According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a milestone is “a significant point in development.” Writers can reach a lot of milestones. In fact, that’s part of the writing process.
One milestone is to begin plotting your first book. Even if you’re a “pantser” — you write by the seat of your pants rather than starting with an outline or well-planned plot–your mind will be working on your story, and, yes, that’s a milestone when you begin.
Starting to write is another. Finishing a first draft is another. Finishing a polished story is yet another.
Then there’s the publication process. There are different ways to approach it these days. If you want to be traditionally published, you’ll probably attempt to reach the milestone of obtaining an agent. Or, you may just go directly to a potential publisher with a proposal. Getting your manuscript accepted by one or both constitutes more milestones.
If you self-publish, the process is different, but you’ll still hit milestones–determining how and where you’ll publish, getting your manuscript in the right form for publication, and then, finally, getting your new book out there in print or e-book form or both, for people to buy and read it.
Either way, promotion also sometimes achieves milestones — getting your first review. Getting your first really good review. Throwing your story out there on social media. And milestones in actual sales.
This year, I’m hitting some milestones of a different kind. I’ve been traditionally published for many years — and this year, at the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference to take place soon in Denver, Harlequin will be acknowledging, in its 2018 Author Achievement Awards, that I’ve reached my 25th Book Milestone with them.
And as this year progresses, I’ll have two more Harlequin books published… and the second, my last Harlequin Nocturne paranormal romance since the line is closing, will be a milestone event, too. Including all my other books including mysteries, it will be my 50th published novel!
So yes, this year I’m particularly jazzed about milestones. But whatever stage of writing a writer happens to be in, whatever way they choose to be published, milestones can occur anytime.
What’s your latest milestone?