I was reflecting recently how having a submission on an editor’s desk can really fire you up in terms of motivation. It can also really twist the knife when things don’t go as planned – gutting your urge to apply yourself. My initial thoughts here were to disconnect from the outcome, investing in yourself and the work instead. That’s hard to do though, on some level you always seem to latch onto that potential outcome.
In terms of goal-setting, people have always talked about the importance of setting overall goals, then sub-goals. With writing, the advice has always been to get lots of things out there i.e. get the ‘hot potato’ back out onto the market as soon as possible. On a conscious level I guess I have always understood that – in fact my planning has often been an impeccable development of this line of thinking. Yet the reality has always been different.
I have passed through a phase of ‘scatter-gun’ marketing, but found it not only exhausting but also ineffective. With short work I have had much more success just sitting on pieces until the right sort of market has opened up.
So I’ve tried to go with the general principle – to keep things in motion – but gone for a simple idea of ‘nested goals’. Basically I have one market active for one piece, enough to motivate me and keep me running. The difference is that if this market comes back negative, I have another option for that manuscript in place, ready to run.
In the light of Goal-setting 101, it might sound basic, but it seems to work for me (this whole field seems to be full of things to relearn you knew 10 years ago, but get rediscovered in a new way). It allows me to keep my momentum, and also allows me to focus on the selected markets and think about what they are really looking for. In a strange way it also frees me up to explore different concepts because I know it might take longer. Weird, but true.
How do you plan the marketing strategy for your work?