I've learned so much about being an author, selling my work and publishing in the last year that my head is spinning. One of the major lessons learned is that I control what I want to do with the works I produce. Each work has its own potential and it's my job to create and map out the opportunities for that baby.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'VE WRITTEN YOUR BOOK
After you've edited it to death and it's ready to sell, you need to change from author to marketer. Evaluate what avenues are available for your work. Find an agent? Find a small publisher? Self-publish? Use as tool for marketing other works or building a platform? Contest shop? Serialize or give away for free? How many markets can I tweak this baby to sell in? YA? Romance? Horror?
Let's say you finished a book where the main character is 19yrs old and there is some romance, but not a strong one in the book. You can evaluate your work and say hum...I can market this for YA if I make the main character younger, I can market it for romance if I build up the love story more, or I can make it horror if I make the killing scenes more gruesome and suspenseful. Then create those 3 different versions of the book and market it to literary agents and publishers that represent those genres. Why? Because it gives you three times as many chances at selling it. Think sell that baby or figure out how it can help push your career as a writer further.
SELF-PUB? LIT AGENTS? SELL DIRECT TO PUBLISHER?
So you have a lit agent and a publisher that gave you say a 3 book deal? Yay! Well you also have a thing for writing short stories. Think of your career in writing as a business. If you have sold your books and you know the market for short stories isn't that good. Use your short stories to do the following; keep your name in front of your readers, self-publish them to make income that is leveraged off of the sale of your novels, serialize them on podcast to increase your audience, send them to anthologies, post them on your blog, do contest for more exposure, or ask your publisher to publish them in the back of the books they are selling so that you can hook your reader further.
THINK BEYOND WHAT YOU'VE EVER THOUGHT BEFORE
Think outside of the box that says I have to go in this direction to become published, to progress my writing career...to do anything. Think beyond the obvious. That means don't just surround yourself with other writers, authors, publishers etc. Seek out business people that are entrepreneurs, because as a writer you are an entrepreneur. You sell the written word and whatever you produce (provided it's well done) can help you to build your business and grow your career.