It's the time of year when writers make resolutions and set goals. Many of my fellow writers set productivity goals--so many words per day or so many pages per day or so many hours at the keyboard per day--believing that productivity goals are easier to achieve than sales goals. They may be right. After all, how much control does a writer have over what editors buy and publish?
I take a different approach. I set sales goals. My goal for 2007 is the same as it's been for many years now: To average one
acceptance per week (that's 52 for the year).
Unless I receive an acceptance in the next few hours--and, really, how likely is that?--I'll finish 2006 with 66 acceptances (while that total primarily consists of short stories, it does include other freelance writing such as essays and articles), the fifth year in a row that I've exceeded my goal.
A secondary goal is to increase my average income from freelancing. That'll happen--if it happens--one of two ways:
1. By increasing the amount I earn from the short stories, articles, and essays I write by selling more work to my existing markets or by finding and selling to better paying markets.
2. By doing more work for my exisiting clients or finding new clients for editing and copywriting.
To achieve my goals, I have to believe I do have some control over what editors buy and publish. (Or what clients purchase from me, but that's a different subject.)
I can control what editors buy and publish by studying their publications and producing material that is similar in subject and similar in style to what they already publish. I can control what editors buy and publish by producing manuscripts that are well-written and, to the best of my ability, grammatically correct. I can control what editors buy and publish by accepting and completing assignments that are offered to me. I can control what editors buy and publish by responding appropriately when editors post want-lists or need-lists or calls for submission.
Do I have a great deal of control? Absolutely not.
But I can pretty much eliminate guesswork and chance from the equation.