Simply deciding to self-publish a book is a necessary first step in becoming an author. Moving in the direction of actually getting the manuscript written, book production accomplished, developing a distribution and marketing plan and finally getting the book sold and making money is another issue all together. Each of these stages requires a great deal of work and at any point in the process the author may despair and give up. Using a well defined set of goals aides greatly in the process of motivating an author to finish these tasks AND doing a good job in a timely manner.
Years of experience as a coach have taught me the great value of appropriate use of goals. While setting goals is not rocket science, it is not as simple as saying I have a goal to self-publish a book. There is more to it. What follows are ten simple guidelines for authors to use in setting goals to aid in the goal setting process.
Ten Goal Setting Guidelines for Self-publishing Authors
1) Set Challenging but Realistic Goals
Goals that too easy are not motivating and will cause the individual to lose interest. Goals that are unrealistic will have the same effect. Find the balance between the two types and the goals will be powerful motivators to achieve the desired outcome or performance.
2) Goals Must be Specific and Focused
Broad general goals have little to no impact. Set very specific goals that are focused on a single objective, skill or task.
3) Goals Must be Measurable
Goals that cannot be measured are goals that cannot motivate. How can you tell if you have achieved the goal or are making progress towards the goal unless it is measurable?
4) Goals Must be Written
Write your goals down. Post the goals somewhere prominent where they can be seen. Review the written goals. There is something about the act of writing goals down and seeing the goals that makes them more real and important.
5) Effective Goals Have a Deadline
Set a realistic deadline. This provides a sense of urgency to accomplish the tasks necessary to achieve the goal.
6) Effective Goals are Flexible
Things happen. Sometimes goals, deadlines or the focus of a goal need to be changed. It is not the end of the world. Be willing to be adaptable and flexible.
7) Effective Goal Setting Utilizes a Series of Smaller, Sequential Goals Progressing Towards the Ultimate Goal
Finishing a book and getting it to market is a big goal. It is so big and so distant it can seem unachievable. To prevent becoming discouraged, and to truly use goals effectively, set intermediate goals that lead to the achievement of the ultimate goal. Set a goal of a specific number of pages a day to be written, a goal to have the marketing plan finished by a specific date or to set up your Kindle publishing account or POD service account. All of these are steps in the process of ultimately seeing your book in print and in the hands of your readers.
8) Effective Goals are Performance Oriented
Outcome goals are important. But failure to achieve an outcome goal can crush the dream. Performance goals are more helpful and provide guidance in the process of performing the tasks required to achieve the ultimate outcome goal.
9) You Must Determine Your Own Goals
You have to set your own goals. Goals established for you by someone else do not have the same meaning or motivation.
10) Effective Use of Goals Requires Evaluation and Follow-up
Once you have succeeded, or sadly failed, in achieving your goal, effective goal setting requires evaluation and follow-up. Which goals worked and which failed? Why? Follow-up on everything you learn in this stage of the process. The information obtained will be valuable for the next project.