Striving Toward My Goals in 2014

In yesterday’s post, I wrapped up 2013 by reviewing my ups and downs during the year. Some were writerly, others family.
Overall, my year ended on several high notes, and I have many writing friends and communities who contributed to the high moments.

But now it is time to move on to 2014 and what the next 364 days hold in store.

Striving in 2014 image
Striving in 2014 image

I never make resolutions. Why? Because I break them.

Goals are a different story. I can’t explain why. BUT goals I somehow manage to keep on a high awareness level. Goals are usually in my mind, never written, only for my mind to see. This year, however, I’m stepping outside the box and sharing them with you thereby giving myself a sense of accountability.

Drum roll, please —

Writing Goals:

  • Complete first draft of my memoir, writing 1500-2000 words five days per week
  • Self-edit manuscript at least twice
  • Engage editor and proofreader to check my manuscript
  • Platform building and branding efforts
  • Begin drafting book proposal
  • Post here once a week

I recently read and reviewed Brooke Warner’s new book, How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal. This book invigorated and encouraged me so I believed I could really do this. Warner’s easy style and straightforward explanations of platform building, book proposal, branding, and more instilled a sense of self-confidence I have not until now felt.

I knew I could write. Many of you told me that. I had published several short pieces and had others accepted. But could I make the giant step to finish a book and then approach the point of publication. This one boulder stood between me and finishing my memoir. No more!

Attribution
Attribution

My red cape is at the ready, and SuperWriter is about to start work on the next great memoir! Thank you, Brooke Warner!

Other Goals:

  • Learn more about SEO
  • Incorporate better social media skills related to time management
  • Consider eliminating book review blog due to time required
  • Redesign blog to make it more brand-based (already underway!)
  • Consider focus on writing blog
  • Consider publication of one short e-book

Personal Goals:

  • Greater focus on spiritual health (recent reactivation of my devotional blog, Sowing Seeds of Grace, is a beginning)
  • Health and fitness (make time for 30 minutes of exercise at least five days/week)
  • Home and hearth (planning chores more effectively around writing time and time spent with husband)
  • Yard and garden (more time outside digging in the dirt)
  • Knitting and quilting (the other half of my writing room — make some time each week to indulge myself in one or the other of these)

This may seem to be a long list, but a single human unit has many needs to support a healthy and balanced life. Without some of these listed components, I do not feel as if I’m thriving. I will find balance by allocating time wisely and knowing when to pull back on something allowing a sense of flexibility to reign overall.

AND NOW, my focus word for 2014 —

Merriam-Webster.com defines “strive” as “to devote serious effort or energy.” I believe in order to carry out any or all the above, but primarily my writing goals, I must devote serious time, energy and effort to capture the prize — completion of my memoir manuscript in 2014. And I will strive!

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Attribution

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How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal by Brooke Warner | A Review

Image via Goodreads
Image via Goodreads

How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal

By: Brooke Warner
Publisher: She Writes Press
Published: October 25, 2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Source: Author

Synopsis: How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal offers memoirists an easy-to-follow formula to create a winning book proposal that will attract agents and editors. Brooke Warner is a former acquiring editor and current publisher who breaks the nonfiction proposal into three editorial components and three marketing components. This ebook includes a section about platform-and an explanation of why memoirists need one and how they can build one-as well as real samples from authors who have sold their memoirs to traditional publishers off their proposals. Find easy-to-follow templates and smart tips for navigating agents and publishers, along with best practices memoirists can’t afford not to know!

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

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My Thoughts:

With a memoir well on its way to completion, I’ve been muddling over what does a writer does once the manuscript is complete, when you believe it’s really ready for the hands of a publisher.

When the opportunity arose to review Brooke Warner’s newly released book, How to Sell Your Memoir: 12 Steps to a Perfect Book Proposal, I signed on to help spread the word about it. Little did I know that a majority of my questions would be answered while I read the book.

Warner succinctly and with clarity provides a step-by-step guide to what a memoirist needs to do in order to place his/her manuscript on the correct pathway to publication. Leaving nothing to chance, she provides tips set apart in such a way that it is easy to thumb back through the book and easily spot them. Here’s an example similar to what you’ll find in Warner’s book:

TIP: THINK OF YOUR BOOK PROPOSAL LIKE A BOOK REPORT YOU WOULD HAVE DONE IN GRADE SCHOOL. IT NEEDS A TITLE PAGE AND A TABLE OF CONTENTS SO THE READER OF THE PROPOSAL KNOWS WHAT THEY CAN EXPECT TO FIND, AND SO THEY CAN SKIP AHEAD IF THERE’S SOMETHING SPECIFIC OF INTEREST TO THEM.

Additionally, Warner provides other best practices information with each chapter. These are extremely well written and easily understood. Samples of each phase are provided, including query letter, components of proposal, marketing research, etc.

Sprinkled along the way are resources Warner believes beneficial to the writer new to the marketing and publishing aspects of book publishing.

Her writing and format are both good examples of what agents and publishers will likely be looking for.

Considering the short length, 88 pages of text and tips, Warner answers all of my questions to date and has demystified the issues of platform, query letters, book proposals and more.

My Recommendation:

I cannot recommend this book strongly enough for people writing memoir who may be reaching that point where issues surrounding marketing and publishing begin to come into focus. This is by far one of the best examples of a “how to” book which clearly maps out the process for you.

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Meet the Author:

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

Brooke Warner is the founder and president of Warner Coaching Inc., where she specializes in helping writers get published. She is also the publisher of She Writes Press. In her thirteen years in the publishing industry, including seven-plus years as an acquiring editor at Seal Press, Brooke shepherded over 500 books through the publication process. Her expertise is in traditional and new publishing, and she is an equal advocate for publishing with a traditional house and self-publishing. Brooke’s website, www.warnercoaching.com, is the recipient of an award from the Association of Independent Authors for Best Website for Independent Authors. She sits on the board of the National Association of Memoir and She Writes. What’s Your Book? is her first book and she’s proud to be publishing on She Writes Press. Warner lives in Berkeley, California, and works remotely with clients nationally and internationally.

Other places to connect with Brooke Warner:

Facebook: facebook.com/warnercoaching Twitter: @brooke_warner She Writes blog: http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blog/list?user=1resr57ciyxus YouTube: youtube.com/warnercoaching Pinterest: pinterest.com/warnercoaching

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UP NEXT: Coming soon we’ll take a look at how to choose stories you’ll include in your memoir.