Publishing Insights and Inspiration January 2023

It was a great holiday filled with food, wine, friends, dinners, parties, naps, and time to recharge and reflect on the year. Hope you all had equally restorative breaks and are ready to tackle 2023 with new goals and ideas! When I reviewed my 2022, I was left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the year – one that started with crazy deadlines finishing one book and ended with finishing a proposal for clients for another. (I love it when agents are happy!)

In between, I worked on some terrific books and chalked up some firsts for me! I even finished my first novel at long last, started querying for an agent, applied for a writing fellowship, and even submitted to a couple of unpublished manuscript competitions I was very proud of myself for hitting some stretch goals! That said, I’m not about to become a novelist anytime soon.I began creating non-fiction proposals with clients this year. (For those of you who know, they are an undertaking similar to a business plan where we concept the book, flesh out the content, and clearly define a market for an unwritten book.)  And there were a couple of *all-mosts* which I count as wins because they help me cultivate relationships that I hope will bear fruit later. 

If you haven’t already, take a moment to reflect on your year and make sure you total up your wins. Write down a few of your lessons learned, then pat yourself on the back. A yearly review is a terrific way to move forward on your professional journey and set goals for the future!  

Gratitude: For my cheerleaders, guardian angels, and each of you who email me to say you read and found an interesting insight, thanks!  The longer I write, edit, consult, and hear from so many of you, the more I find that fellow connectors are an important part of success. I’ve also learned you don’t make new connections without asking, sharing, and talking about your own work. So special thanks to my champions (you know who you are). You’re the ones who keep encouraging me to stretch. 

Personal Branding:  It’s something a lot of mid-career executives are talking about as they look at changing jobs, changing focus, and maybe even changing careers.  How can you capitalize on the wealth of experience you have – and still follow your passion?  Personal branding can help. A good coach can help you – email me for a recommendation. Lately, I read one professional suggests thinking about what gets you out of bed in the morning. That’s a great question.  Could you answer it? 

Competitions: I haven’t entered a competition in years, but this year I entered two unpublished manuscript competitions and applied for a fellowship. I didn’t win – of course, but that wasn’t the point. (Well, actually it was, but there’s more to be learned.) Take the leap and get your project out into the world. Just announcing it exists is a big deal, and an important step to making a dream of publishing a reality. My motto for this year?  Insane bravery. 

Book Proposals:  It’s hard to explain how critically important the book proposal is for non-fiction authors. Fiction authors are expected to have a finished manuscript before they start looking for an agent or publisher, but what do non-fiction authors do? It’s all about the idea, the audience, and the author’s platform. Crafting a book proposal can be specialized work. There are a lot of books and websites with recommendations, but if you want a proposal that will sell, it’s worth the money to come to a professional. I’ve spent my career “selling” books and ideas. That means researching market data, justifying the audience, and creating a chapter-by-chapter outline that expresses your idea and will catch an agent or publisher’s attention. If you’ve got the research and data to back up a legitimate book idea, let’s talk! 

Check on your women executives. They’re not OK: I’ve been reading a lot lately on gender issues in the workplace. One issue that keeps rising to the top is the pressure on women executives both in and outside of the workplace. They are taking the emotional brunt of turnover, layoffs, and the results of the pandemic. Don’t leave them to clean up the mess as we come out of what is an ongoing pandemic recovery. Why women and not all execs?  Women end up cleaning up the messes at home especially when it comes to kids and school. For more, give a listen to this terrific podcast from McKinsey on women execs and burnout.   

One last thing: Execs who behave badly are touting a return to 1990s-style management and it’s not OK. (Or, as André Spicer asks in The Guardian “Have we reached our limit with awful bosses?”) Employee abuse is not anything that companies should encourage. Beds in offices, 80-hour weeks, and “perform at all costs” management mentalities won’t be returning, no matter what a particular tech exec is trying to force on an army of sycophantic engineers. Check on your managers, support their needs, and remind them of your company values. Make sure they know they have permission to be humane leaders. Your organization will be better off for it.  

 2022 Books and Quotes:  I read 64 books this year. Can you believe it?  Check out my best books of the year to add to your own list.  Close friends know I also write a quote each week in my planner. I write them all up at the end of the year, so here are the 2022 quotes to share. I hope you find some inspiration! 

Social Media – let’s connect!  I often get people who ask for a connection on Linked In, as if I won’t accept it!  (One woman said “Well, here goes.”)  When it comes to Linked In, I take all comers – the better to help make a connection, right?  So, add me to your social network and you’ll see links to some of my work including my food history column at Adam Smith Works “What Adam Smith Ate.”  

I want to hear what you’re working on. And answer this question for me:  What is your superpower? Let’s connect online: 

At my website:
On Facebook: Renee Wilmeth
On Instagram: @feedmedrinkme
At LinkedIn:

I’m always excited to hear about new books and writing projects. Contact me about ghostwriting and development projects for later this year and early 2023. (As always, you can see my list of topic specialties and what i can do for you.) If we’ve worked together, referrals are great, too. Let’s keep connecting! 

Warm regards,

Renee Wilmeth

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