How to Create Author and Publishing Goals by Judith Briles

Moving Beyond Wishes … It’s About Author and Publishing Goals

Everyone knows someone who starts a sentence with “I wish…” I wish I had a better job … I wish I made more money … I wish I could lose 20 pounds … I wish I could go on vacation … I wish I had a bigger home … I wish I had a new car … I wish … my book was a bestseller … I wish … I wish …

For authors, there’s nothing wrong with wishing, or dreaming. What is wrong is when road blocks are created from all the talk (or thoughts) and zero action to start converting the “wish” or “dream” to action.

Wishing only leads to frustration, sabotaging your dreams, your goals. It needs more.

To transition from wishing to success, you need some necessary ingredients. Wishing for a better job or more pay can be construed as the first step, but only if you add factors that will get you to the desired goal.

You Can’t Be Vague
Goals aren’t attainable unless they are specific.
Start with how you verbalize, write or phrase your goal. If you say or think, “I want to be on the USA Today Bestseller list,” it’s not enough. What’s your plan on getting there? What are you doing in marketing, right now to benchmark forward movement? Do have an idea of how many books need to be sold? 

Being specific will move you in that direction.

Move it from your mind to paper… or your computer. Don’t just talk about it. Print it out and post it in a place that you routinely see. Writing it out may just be the nudge you need to keep your on track.

Goals Need To Be Measured
When you say you want to publish a book; sell more books; win book awards; or be on a bestseller list, it’s not enough to just say it. You need more.

It’s common to say, “I’m going to increase my book sales from last year.” It’s more effective to say, “I want to increase the number of books I sold by 50%,” or “I want to up my total sales to double by year end from last year.”

Goal setting requires checkpoints, or mini goals. That way, you know that you are making progress. It’s also important to understand that they will be plateaus at some time—you may feel stuck.

In obtaining mastery of any type, there will be times that you skyrocket toward your goal; times you may stagnant and times that you may actually experience a decline before you begin to accelerate again.

You Have To Take Action
Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there,” and Abraham Lincoln wrote, “People are just about as happy as they want to be.” You can’t move toward any goal without movement on your part. Action speaks; talking about it rarely pushes you forward.

Goals Need To Be Practical, Pertinent and Positive
Let’s say that you dream of winning the Gold medal in the Olympics in swimming and you are close to 40 years old. Today, at best, you are a mediocre swimmer and not in prime physical shape.

You could embark upon a stringent training program encompassing hours daily, become a good swimmer and tone your body up. With all the time spent learning how to swim, your work has taken a far second.

OK–face it, that goal isn’t practical—Olympian swimmers are not in their 40s and need to be in prime conditioning–it’s not an overnight endeavor. One of the grand things about authors is that we can write for many decades. Age isn’t a barrier. And the cool thing is that the more you write, you get better at it.

Goals should be a stretch, reachable with work on your part, but not a slam dunk or an impossible dream. Impractical and irrelevant undertakings are self-sabotaging. They act as de-motivating factors creating major distractions to true goals that will move your forward.

Instead of saying my goal is to start writing my next book. Try: my goal is to outline my next book; identify the top three tips I want readers to take away; and to identify what situations I’ve experienced or observed in others that would connect with those three tips. When I’ve got these items on paper (or in my computer), I get to binge for a solid day on a favorite program. Being more positive supports your game plan.

Goals Should Have Dates Attached To Them
If you don’t set a time frame to reach your goal, there is no pressure to complete it. If there isn’t a push, then it probably won’t happen. If goals are big, having mini-goals that enable you to mark them off your list (be it mental or on paper) shows movement toward completion.

If you find that you aren’t hitting your goals, then a reassessment needs to be done. Is the goal practical, attainable, does it need more time, can it be measured, is it too vague? Or is it merely a wish?


Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and author of 37 multi-award books. She’s guided over 1,000 authors in creating their books, earned in excess of $3,000,000 in speaking fees based on her books and gathered over $2,000,000 in onsite book sales at her speaking gigs. Her latest book, How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech flips a difficult topic into a simple and easily comprehensible plan. If you want to get into speaking, this is the guide that will be the game-changer to success.

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