Sales Saturday: Setting Goals

Here piggy, piggy! Here piggy, piggy!

Oh, the irony is that piggy bank looks like it has a boat load of money beneath it, but IT doesn’t. By my banking eye calculations it has about $30.00 max underneath it because it’s all dollar bills. Luckily, I probably made about twice that this year in book sales since May…That is unless you minus all the stuff I gave away as far as e-books, etc. Then I would probably have a piggy bank like this:

Last year I set out on a whim to self-publish. I got In Between Seasons out there and then after lots of hard work and sweat and finding mentors and lynch mobs, literary snobs, and literary elitists, and the fans (I have 46 fans on GR, and you know what? I only know 2 of them personally!!!) I published Walking in the Shadows, a much cleaner and better demonstration of my writing style, voice, and what I hope is skill. I also started to develop my own advertising and marketing prowess with what people either loved or hated for covers, and advertisements. The thing about my covers is, it’s something new, YA covers DON’T look like that. They have girls in fluffy dresses, hot shirtless guys and pretty girls sobbing, and more than half the time they HAVE nothing to do with the book–absolutely NOTHING. I don’t want to be like everyone else. Will some of my covers have pretty girls in dresses on them? Yes, but I’ll have taken the pictures, or my husband because I don’t know many people other than myself to put in them. Will they have shirtless guys on them? No, sorry, you can’t see my husband shirtless. 😉

Though, I am having a dilemma with the cover with my current work in progress…although, I do have a option floating around in my mind deviously…I think, if I can pull it off, it’s going to be awesome!

After all that I decided that I thoroughly despised medical coding and switched my degree to marketing, which I love, and I always have. I should have listened to my heart and not the imaginary dollar signs that were thrown at me. That was something else I learned in writing and publishing as well. If someone has a book called “how to make $46,000 a month selling your e-book” run the other way, if there is a book called “edit yourself into print” burn it. Those were the mistakes I am willing to admit I made with InBS. I listened too much to sources like that and didn’t go with my gut. I also lacked any sort of planning. I walked blindly into the world of publishing, and to be honest, I’m still stumbling–dealing with my own failure in the face of those that say they’ve done less, but they’ve sold more. Maybe they just have more friends than me, who knows. I’m going to keep trying. This year I’m going to use my business management skills, though. I’m stepping in more knowledgeable and applying those skills I’ve learned elsewhere. Along the way I’ll continue to share them with you on Sales Saturday, but mind you, don’t step forward with the advice unless you believe in it and you feel good about it.

Goal Setting

In business goal setting is a very important skill to have, especially when you own and operate your own business. I’ve seen so many blind goals thrown at people–one’s that say we want you to do this, but we aren’t going to tell you how. I’ve pretty much been thrown on my face for most of my business life. I’ve had to teach myself things and establish my own goals, and have devastated the goals set by others, but never met my own goals. I’ve seen the other side as well where the goals established by others are unbelievable in the fact they are not able to be accomplished–they devastate the person’s confidence before they even try.  The goal setting theory states that people are motivated by goals that they accept and are specific, challenging but not too much so, and they receive feedback and reinforcement. Being a writer, the feedback portion can be challenging. Why? Often times the feedback isn’t all that great–AKA the lynch mob. Other times it’s amazing–AKA the fans. Good reviews can be just as useless as bad ones though. The people giving the feedback–besides your editor and if you use a publisher, your publisher, are most likely not trained to give feedback. It’s all over the place and it lacks guidance checkpoints. You have to set your own goals as a business person and a writer, and although you aren’t setting them for someone else the same basic concepts can still be beneficial. Goals should be:

  • Specific: This will help you know what you want to accomplish it and let you chart how you plan on accomplishing it. The goal must be something that will satisfy your needs in your business.
  • Challenging: Don’t take this overboard–make a goal that is challenging but realistic. You don’t want to make a goal to sell 3 books a month if you already sell 3, but you don’t want to make the goal of selling 1000 either.
  • Accepted: Now this is more towards setting goals for others because they must accept the goals and understand them, but you should also accept your own goals–this ties directly with making it challenging. If you set the goal of 1000 when you sell 3 currently you are burning yourself out before you even begin.
  • Feedback: There should be a way for you to track your progress now compared to your progress in the past. A simple way to do this is to create an excel spreadsheet of your sales and track them weekly. This can act as a motivator to get you going and a way to realize your own accomplishments. I would say that one goal to not set is reviews because like I said they lack guidance checkpoints. They can help you to see if one book is better than another, but then again it’s an opinion so you could have all four or five stars and then get a few two stars that will plummet your overall score, while you can get mostly three stars and have the same balance of a score as the novel with mostly four or five stars.

