Once, Twice, Six months an author

I'm breaking out the cupcake cannon today. It's officially been six months since the release of Rite of Rejection. And since I set myself goals that lasted six months, now is the time to take a look back and then plan for the future.

Goals are a tricky mother trucker. Going into this without any idea how my book would be received, I have to say I was clueless on my goals. The good news is that I reached them all, and that's worth celebrating. That said, if I could do it again, I might change things up a bit.

For example, I had no idea just how difficult it would be to get 50 reviews in the first month. This goal was based purely on my own perception of books I perused on Amazon. I tended to lend more credibility to books that had at least 50 reviews. In my head, it would be nearly impossible to cajole 50 family members and close friends to leave glowing reviews. Therefore, a book with that many reviews had to have a good number of legit readers.

I stand by this assessment. However, I didn't take the time to research how many reviews other debuts received in their first month. If I had, I probably would have cut my goal in half.

But, Sarah, you say scratching your head, you did get 50 reviews.

I did, but honestly, I don't think that's a realistic, duplicatable goal. Seriously, I had to work my tail end off to get that many reviews. I spent months working behind the scenes lining up reviewers and sending emails. I didn't write any new words for over a month because all of my extra time was wrapped up in finding readers and reviewers. It was exhausting.

That said, I thing having that many reviews out of the gate played a huge role in how the book was received and how it continues to do. While that goal nearly killed me, it was worth it in the end.

Other goals I missed in the opposite direction. Like selling 1,000 books in the first six months. I don't want to go into too many specifics, but let's say this goal was set way too low and because of that it stopped being a goal. It was no longer something to work toward and that made it easier for me to slack off on promotion.

The point here is that there's no way to tell with goals. I could set these exact same goals for the next book and miss all of them. Because there's no sure thing in publishing.

Moving forward, it's almost time to set the goals for book two, Rite of Revelation. I'm done with my first read through, which was painful...so, so painful.

Now, I'm digging in and rewriting. I'm also building in my subplots and layers and working my secondary characters back into the story. Then it's on to line edits. Because, you know, writing the book is the easy part.

I'm also thinking about how my marketing strategy will be different for book two. With a sequel, you're promoting more to your existing readers rather than the bigger world of readers and that means more targeted efforts. And while it's great that I have a fan base now that will buy the book regardless of how I market it, I'm also limited in that pool. So at the same time I market book two, I'll need to throw some love toward book one. It's sure to be interested and just like last time, I plan to document the process with all of you here.

And I'd love to hear from you. How have your goals changed over the course of your career?