I frequently set goals for myself. To be honest, I don’t always keep them. In 2012, I set the goal of updating my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace from the second edition to a third edition that year. I didn’t meet the goal. Life got in the way. Knowing I failed the goal made me conscious that I needed to try harder the next year. I did and the third edition of my book was released in early 2014.
Goals serve as guideposts and destinations on our journey. Without goals, we tend to wander and less gets accomplished. Studies show that successful people set goals and work to accomplish them.
As an author or publisher, you too should have goals. These goals can be refreshed regularly. I think setting goals for the coming year is an important exercise for any business person. You can set goals around writing books, producing books, the marketing of your books, and other endeavors related to your book. The goals you set will give you something to strive for. They will also keep you on track and produce a sense of accomplishment when they are met.
Many people follow the SMART principle when creating goals. Here are tips for creating SMART goals.
1. Your goals should be specific.
“I will write more” is not a specific goal. “I will write two books” or “I will write eight blog posts per month” is specific. Make your goals specific.
2. Your goals need to be measurable.
Making your goals measurable helps you know when you have met a goal. Stating “I will do more marketing in 2016” is not very measurable. However, a goal such as “I will engage in three marketing activities each day” or “I will sell 365 books (one per day on average) in 2016” is measurable. With these goals, you can measure if you have met the goal, exceeded the goal, or fallen short of the goal.
3. Make your goals attainable.
Attainable goals are realistic goals. To say you want your income to increase two-fold in the next year may not be attainable. However, to have a goal that you will sell 25% more books in 2016 than you did in 2015 is entirely attainable with the right effort.
4. Your goals must be relevant.
Don’t take on a goal that someone else wants you to accomplish. Your goal must be your own—something you want to attain. “I will read two books on marketing in 2016” won’t happen unless you are motivated to learn more about successfully promoting your book. You have to have the desire to complete the goal or you will run out of steam after some effort.
5. Give your goals a time-limit.
Give your goals realistic deadlines. “I will complete my book by June 2016” gives you a guide to keep you on track (especially if you tend to procrastinate).
As we enter into a new year, I encourage you to take out your goals and refresh them. Follow the SMART principle in creating your goals. Then, share with me one or two of your goals for your writing and publishing endeavor for 2016. I would love to hear what you want to accomplish.
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