Career Planning: Article 2
Defining Your Vision and Target Market
A career plan is a concrete expression of a vision that exists inside you. To give that vision
expression, you need first to bring it into focus...to see it clearly with not only your subconscious, but your
conscious mind. In order to do that, you need to answer a couple of really important questions before you can set
goals or write up a career plan.
YOUR VISION: If you could be anywhere in the world as a writer,
where would you be? What publishing house would you write for? How many books a year would you write? What do you
want out of your career as a writer?
The answers to these questions are going to take both a practical and
measurable form as well as the more nebulous goals whose success is not necessarily reflected in sales statistics
or recognition for the author. For instance, part of my vision for my own writing is to touch a reader the way my
favorite authors have touched me. I want be a writer who changed someone’s life with my book, who made readers feel
that afterglow that comes from reading a really emotionally satisfying story. This aspect of my vision is just as
important as the number of books I want to write a year and the subgenres I want to target.
YOUR TARGET MARKET: What is your niche?
The first step here is to determine your general target market. Are you
writing romance, mystery, women’s fiction, something else? The next step is to narrow your market to the subgenre
in which you are writing and from there, to which publishers are most likely to publish what you
An example: Happy Writer is writing books with a happy ending that are
focused primarily on the relationship between the male and female protagonists. Her books are set during the Gold
Rush in North America.
Her general market: Romance
Her subgenre: Historical
Her niche: Western Historical Romance
To determine her target publisher(s), Happy Writer needs to do some
industry research. Not all publishers of historical romance are open to Western settings. How does Happy Writer go
about identifying the ones who will? She looks at the spine on the books most like her own. Who is the publisher?
What is the line? Who is the author? Happy Writer not only reads the publisher guidelines, but she reads recent
releases in niche market she is targeting.
A final note about determining your target market: There are a lot of
growing and new markets opening up in women’s fiction and romance right now – but they are subgenre specific and if
elements of those markets don’t reflect your creative bent, targeting them isn’t going to get you one step closer
to being published or meeting your career goals. If you like to write stories that make people cry, targeting a
comedy line because they are a more open market than single title sagas is only going to bind up your
In the next article, we will look at career objectives as the skeleton for
the career plan.
About the author: Lucy Monroe is the award-winning author of more
than thirty books. She's married to her own alpha hero and has three terrific children. The only thing she
enjoys more than writing is spending time with them. Lucy loves to hear from readers at
firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find her online at http://lucymonroe.com.