Thursday, November 6, 2014

What are my goals

I talk a lot about goals on this blog and how it's important to set them and know where you are going.

I actually wrote down goals for myself a while ago, but I forgot to share them with you, which was a blunder. Because a marketing plan makes more sense when you know what the goal of it is.

I gave myself three goals because I felt that was a manageable number of targets to keep track of. Here they are:

1.Garner 50 reviews on Amazon in first month
2. Earn back expenses in first three months
3. Sell 1,000 books in first six months

Let's break those down.

1. Garner 50 reviews on Amazon in first month
This is the goal I feel I have the most control over. And the one I feel I'm the closest to achieving (which is silly because no one can even leave a review on Amazon yet). I have a ton of people reading the book between the tour bloggers, Netgalley and a few other sources, but I know that only a percentage of them will leave a public review. And because I can send the eBook for nothing, there are no barriers to keep me from sending the book out to as many readers as I need to in order to get a good number of reviews.

Of course, I'm hoping for organic reviews to trickle in once people have bought and read the book, but I'm not factoring them into my efforts.

There are other places readers can leave reviews, like Goodreads, so why Amazon? Because they are the biggest players when it comes to book purchases. When I am checking out books to read I always check out their reviews on Amazon, even if I plan to buy the book at my local book store.

2. Earn back expenses in first three months.
For my expenses, I'm planning to include everything I spend on the creation and promotion of the book. If it's money I wouldn't have spent if I weren't publishing a book, it counts. This means I probably have some expenses tacked on to this book that will make it more expensive than other possible future books. I'm okay with that.

Here's how my expenses to date add up:
Cover design: $225
Editing: $383
Proofreading: $187
Domain name: $42
Proof copy: $8
Netgalley: $80
Total: $925

With an ebook earning right around $2 per purchase, I need to sell about 463 copies of my book to break even. Can I do that in three months? I have no idea. Having never done this before I don't have a baseline for myself. I can take a look at other author's sales numbers, but that doesn't mean anything for me.

I also know that this number is going to go up. I still have to purchase my blog tour prizes, I'm planning to do a Goodreads giveaway and I want to order some bookmarks. As I go, I'll add to the total so I can easily track where I need to be come March 4th.

3. Sell 1,000 books in first six months
There isn't anything tied to this goal like the last one, this is just a personal goal for me. 1K is a nice round number, and for some reason, it lodged in my head that I'll have done a pretty decent job with this whole writing thing if I can convince 1,000 people to plunk down their hard earned cash for my words.

You'll notice that each of my goals is Specific, Measurable, Active, Reasonable, and Time Sensitive. I know exactly what I want to happen, how I'll determine if I succeeded, and what I need to do to meet the goal in the time allotted.

At the end of the day, I may not achieve all of these goals. Of course, I want to, but I'm trying to be realistic enough to know that I might miss the mark. The point of having goals isn't to punish us for being sub-par. It's to give us a focus and keep my actions driving me toward success.

Once the book goes live, I'll keep you guys posted on how my goals are going. And if I don't, I want you to remind me. Staying accountable keeps me from fudging the numbers or losing direction. Success or fail, at the end of the day I'll know I did everything I could.


  1. I think you're right about goal #1 being the easiest to reach. Goals 2 and 3 depend on multiple other factors, with price point being perhaps the most crucial, but promotion will also play a large part. I've heard career self-published author marketing plans projecting 2,000 to 5,000 units sold per month but that is usually with the first couple of weeks free and then a max price of $2.99.

    1. I know self-pubbed authors who regularly sell 1k+ copies per month and other who've been published for a year or more and have yet to sell their first 1K. There are so many factors and you're right that a lot of them are out of my control. The goals are there to push me and also to direct my plan. For example, if my goal was to hit a bestsellers list or win an award, my marketing strategy would be a lot different.

  2. Reading other people's goals always make me eager to set my own. I'm very excited to see how your self-pub journey develops.

    And it was really interesting to see the break down on your costs so far. I'm not sure I would have guessed very accurately on those prices!

  3. Hi Sarah-- Love your emerald-opalescent cover. It looks like Amazon doesn't let people review before the book is available. When you ask people to review before they can post a review, then do you somehow cue them when it's time to post it?

    1. Correct. Amazon doesn't allow reviews to be posted on pre-sale books for self-publishers. The whole pre-sale option is still really new so I'm sure there will be adjustments on down the road.

      For now, I have detailed lists of everyone who agreed to read the book. I will send them all a gentle nudge when the book goes live and ask them to post their review then. :)


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