What Do We Want? Success! When Do We Want It? Now!

I had the great good fortune to meet a group of wonderful veteran YA authors about a year before my book came out, and their greatest advice to me was to manage my expectations. Very few people hit the NYT list, and those that do get there because of publisher buy-in and enormous marketing campaigns, a thing The Diminished was never going to have. My friends told me to set reasonable goals, ones I could control, so I did. And in that process, I learned that there were very few things about the writing life that were within the scope of my control. Here was my list for my writing career in 2017:

  1. Finish writing and editing The Exalted.
  2. Write and edit another book.
  3. Sell said other book.
  4. Promote The Diminished to the best of my ability. 

See the thing that didn’t get checked off the list? It’s the item that wasn’t in my control. Did my agent and I try to sell the other book? We sure as shit did. Did it work despite how much we both love that book? Nope.

So when I sat down to write my 2018 list, I did my best to focus on making sure that the items on the list were things within my control. Here’s what that looks like:

  1. Promote The Diminished and The Exalted to the best of my ability, keeping in mind that it feels really fucking wrong to be talking about my books when there are much bigger issues in our country right now.
  2. Write and edit another book.
  3. Fix my 2017 book.
  4. Do more self-care.
  5. Take days off.

Do I want to hit the NYT list and get a Netflix show and quit my day job? Yes, yes, and yes. Do I see that happening in the next year? No. And that’s okay. Because I am limiting my expectations, being really aware of the parts of this job I can control and those I cannot. I can control the words on the page, so that’s what I’m doing.

But really though. If any of y’all are producers and want some really cool TV show ideas, hit me up. I’m ready.

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Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

Kaitlyn Sage Patterson grew up with her nose in a book outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After completing her M.F.A., she moved to South Korea, where she taught English and started writing her debut novel. THE DIMINISHED will be published by HarlequinTEEN in April 2018, followed by its sequel in 2019. When she's not staring off into space and trying to untangle some particularly troublesome plot point, she can be found in her kitchen, perfecting the most difficult recipe she can find; or at the barn, where she rides and trains dressage horses; or with her husband, spoiling their sweet rescue dogs.

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