Building good book business goals are not printed in stone but should be able to adjust to a rapidly changing marketplace.
We have all heard of the acronym SMART goals, For years I would create goals that were specific, measurable, time sensitive, but often they were not realistic nor were they attainable, well at least not in the position I was in at the time.
There is nothing wrong with having lofty goals, but my problem had always been that I didn’t have goals that I thought were realistic. I mean it’s great to want a million book sales, but when you’re not selling a book every day, it is going to take a long time to reach that million. Also, if we say that in five years we are going to make a million book sales, we need to have a plan to make that goal happen. What we need are incremental goals that lead up to that bigger lofty goal. If I am selling one hundred books this month, then perhaps my goal should be to sell two hundred books next month. If that number doesn’t seem attainable, then perhaps I need to cut that down even farther to perhaps 20% more books than I am selling now. With a little more effort and perhaps another added strategy, 120 books should certainly be doable.
As authors and self-publishers, our products are our books. In order to keep selling books, we have to keep producing good books. I have several new books that I intend to launch during the next year. I have a specific goal date for getting those books launched. Again, these goals have to be realistic. I had a goal that I would get three books published this year, but as I looked at that goal realistically, it was impossible for me to achieve this year. I may be able to get the books written and maybe even edited, but I knew there was no way that I was also going to be able to give any of my books fair marketing if I just wrote them and stuck them out there. I decided instead to publish just one of them this year and launch the other two next year. My marketing is much more focused and realistic with this production schedule. I see the launches of the other two books as much more successful this way.
Though marketing goals include sales goals, sales are only a part of those goals. The idea of marketing includes everything from handing out business cards, putting up flyers, creating posters for book displays, press releases, interviews, book reviews, participating in trade shows, online platform, social media, as well as paid advertising. Marketing can also include making speeches, giving books for a worthy cause, and teaching writing classes. As stated before on this blog, marketing is anything you do to get your name and your products’ names out there.
Financial goals should be in direct relationship with the results of how realistically you handle your sales goals. Financial goals however are not just sales, but also how the money that you earn is spent and how it is invested. If one of your financial goals is to go on a nationwide blog tour, then you will need to have the sales (or money in savings) to back it up. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a rented RV in the middle of Arizona and out of gas with no way to get home.
Another word for financial goal is budget. You determine what you want to do with your money, how much money you have, how much money you are going to earn during a specific period and what want to invest into the future.
Budget goals are attached to strategies that include cutting back spending, generating more income, borrowing money, hiring staff to increase production, or finding other, more creative ways of making things happen (grants, bartering services, winning contests etc.).
Be Prepared to Change Goals Midstream
It is said that change is a constant. Nothing ever stays the same. This is especially true with our goals. As we reach smaller incremental goals, it is important to look at the overall picture of where your business as an author and publisher are going. Is your next step goal that you determined before you met this goal still where you want to go? Do you even want to pursue this big goal anymore? As we move along on our journey with a business, we often change our minds and that’s okay. Sometimes that just means that it’s time to plan our exit strategy. Other times it just means that we need to rearrange our priorities or give some of the responsibility to someone else.
Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .