I love goals. I love them so much I actually have a goal book, like a journal, where I keep all of my goals. I’m actually kind of addicted. And like every author out there, I want to sell more books.
But creating goals that actually contribute to efforts to sell more books is much more complex than most authors realize, luckily I can break it down for you, and I know it will change your approach to book promotion in the process.
One thing is very clear: anything you do around goal setting has to be insanely specific.
All goal-setting books will tell you that that big picture, nebulous goals, like “I want to sell more books,” won’t help you reach the finish line.
When I speak to authors on the phone, or in person at conferences, I always ask them what their goals are.
Sometimes I get super specific answers, but in most cases authors say: “I want to sell more books!” And while “selling books” isn’t a bad goal, per se, it’s a big picture goal. And that won’t get you to where you need to be.
If you have no direction other than “book sales” you’ll often make bad decisions, spend money you shouldn’t on strategies that aren’t improving your discoverability, and end up nowhere near the final, end goal of selling more books. Because the end goal is achieved through an aggregate of hundreds, maybe thousands of individual book promotion elements that result in more book sales.
Creating the Path to Book Sales Success
Let’s break this down and start creating a path to success. For example, let’s say you have a fiction book, a mystery. It’s got a great cover, the reviews have been good thus far, but it’s not really moving the needle on book sales. So, what can you do? Well, let’s take a look at this more closely.
End goal: BOOK SALES
A lot of times, I’ll look at other pieces that maybe the author hasn’t been doing. Let’s say that there hasn’t been an eBook promotion in a while. Since his market is very eBook centric, that’s maybe a good place to start. So, let’s add eBook promo to the list. Now we have:
eBook Promo = Sell More Books
Ok, so what else can the author do? Well, maybe they haven’t started building their mailing list yet, so let’s add that to the list.
Mailing list > eBook Promo = Sell More Books
But that’s really not enough. Is the author on Goodreads? If not, let’s plug that in. And while we’re at it, maybe he should do a giveaway there, too!
Goodreads > Mailing List > eBook Promo = Sell More Books
Getting the idea?
So each bigger goal, is combination of a series of smaller goals that lead you to bigger sales or whatever is it you’re trying to obtain.
End goal: SPEAKING EVENTS
Let’s say that you don’t care about book sales, but you really wrote your book to get more speaking events. What would that look like for you?
Using Speaking Events as your big picture goal, what does it take to book these? Well, you need some experience. So let’s start with maybe some smaller gigs, around town, bookstores or wherever is most appropriate to your book. Chamber of Commerce meetings perhaps? You get the idea:
Local Events = Big Awesome Speaking Gigs
But local events in and of themselves aren’t going to land you a big keynote speech. You’ll need more for that. What about a speaker one sheet? If you don’t have one, it’s a page all about you, your speaker topics, and bio. Ideally, it will include blurbs from people who have heard you speak and who were in awe of your topic and delivery. So then we have:
Speaker One Sheet > Local Events = Big Awesome Speaking Gigs
But what if you need experience beyond the local events? Have you ever spoken in public before? If not, you can attend a local Toastmasters group. You don’t have to go to a ton of them, but enough to get your sea legs might be helpful. Which would make your new action list look like this:
Toastmasters > Speaker One Sheet > Local Events = Big Awesome Speaking Gigs
Identifying Your Goals
Running through the process in this article is one thing, but coming up with it on your own is an entirely different matter. Believe me, I appreciate how difficult this can be.
More Social engagement
Well first you need to read up on what that requires, it changes all the time. I encourage you to visit the “for business” resources for the social media platforms you want to focus on. So “Instagram for Business” or “Facebook for Business” are great examples. Not only are you guaranteed to get the most up-to-date information on using the platform and all the feature, I guarantee you’ll learn a lot about what works best in the process.
Platform research = More Social Engagement
Social is also about networking. By keeping an eye on your competition, you’ll learn a lot about what’s working for them. Plus, you can foster relationships for shared exposure. You’ll also want to figure out who you need to be following and networking with.
Networking research > Platform research = More Social Engagement
But research does nothing without some sort of structure to execute everything you’ve learned. So I suggest starting with our Monthly Book Marketing Planner to establish a recurring plan of action. It’s free and available in the Resources and Free Downloads section at the end of this piece.
Establish a recurring action plan > Networking research > Platform research = More Social Engagement
But a plan needs details.
So take what you learned during your research. It might be asking more specific questions, getting feedback and opinions, doing polls, posting more video, etc.
Decide exactly what you’re going to do. Work on some videos, outline your polls and some great questions, wherever you need to put the time in. Then, put it all in a bank you can continually feed so you’re never left staring blankly at your computer wondering what to post.
Create some advance content > Establish a recurring action plan > Networking research > Platform research = More Social Engagement
Now You’re Ready to Roll
So now you have an idea of how to create a list, or a pathway, for your goals. And you should have a better idea of what you need to get to your final, big and awesome goal like selling more books.
That’s the point of this whole exercise.
You really need to break down the specific things you need to do, or the pieces that are missing from your promotion, before you spend any money on book marketing.
Because you can waste a lot of money doing things that won’t necessarily help you gain more readers, or sell more books or whatever your big picture goal entails.
Also, breaking big goals into small, manageable pieces makes it incrementally easier to manage on a day-to-day basis. And, if you’re hiring out your marketing, it’s also easier to know what you need, specifically. That way you aren’t spending money on a bunch of things that may or may not get you to where you need to be.
Resources and Free Downloads
Does Your Book Need a Book Cover Makeover?
Proven Strategies for Upping Your Book Reviews Game
5 Reasons Goodreads is a Book Marketing Staple
How to Master In-Person Book Events