So now that you have read all that you are probably wondering what my goals are for this year. Here they are:

Book Related:

  • Distribute 400 books this year between giveaways and real sales. Last year I distributed 240 books between InBS and WITS.
  • Publish 3 novels. Last year I published 2. I have one set in stone to publish this month, and I would like to release one in the Summer and one in the Winter. Which ones they will be really depends on the development of what I am currently writing.
  • Reach 250 followers on my blog. I am at 139 now, and that was since May.
  • Have 4,000 views on my blog. This year I got 2,800 views since May.
  • Reach 100 fans on Goodreads.
  • Get some five stars, get some two stars, maybe some one stars: Stop reading every review and making myself feel like a bug pinned to a board. Reviews are important, but when they make you feel like less of a person, less of a writer, like an insect–it’s time to stop reading them. I’m also hoping I will get so many that I can’t read them all.
  • Design at least 10 book covers for myself and other authors.
  • Get better at writing and marketing my book.
  • Continue to post at least three times a week.
  • Maybe, just maybe, make some money doing this.
  • Have a successful book reading.
  • Inspire someone.

Personal:

I can’t share all of these because anyone can view my website 😉

  • Receive my Associates Degree in Marketing.
  • Look into getting my Bachelors Degree.
  • Continue to expand my photography company Gio Design Studios–post at least once a month on there.
  • Begin the process of converting the photography company into a publications marketing company (designing covers/back covers, advertisements, book trailers).
  • Start to actually save some money.
  • Be able to say that I’ve kept the weight off for two years.
  • Try not to let people asking me if I eat bug me. Tell people to shove their sandwiches in their own mouths.
  • Get my In Between Seasons tattoo.
  • Help my dog lose some weight, too.
  • Continue to work out three times a week.
  • Start taking my camera with my everywhere so that I stop feeling like I’ve missed that perfect shot.
  • Manage my time better.

What are your goals? Are they specific and challenging? Did this post help you at all?

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16 thoughts on “Sales Saturday: Setting Goals

  1. Excellent Article Cassandra and you capture many of the pitfalls of an indie author brilliantly. You are quite right in terms of trusting your gut and setting realistic and achievable goals without running the risk of burn out. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks JJ. I try to be honest about the process so that other authors looking into it aren’t too discouraged when it doesn’t go as planned. It’s hard when you read about authors that now don’t have to also work full-time jobs because they are selling enough independently to basically retire and live their dreams! I also don’t want to give up and hopefully, by showing my struggles I can help others to not give up either.

      • No Cassandra, I think you are very right and it is nice to see what I am sure many authors privately think. I know when I reflect, my first book was a nightmare in terms of a learning curve and I tend to think that with the help of others and with each book I am learning more each week and month. I think the soundest piece of advice is to approach a writing career like a marathon insofar as it is all about going steady and pacing yourself. A good author friend of mine said simply to stick at it and you will get there within five years. I wish you every bit of success going forward. My best wishes. Jason

      • I appreciate your encouragement–I believe that falls into the “Feedback” section of the goal setting process! Five years? I’m good with that! Best of luck to you as well, Jason!

  2. Great article Cass, you really do put a lot of work into your eBooks, well done! One of these days I’ll have to read and review it for you 🙂 I actually work in Marketing too, and really enjoy it. It’s a skill that not everyone has and can definitely help with the day to day.

  3. Wow, thanks for this article. Very cool and inspirational too. I’ve been following the blog for a while, but I am going make an effort to stop on by more often.

  4. Pingback: Page not found | C Giovanni Writes

  5. Pingback: Marketing Plan Creation (Part 1): Defining Objectives | C Giovanni Writes

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