Just back from the annual conference of the Romance Writers of America, I'm feeling tired, brain-buzzed, and more convinced than ever that the real name of the publishing game -- at least when it comes to the writer -- is her focus.
It's so easy to be swept up in new trends, the latest self-promotion frenzy, and the sheer energy of great ideas. So easy to get lost in "I Should Be Doing That, Too" that we lose sight of what's important.
So what's important? For each person, the answer will be different, and usually, it takes many years to figure out that target: the personal definition of success at which all the arrows of one's effort should be aimed. Since the target varies with each person, so will the methods of reaching it. In other words, what's worked for an author writing with one goal/audience in mind probably won't work for you. That's why trend-chasers rarely catch up to trend-setters. And why a truly great book can easily outrun both.
Economy of effort in one's career is as critical as economy of words is in one's manuscript. For each strategy considers, it's important to ask "Is this moving me in the direction of the goal? Is it appropriate for my audience? Does it fit both my time and financial budget?" Prioritizing is a necessity, and those who fail to do so eventually flutter to the pathside a publishing like spent and crumpled moths.
So give yourself permission to blaze your own trail -- one that takes you to the unique target of your choice.