Career Planning: Article 2


©Lucy Monroe




Career Planning:
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 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 write.

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 creativity.

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 or you can find her online at


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