IN THIS ISSUE
- From the Editor’s Desk: Why I’ve changed my goal setting process
- On The Wordling: How I broke into TIME, The NYT, and more
- News & Views: The big money and income trends from 2023
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
I think I went a bit overboard with my goal-setting (obsessive? me?), but an anxiety attack and a few dozen cups of coffee later, I’ve managed to settle on some sort of structure for the coming year.
My priorities for 2024 are writing (a lot), submitting that writing relentlessly, making Wordling Plus an unmatchable resource for writers, and spreading the word about this newsletter. There are a lot of moving parts to both writing books and growing a business, but if I can stay focused on these four areas, I’ll have had a good year.
Because I’m nothing without numbers, here’s how I’ll be tracking these goals:
- Write a million words: I’ve written 450,000 words this year, which included a 60,000-word online course for a freelance client and a novel. It was all fairly easy and effortless and so, despite the large number, this feels like a doable goal for me.
- 100 submissions: My original goal was 100 rejections, but my 11-year-old said, “I don’t like it. Rejections are no more in your control than acceptances.” So I changed it.
- Add 100 pieces of content to Wordling Plus: In 2023 we’ve added 480, but that’s included most of my existing courses, trainings, etc., so 100 more seems like a doable challenge.
- Get 365 mentions for The Wordling: This could be guest posts, media mentions, or shout-outs in other newsletters. I’m not picky!
I’m more excited about these goals than I have been about anything for a long time. And the reason is that I’m actually basing my goals on what I want to do this year rather than what I should do. For so long, I’ve set income goals and focused on growing my business in a way that reflects external success and, once all my needs were met, that no longer felt motivating. Instead, I’ve started looking at my day-to-day life and seeing whether I’m enjoying what I’m doing today. Am I happy today? Did I feel fulfilled today? Would I be happy if I were to live this day on repeat for the next year? And if not, what needs to change?
In terms of writing and business, the above goals feel like they’ll allow me to do what I most love, while providing enough of a challenge that I won’t easily get bored.
Are you thinking about goals for next year? How are you setting them? Hit reply on this email and talk to me. I’d love to know!
Enjoy the issue!
Natasha Khullar Relph
Editor, The Wordling
P.S. I have a couple of coaching spots opening up in January. I’m especially keen to work with writers who are looking to finish books or launch newsletters in the coming year. If that’s you, get in touch and we’ll have a brief Zoom conversation to see if it’s the right fit. Details here.
ON THE WORDLING
Want to know how I got one-on-one feedback on my pitches from a TIME editor before I’d ever worked with him?
I have that story—and four others—in a free series of case studies I’ve put together that detail how I landed top assignments, made $10k from a single assignment, and broke into some very prestigious publications. Read them here.
WHAT’S INSIDE WORDLING PLUS?
Multi-passionate writers need all-inclusive resources.
Wordling PLUS is a place for writers who want three things from their career:
- Creative fulfilment
- Financial security
- The ability to make an impact
NEWS & VIEWS:
How did writers make money in 2023?
As we wrap up 2023 and head into the new year, I want to bring your attention to the big business and income trends from this year that may come in handy as you make writing and publishing decisions for the next.
- Backlists continued to make money in 2023, catapulting old titles to the top of bestseller lists.
- Traditional publishers are increasingly scooping up self-published success stories and offering them book deals.
- Many authors are turning them down. (Such as this author who refused to sign a $200k deal.)
- Indie authors seem to be making more money than traditionally published authors.
- How some indie authors are making a consistent monthly income from book publishing.
- Why first-time authors with big advances can fall into the same mindset trap as lottery winners.
- Despite concerns about AI, creator incomes have risen in the last year. A survey of 1,200 creators revealed that 20% of content creators made more than $60,000 last year and 12% made more than $100,000.
- And finally, the most effective way to sell books in 2023 will also be the way book sales grow in 2024.
The New York Times has sued Microsoft and OpenAI for alleged copyright infringement, asserting that their AI tools have been using NYT’s content without permission.
Mills & Boon is launching a new imprint next month. Afterglow Books will publish romance titles for the under-35 TikTok generation.
And Victoria Strauss has this excellent advice for how to spot a fake literary agency.
CHINA: “In 2018, China submitted a bid to host the 2023 Worldcon in Chengdu. Its main competitor was Winnipeg, Canada. Yet Chengdu won by a landslide: 2,006 votes to Winnipeg’s 807. More than 1,900 of the Chengdu votes were mail-in ballots, mostly from China. Of those ballots, 1,586 had no street address for the voter.”
RUSSIA: “One of Russia’s largest book publishers and the country’s biggest bookstore chain said on Friday they were dropping two prominent Russian writers over their pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian comments. Both authors made the comments in phone calls with people who they thought were senior Ukrainian officials. In reality, those were Russian video bloggers and comedians who have made a career out of publicly embarrassing the Kremlin’s foes.”
SOUTH KOREA: “The president, a former prosecutor, is turning to lawsuits, state regulators and criminal investigations to clamp down on speech that he calls disinformation, efforts that have largely been aimed at news organizations. Since Mr. Yoon was elected last year, the police and prosecutors have repeatedly raided the homes and newsrooms of journalists whom his office has accused of spreading ‘fake news.’”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Anyone and everyone taking a writing class knows that the secret of good writing is to cut it back, pare it down, winnow, chop, hack, prune, and trim, remove every superfluous word, compress, compress, compress…”
– Nick Hornby
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