Big Picture Thinking on the Road toward Publishing

It’s been a busy year as writers on the 85K Writing Challenge wrote a book during the 90-Day Write and then edited it during the 60-Day Edit. If you’ve reached the 60-Day Prep cycle, congratulations! You’ve reached an important stage in your path toward publishing.

Big Picture Thinking on the Road toward Publishing

The focus for the August and September 60-Day Prep is laying the groundwork and addressing “business” items that need addressing. With a manuscript written and edited, an organized workspace prepped and ready for the months ahead, a professional bio and author tagline written, the foundations of an effective author/reader email system established, and hopefully, the beginnings of a presence on social media in place, it’s time to pause a moment to consider a few “big picture” items so you can, in the words of English writer, novelist, and philosopher Aldous Huxley, “Dream in a pragmatic way.”

Dream in a pragmatic way. - Aldous Huxley, English writer, novelist, and philosopher #85K90 Click To Tweet

What are your plans for publishing?

Are you planning to print a few copies of your book to share with friends and family? Or are you planning to make a go of it and publish for a broader market? If you’re publishing for a broader market, are you leaning toward self-publishing or planning to query agents?

Having a clear plan for the type of publishing you are pursuing will help you identify the tasks that need to be completed during this phase of the 85K Writing Challenge.

Having a clear plan for the type of publishing you are pursuing will help you identify the tasks that need to be completed. #85K90 Click To Tweet

Image: Hand Writing Time To Focus Concept to the transparent board with marker

Identifying Tasks on the Road toward Publishing

Explore Options

If you’re printing a few copies of your book for friends and family, consider using your time during the 60-Day Prep to research print-on-demand options. Blurb, LuLu, and IngramSpark’s Lightning Source are but a few of the many options available to you, including print-on-demand services through Barnes & Noble Press. (Note: There’s been a somewhat recent change in the industry. Amazon’s CreateSpace has now moved to Kindle Direct Publishing.)

Weigh Pros and Cons

If you’re planning to publish to a wider market but don’t know if you want to self-publish or pursue publication with a traditional publisher, August and September’s 60-Day Prep a great time to weigh your options. An important task to complete right now is writing a comprehensive pros and cons list. Two informative blog posts written by respected sources include Joanna Penn’s “Pros And Cons of Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing” and Jane Friedman’s “Should You Self-Publish or Traditionally Publish?”. Of course, there are plenty more wonderful resources online to help you with your pros and cons list, but these will get you started.

Things-to-Do List

If you’re planning to indie pub, tasks you may want to tackle now include establishing a solid things-to-do list with a system or method in place that will assist with meeting deadlines and setting priorities.

Here’s a sample list of some things you’ll want to include on your things-to-do list:

  • Begin connecting with freelance professionals that can assist with professional book packaging. For example, you’ll want to identify a qualified, professional editor; an interior format designer; and a book cover designer that can work collectively as your publishing team.
  • Get a handle on the costs associated with acting as your own publisher.
  • Develop a solid marketing plan.

Drill Down on the Specifics

Planning to query agents? Drill down on the specifics. Identify agents that are active, ethical, and with proven tracks. Drill down (in other words, research) to determine which agents are seeking your genre and are most likely to connect with your particular piece of fiction.

Resources to consult include Writer’s Market 2019: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published and Guide to Literary Agents 2019. Both were edited by Robert Lee Brewer and published by Writer’s Digest. Consider a monthly subscription to and read The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, written by The Book Doctors, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry.

Big Picture Thinking: How do you define success?

As you answer the above questions, explore options, weigh pros and cons, create a things-to-do list, and drill down to the specifics, there’s one more piece of thinking that probably needs answering and that is: how do you define success?

IMAGE: The word success being measured by a tape measure

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”
– Anne Sweeney, American businesswoman

Define Click To Tweet

How do you define success?

Is success finishing your novel?
Holding a copy of your novel in your hands?
Sharing your novel with the people you love?
Does success come from achieving something you’ve always dreamed of doing?
Is success building your own publishing platform?
Landing an agent?
Establishing meaningful relationships with other writers?
Having your voice heard?
Having a book on a bestseller list?
What is it?

How do you define success?

As you move forward through the 60-Day Prep, answering this question will help guide decision making and bring you closer to achieving your dreams.

You may find it interesting that defines “success” in this way:

success (noun)

  1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals
  2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like
  3. a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors
  4. a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.

Personally, I think this definition of success is a bit stale.

Why not . . .

success (noun)

. . . is overcoming fear.
. . . is never giving up.
. . . is accomplishing something meaningful to you.

More on that in another post.

In the meantime, do attempt to define what success means to you in the context of your writing life and let the thoughts and feelings that arise from your personal definition of success guide some of your planning during the 60-Day Prep.

The below post might be of interest.

Hope you’re having a GREAT day.

– Julie Valerie

About Julie Valerie

Read Julie’s bio here. Visit Julie Valerie’s author website at Never miss an update by subscribing to Julie’s once-monthly author newsletter. Follow her on Twitter at @Julie_Valerie and on her Facebook Author Page at

Julie Valerie

Julie Valerie

85K Writing Challenge: Embracing the writing life by advancing the practice of productive writing from the first word to the first reader.

One thought on “Big Picture Thinking on the Road toward Publishing

  1. Oh my gosh, I’m stealing that line: “Dream in a pragmatic way”! It pretty much represents how I aim to go about life. Thanks for this overview of getting clear what next steps might look like.

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