Do you really know?

It isn't until I started working on my first non-fiction book proposal that I truly realized how wide and varied are the markets. I was intimidated by the idea of analyzing the competition and listing them within the proposal. Surely, to compare my work to another would be a process in the egotistical, but frankly, what I found was it was an endeavor that promises to weed out any weakness within my own work and truly look at the place for my book within the market.
As writers we like to believe that our ideas are unique. But once you truly look at and analyze those other books then you begin to see where your own could be strengthened. Perhaps your topic is too broad, covering too much to be succinct. Perhaps your idea is limited and then you face the fact that you may not have enough to carry a book. And of course, there is that issue of saleability. Everyone would like to believe that their book will be instant success, but even selling isn't a guarantee of a readership. It takes so much more to make that a reality. How does your book compare to others within the market?

Goals and other things that I avoid... But shouldn't

I have one of those Google alert thingies set up to notify me when someone posts a blog involving "writing" and "mysteries". I find helpful to be able to see what others are saying in order to be able to get my creative juices flowing. This morning I opened my mail to find that there was a blog post from a YA author named Justine Larbalatier, called Writing Goals Redux. Apparently, at the beginning of the year she'd posted her goals to write and publish under several different genres, pov and formats. She was now, toward the end of the year, looking at how much she'd achieved. It's impressive. Actually, she's impressive. I'm pretty much convinced that she must not sleep. I can see where she would need to write all of this down so that she could keep track of it. And her books are selling. It's not as if she's writing these manuscripts and stuffing them in the back of her closet or under her bed. No, she's got a impressive list of accomplishments there.

So, this got wondering. Lately, I've been wandering all over the page trying to find direction for myself and my writing. I am unstructured and thus, unproductive. It's not that I don't believe in goals. I'm all for them as a way to hold yourself accountable and as a guidepost for where you want to go. But I realized that it had been more than a year since I'd written down an goals.

Here goes:
  • Romance (straight -- or at least no real mystery)
  • Romantic Mystery
  • Romantic Paranormal
  • Mystery (cozy)
  • Paranormal Mystery
  • Non-fiction (paranormal book)
  • Non-fiction (writing book)
Justine further breaks her list down by POV. I'm pretty much across the board on this one, so I don't think I'll be making changes for this. But I did like her last part:

  • Stand Alone
  • Trilogy
  • Series
Now, the thing is to hold myself accountable for these and see how far it gets me. Anyone else want to chime in on goals? Do you make them? Do you hate them? And do stick to them?

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