping up all over (why people?), then it might be time for a spit shine. Web help isn’t that expensive and really all you need is a page or two (which is often free). Just make sure it’s a place your readers can find and engage with you. And one that reflects your brand.

Build Your Network. Hello…did anyone say holiday parties? You bet! This is the perfect time to build your network. Whether you’re going to a friend’s house for a celebration, or your partner’s holiday work party, you’ll meet people who are critical to your success as a writer. Fellow authors, critique partners, street team members, accountability buddies, beta readers, editors, publicists, and maybe even a literary agent or editor. Don’t be shy. Let people know you’re a writer—even if you’re just starting out—and see how your conversations, and your holidays, change for the better.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I hope this article provided you with a few applicable ideas. I would be honored if you shared this on social media. And speaking of sharing, please share your own ideas and experiences below. Together, we can build an uplifting community that focuses on supporting each other’s success.

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