“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest”
– Venus Williams
For most things in my life, I tend to be a goal setter. When I became involved in the indie author business (and it should be treated like a business) with the completion of my first book, I never dreamed that I would become consumed with the idea of writing for myself as well as for others. I also became consumed with helping others discover their passion for writing and realize their goals.
I’m constantly updating my goals and keep lists so I can document progress along the way. I thought I would share some of them with you. Some of these goals are realistic and others are more in the dream category, but if you don’t dare to dream, you are limiting yourself.
As I share my goals, I will tell you that I have met some of them and the new goals are continuations. I’ll also try to indicate where the goal is long-term, although, you’ll likely figure that out.
Goal 1 – Publish two novels before the end of 2017
Progress – I have two novels written and one completely edited. I’ve slowed the publishing down to submit them for the Kindle Scout program. More on that later. I should reach this goal.
“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals”
– Michael Korda
Goal 2 – Bring all of my books to market as audio books.
Progress – So far, two of my books are in audio book format. The sales have been okay, but my goal is to get the remaining four along with the two new ones into audio format within the next 18-24 months. I feel that this platform is an important addition to my offerings and, with ACX, it has been relatively painless.
“Everybody has goals, aspirations or whatever, and everybody has been at a point in their life where nobody believed in them”
Goal 3 – Earn a Kindle Scout contract
Progress – This goal is currently in progress. I’m awaiting the results of the Kindle Scout nomination for my book, Blood Match. If it wins, I’ll have reached this goal. If it doesn’t, I won’t be discouraged as the process has been rewarding thus far and the support I received from all of you has been amazing and encouraging.
“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals”
– Larry Bird
Goal 4 – Turn one or two books into screenplays
Progress – This is not an easy task. I’ve read books on doing this and I bought the software, but screenplay writing is totally different than writing books. First of all, you have to adhere to a page limit and tell your story within those pages. Second, there is no narrative. Every element of the story has to be told through the actions and dialog of the characters. All descriptive narrative is pretty much off limits.
I’ve looked at outsourcing this endeavor. It’s not cheap, but this might be a place to invest the advance from the Kindle Scout if I am selected.
“Each of you, as an individual, must pick your own goals. Listen to others, but do not become a blind follower”
– Thurgood Marshall
Goal 5 – Publish another short story anthology
Progress – I’ve been using my blog to write short stories. Imposing a deadline on myself each week has helped me keep my writing muscle in shape. This goal should be reachable. I know, I know. No one likes short story collections and it won’t sell a ton of copies. My response to this is, I like short story collections and I know I’m not totally unique in that regard. Also, I’ve used my first collection as a free giveaway to encourage new readers of my work and I’d like to think that helps with sales of my novels. Finally, it’s fun.
“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals”
– Lou Holtz
Goal 6 – Write a novel in a new genre
Progress – This one is tricky. Traditionally published authors rarely change genres although some of them, like John Grisham and Harlen Coben, have ventured into the YA genre. Most stick to what they are good at unless they are such a marquis name that they can write anything. Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes trilogy is close to being in the detective genre, but he goes back to the paranormal/horror in the final book. J.K. Rowling ventured out of the YA realm with The Casual Vacancy. While the book still garnered an enviable number of sales, it was not nearly as successful as her Harry Potter works.
As an indie author, it’s less of an issue to switch to a new genre. You just have to make sure it isn’t awful. I had a person that I was outsourcing my marketing to tell me that I should write an erotic or a western as they were selling. I knew that if I tried this, my efforts would suck. My answer to this was to find a new marketing person. I don’t want to write in a different genre because it’s the flavor of the year. I want to write in a genre that I’m comfortable with. I’m an avid Stephen King reader and may take a run at horror or paranormal and see what happens. I’ve already got a start on this with my novel that’s 2nd in line for this year which deals with time travel.
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
― Henry David Thoreau
Goal 7 – Increase Sales Levels
Progress – Since I published my first book, sales have increased each year. I used to monitor every unit sold and panic when a week or two went by without a sale. Now I just take it in stride and watch the aggregate sales go up each year. Are they at the level where I can ditch my day job? Not even close. There at the level where I can take my wife and daughter out for a nice dinner each month or save up for six months to buy a new computer. I still feel confident that, as my body of work grows, so will the earning. I’ve learned to use my first book to pull up sales of the others. At last count, there are about 10,000 copies of Frankly Speaking out there in the world. Many are as the result of giveaways and the $.99 price. But, that’s okay. It’s kind of an introduction to my writing that hopefully encourages those to read it to buy more. My goal is to make selling books a steady income stream that I can reinvest to grow additional parts of a writing/publishing business that will be my retirement business. I have about 10-12 years to establish that goal.
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
– Stephen King
Goal 8 – Reach 2,000 followers on my blog
Progress – Less than two years ago (February 2016) I became serious about blogging. I originally wanted my blog to be an extension of my writing, kind of a plank in my author platform. It has become a monster of its own where selling books has become a minor part of it and helping others by exposing new books, authors, and tips to help authors has become my focus. Since making this switch in thinking, my blog gained 1,000 followers in the first year and, as of mid-October 2017, I’m at almost 1,700 so the goal of reaching 2,000 is definitely within reach. I’m proud of this growth and hope it is because people are finding value in what I post and share from other blogs.
“You haven’t failed until you quit trying”
So what are your writing goals? Do you write them down or keep them squirreled away in your mind? How are you progressing with them? Let’s have a discussion on this topic.