Quarter Three Goals - 2018
Summer in northern California brings no significant rain for the entire season, the occasional heatwave (when your house doesn't have central AC, you learn to relocate your life into your car or the nearest indoor mall), and many, many days where the weather is just perfect for writing outdoors.
With that said, bring out the fold-out chair, sunhats, sunscreen, and pitchers of mimosas, because we have lots of work to do over the next three months!
Before diving into my goals for Q3, let's review the goals set for the last three months and determine where we stand:
- Complete at least two more rounds of editing.
- Done! As of this post my novel sits on its sixth version - and just around 125k words (~415 paperback pages).
- Submit my manuscript to an editor.
- Line up beta readers.
- Done! Though I've had a good idea regarding who I'd reach out to for my first round of beta readers, I didn't put together that massive email until the beginning of June. That email, which had about forty people on it, went out in mid-June after I decided to lock in my manuscript for querying. Speaking of which...
- Create a query letter and synopsis.
- Done on both counts! Thanks in large part to my CP (critique partner), I fleshed out what I believe is an enticing query letter - two different versions. In addition, my CP challenged me to write a 1-page synopsis of my story - 300-400 words to describe a 125k book! Yes, that was REALLY hard, and I haven't given it a pass with anyone other than her, but either way, it's done.
- Write at least two short stories!
- Totally annihilated this goal! Not one, not two, but four short stories were written this quarter!
One of these goals was squarely out of my hands - goal #2 - but my editor was as prompt as she was thorough with her critique of my story. I'm really happy for being in the position that I'm in right now, especially with all of these goals knocked out. That clears the slate for the coming three months!
What will that look like?
- Begin organizing research materials/data for Book #2.
- There it is, folks. In case you were wondering if my WIP had enough fuel for another go around the solar system, I hope this goal satisfies your thoughts! Yup, I've always had the intention of writing a follow-up to my story, as there is just so much potential baked into it. Because Book #2 takes place [CENSORED!], I have a LOT of research to conduct, and lots of people to start contacting to help with said research. Regarding the people, some of them may be hard - if not impossible - to reach due to the summer season, but either way, the research train must leave the station.
- Submit my story to at least fifteen agents.
- I can already hear other writers chiming in: "Fifteen agent queries across three months - that's it?!" I agree with you: That's a pretty low number. I suppose on this front I'm being a bit conservative on the value because of the customization that can go into every query letter. I know some people view query submissions like sending out resumes with cover letters - just swap out the agent name, click "Send," and repeat - but I'm just not that kind of person. Custom-tailored responses is the name of the game, and such planning takes time. The method worked well for me in my professional career in tech - I imagine it will serve well in the world of writing.
- Attend WorldCon76.
- Pretty much what it says on the tin. An annual science fiction and fantasy conference that is hosted in different cities around the world - and this year it's in San Jose, just an hour and change away! Given the potential for not only meeting lots of fellow SFF writers but also agents and editors that focus on the genres, this is one conference I have no intention on missing!
- Review and apply beta reader feedback.
- With the first round of beta readers going through my book, I will almost certainly receive a sizable amount of feedback from all those involved. I cannot say whether I will make substantial changes to my story based on all that I receive back, but any common threads that weave through all of the beta readers will certainly be given attention. Fingers crossed that such threads are few.
- Write reviews for at least fifteen books.
- I have a massive backlog of completed books that deserve a written review and I need to dedicate time to write them. As a writer, one big way to pay it forward is to write reviews for the books you read - every review brings one's work that much more attention - so I owe it to a number of fellow writers to deliver on such community goals.
- Write a 3-page synopsis for my book.
- This is one goal that I'm not particularly looking forward to, but it has to be done. Not every agent asks for a synopsis, and those that I've talked to or read up on either didn't ask for a synopsis or asked for a 1-2-pager. However, it isn't uncommon to be asked for a 3pg synopsis, so this is something I want to be prepared for ahead of time.
Much like last quarter, I believe this is a realistic list of goals for Q3.
What are your professional or personal goals for the next three months?