10 Ways to Check Your Two-Year Plan

Hey, Ruthy here, and if you're not familiar with me or my work or my absolutely wonderful books, that's okay... Because you're probably here to see if there's some tidbit of wisdom or advice that's going to give you an edge on getting published. 

First: GO YOU! This is a great dream, an awesome career and I am having the time of my life! Jump in. The water's fine!!!!

Second: Probably only about 35% of authors feel that way.  To the other 65% (I am totally making that figure up, but I'm basing it on a lot of authors, so I could be right. I could be wrong. Take it with a grain of salt) it's work and a series of ups and downs and failures. But I went into this biz in 2002 and it took 8 years to get published, and honestly, those 8 years honed me and my craft. No regrets!

So yes, failures happen. Book failures, edits, revisions (Can you re-write the whole book please? Because it's awful...) and rejections. And after 61 books (with another four ready to be released in the next nine months) I still get rejected. In fact the most recent one let me know that my book wasn't the category I picked (subjective to publishers: Women's Fiction to one publisher is Mainstream with Romantic Elements to another or Trade-length romance to a third.) after he mentioned being so bored by the opening chapters that he put the book down because he couldn't care less what was happening to the heroine.


That would have crushed me eleven years ago. I'd have been curled up in a corner with my blankie and my ni-ni and my binky. 

Now I look at it, barely read it, and know that I can put the finished book out as an indie next year and make money-- and good money because I've established myself as a hybrid author with indie and traditional publishing-- because first, he's wrong... it is a good book and the opening will grab a lot of women who've struggled with their pasts. I'm always surprised that even in this day and age an editor can't see beyond his or her preference to what relates to readers. Especially to women who've overcome problems... and second it's okay if the book didn't fit the targeted line but there were nicer ways of saying that. :) I share that because there are power struggles in publishing. Some are seen, some are unseen but they exist and that's part of why you need real backbone to survive and grit to thrive. 

But today's point is scheduling. I started making two-year plans long before I was published. Having a simple schedule keeps me focused. And I don't lay out massive charts or plans, I keep it simple. 

An excel calendar: 

I'm not sure how clear this will be. For this example I color-coded the Love Inspired books and proposals in yellow, the Guideposts Mysteries in blue and my fourth Wishing Bridge in rose.

And here is how I figure out what I can get done even if the world implodes (which seems likely!) sometime soon:

I keep my word count estimate at 1K/day.

That's about 4.5 pages/day.

Here's the reasoning behind that. Could I write faster? Some days, yes. Some days no. But that's a solid 365,000 words/year, or six 60,000 word books.

If I can't make a living off of 5 to 6 books a year....

Or even 4 books/year. 

I'm in the wrong business.

So that's my goal. This allows me leeway to adjust as needed. During my busy farm season (I own a pumpkin farm in Western New York) I might have to cut things short. But because I'm usually ahead of schedule, it's no biggie.

So here are the 10 things:

1. Be Realistic. Don't set an unreachable goal unless your goal is to fail.

2. Set a daily word count. It's visible and tangible. Nothing subjective about it.

3. Set up a calendar either online or on a wall or a sheet of paper.

4. List your goals on the calendar even before you're published.

5. Treat your business like a business.

6. Allow wiggle room. If you want to write 2 books/year, 500 words/day will do that. 

7. Make writing a habit. Show up, ready to work and then work.

8. If you can quit, do it. Not everyone who loves to read is meant to write and it's a tough business. 

9. Print a hard copy every 100 pages +/- and make sure your story makes sense. Do those corrections, then move on to next section. This keeps your book firmly in mind and you can visualize your changes, corrections better.

10. Expect hard times and celebrate the good times. We all fall. The difference is, successful authors get back up. And if you need a helping hand, that's what people like us are for. We don't charge you. We just want to see you be successful.

I love writing stories. I love creating. But I'd be fooling you if I didn't say yeah... it's work. And so much better when you love, love, love your work. (This doesn't mean I love rejections and revisions... but when I entered this arena I vowed to do whatever I needed to do to be successful, so that was my long-range goal... and I've met it. There's a lot of satisfaction in that.)

I'm so happy that you came by today... and I hope visualizing how to look and plan ahead helps because this is about the only thing I plan... is how to reach that four to six book/year goal and stay there.

AND... since all y'all have been so nice, I have an e-copy of "Deceiving Death" to send to two people... but you have to tell me you want it! It's only available on Kindle because it's a novella... but it's a great suspense and I think you'll love it. A quick read... and who doesn't love romantic suspense???

Award winning, USA Today Bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream of writing the kind of books she likes to read, having crazy fun with other authors, working on her farm, spoiling her grandchildren and appreciating her many blessings! You can visit Ruthy on Facebook, email her at , stop by her website or talk with her here in Seekerville. She loves chatting with readers and writers!