Friday, December 16, 2011

Choosing the Hare or Tortoise Route

As the old saying goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Whether you choose to go the fast route or the slow route to freelance writing success depends on how you start out. If you sprint from the starting line, you may find that soon you’ll run out of energy and slow down considerably. If you start at slow and steady, you may find that you’ll have enough energy to go to big and better things.

You may find that you can jump-start your writing career if you do one of three things. You may get some pieces published in at least six top markets within your first year or so. If you play your cards right, you may find you’ll become a regular in one or two of those markets, thus affording you a steady income. From this early success, you’ll be able to pitch more articles and books to editors because your credibility will have taken a quantum leap.

Another way to jump-start your career is by coming up with a sparkling new and innovative idea for a book which might begin a new trend in publishing. Agents may be beating down your door to get a crack at auctioning it off to the highest bidding publisher. But if you go this route, you must be prepared to continue the trend and come up with even better ideas.

The third way to jump-start your career is by publishing your own work and promoting it every way you can until you end up with one or more bestsellers. Until recently, editors and readers looked up any writer who self-published his or her work as one who wasn’t good enough to get published commercially. However, in today’s fast moving publishing environment of the Internet and E-readers, that attitude is changing fast. So if you’re a good writer and have lots of good ideas and some technical know-how, you can easily produce some great material, bypassing the slower traditional publishing route and hopping on the fast freeway to potential success. (NOTE: I’ll cover self-publishing in future blog posts.)

If you’re an enterprising writer, traveling any of the above routes will get you on the fast-track to success. Being at the right place with the right idea at the right time will guarantee it. On the other hand, you could just get lucky. A magazine editor may love your work and welcome you into his or her stable of writers, sending you assignments faster than you can tackle them. Too many beginning writers only think of this route and pitch their ideas only to top markets, then come crashing down when the editors reject their work or, worse yet, don’t even reply, leaving them in limbo.

For the majority of writers just starting out on the path to success, going slow is the best way. Unlike the hare who starts at the top and then fights to stay there, you’ll need to start at the bottom and work your way up the ladder. It’s a tough climb from which you’ll be knocked down more than a few times, but eventually you’ll reach the top. With lots of writing experience behind you, you’ll have a better chance of staying on top longer.

No comments: