6 Book Marketing Goals You Might Find Surprising!

One of the exercises I address in my latest book for aspiring authors handles goals-setting. As time ticked on and people shared their opinions about my success or lack of success, I grew more aware of how important setting goals for myself was. They’re really your only true measure of success.

When you’re publishing a book, you’re also putting a little bit of yourself “out there”. That can be a scary prospect, especially when you have an active inner critic. People will come forward and tell you what they think you should do with your project. They’ll also be telling you why they think what you’re doing works or doesn’t. While their tips may be well-intentioned, much of it won’t resonate with the goals you set for yourself. Please try and remember that–so you don’t let your inner critic get fueled up for an “I told you so!”.

Six Book Marketing Goals that may surprise you

A person I’ve worked with once told me that the best way to share is to show. It might be helpful for me to tell you what my own goals were for self-publishing:

  • GOAL ONE: To one day work for myself as an indie author and a freelancer. As some of you may know, I hold a full-time day job with a nearly three-hour daily commute. I also freelance in the evenings and over the weekends. You may already know that freelance work can be irregular with an irregular cash flow. Holding a steady full-time job for now is necessary for me — but it doesn’t mean I can’t write a book about what I know and share it with people (some of whom may even become prospective clients). This segues nicely into my next goal.
  • GOAL TWO: To create a business card for myself. I have been in marketing communications for several years across a range of sectors and fields. I knew that developing a marketing strategy for my WIP (work in progress) would include a sequence of steps to point me in the direction of what my message and talking points would be, so I wouldn’t run out of ideas for my blog, Twitter account and building my indie author business!
  • GOAL THREE: To be a published author. This sounds silly, I know, but it was important to me to officially have a book on the market, so I could check “get published” off my bucket list and put my inner critic to rest! “The Aspiring Author’s Guide: Write Your Marketing Strategy” was low-hanging fruit for me in that I felt comfortable enough with its content to get it out the door. (I knew that drafting and editing my fiction would take more time, so I put that work on the back-burner.)

Have a practice run.

  • GOAL FOUR: To share the knowledge. One of the biggest traps I see a lot of people fall into when it comes to marketing is biting off more tactics than they can realistically chew. New applications and social media make marketing look easy, but there’s planning and a lot of work involved.

A strategy is an overarching guideline to help you in your approach to meeting your goal. For instance, if you’re in New York and your goal is to get to Hollywood, your strategy is to travel west. Your strategy is not to hitchhike, take a train and a plane and a bus. Those are tactics. Your tactics may be to apply all four means of getting there, but it could just as easily be one. Your situation and circumstances usually define what works best for you.

Developing a marketing strategy can help people see the bigger picture and take a leaner, less “busy” approach to implementing a regular drumbeat of “noise” for one’s product.

So, it just so happened that I had a really good idea of what I wanted to convey in my book and I managed to produce it quickly enough to meet my other above goals.

  • GOAL FIVE: To have a “practice run”. This relates loosely to “be a published author”. Because I had never actually published an ebook, I had no idea whether the timelines I was setting for myself were even realistic. I didn’t know how long it would take me to edit 60-plus pages of my own work, I didn’t even know how long it would take for someone else to do so. I also didn’t know a ton of things surrounding the beloved book-marketing behemoth, Amazon. (More on that in another blog post!)
  • GOAL SIX: To build an author platform with other authors, creatives and readers. Community-building is important to me, because it bolsters my own creativity and helps me keep motivated in keeping my blog going, my novel alive, and also my non-fiction growing. I am in frequent dialogue with my audience via email — and, no, we don’t always chat about marketing.

Goals-setting helped me see the bigger picture

A couple people recently expressed to me their main fear about publishing their debut books: that people are going to criticize it, or them. Well, I’ll share with you a little anecdote.

A few weeks after I had published my own book, I received a long email from a reader who enjoyed my book but noted that it ranked dismally low in Amazon. The person then wondered how I expected to sell any books with such a low ranking. Good question! How, indeed?

I’m not going to lie and tell you I didn’t feel like a failure upon reading this person’s observations. But the marketing communications person in me did the one thing she knew best: I returned to my marketing strategy and looked over my goals. What I found amazed me!

Set clear goals and see the bigger picture | LivinginCyn.com

Absolutely nowhere in my goals is “selling” books listed.

Selling books was an objective — or a measure — of a greater goal, but it was not why I set out to publish Write Your Marketing Strategy or even to write books. Ultimately, I set out to publish because I wanted to establish credibility for myself as an author and to support my plan to work for myself. Sure, selling books would be nice — but at $0.99 or $6.99 a book, I would still have to sell beaucoup books every month to pay the rent! (I think that’s pretty unrealistic (for me) with only one book/product in my sales portfolio!)

Setting the right goals helps put you in the right direction

To continue with my little anecdote… another couple weeks after the above-mentioned email, I received a completely unsolicited email from someone who was looking for someone who could conduct market research and then write a consumer report quickly and correctly!

She found me through social media. But thanks to my book, which she saw on my blog, I had practically scored the job before replying “Yes” to her email. Also, the earnings from that project represented way more than the revenue I would have projected for myself in the first year of sales.

Basically, the publication of that book is supporting my larger goal of building a writing business for myself.

6 Book Marketing Goals that may surprise you! by Cynthia T. Luna | LivinginCyn.comHow about you and your goals as a writer?

Why did you set out to write a book? What do your goals look like? Do your goals keep you motivated to keep writing?

Scroll down and let us know what your goals are/were for being a writer!

Top Three Signs My Inner Critic Wants Me to Be Scared

The following is a blog post I wrote in October 2011. At the time, the words seemed to resonate with the readers of my old, now-abandoned, WordPress.com blog. Obviously, a few things have changed since those days, while other things haven’t changed at all. For starters, I didn’t get the oh-so-perfect job mentioned below — but I did end up getting a job in Switzerland. And I ended up moving here, the inner critic and other dreams and desires in tow!

Well, I did it. I went ahead and ignored my Inner Critic. Boy, was it tough.

I applied for a job in Switzerland. This was a job that practically had my name all over it. When I saw it, my heart started racing, and I got all excited. And then, it started to burst the little bubbles of excitement one by one.

“You know they’ll never consider you. You own a restaurant, now. You wait tables. Why would they want a server for a marketing communications person?”

Don’t Silence Your Cheerleader, Silence your Inner Critic!

Just like that, elation turned to deflation.

He’s so sneaky. He knows all the right buttons to push. (And, yes, I know he’s a he. For other people, the Inner Critic can be a woman, like an abuela, who always knows what’s best for you; but for me, that voice is definitely male. (One day, I’ll look into that, but for now…))

I put the posting to the side and slipped on my sneakers and apron to go to work. But my heart couldn’t help nudging me to think about the job posting.

Yesterday, I just sort of said, “Eff it! I’m applying.” And I just sat down and started writing a cover letter, I looked through my CV, found some writing samples that I thought would be recent and relevant enough for the job. And he was there, every step of the way. Like an anti-cheerleader, he tried to use all the tricks. Here are his top three messages:

  • 1) “Now don’t rush this!” He likes this one, because he knows I’m a perfectionist. (When, I’m rushed, I slow down to make sure I don’t make silly errors.) He’ll make me look at my watch and gauge how much time until I have to do x,y, z… He’s really good at this.

For instance, yesterday, I had two hours to draft a cover letter and get my materials together. He was right there with, “That’s not nearly enough time. Remember, it takes about 15 minutes to get to work, another 15 minutes to shower and dress. In fact, you have less than 90 minutes! And now look, you need to search through your files to find a document! The last thing you want is to send your application out with a typo!”

So, I reasoned with him that I would just pull everything together, I wouldn’t have to submit it until later. (Trust me, I knew I was already sort of falling into his trap. Because once I push off the job, I may just end up putting it off indefinitely and missing my window.) That’s when the next message came through. (I can tell it’s his, because it’s contradictory but still effective.)

  • 2) “Well, if you procrastinate, you’ve just as well blown the whole thing already! Don’t even bother applying!” Can you believe it? I can. I tell you, my Inner Critic is tough! I continued being gentle with him and said, “Well, I’ll just pull these things together now, and then, I’ll review them again tomorrow. In fact, I might have a friend look over the documents overnight, so I have a second set of eyes…” That brought in the last clear indication that my I.C. was heading into panic-mode.
  • 3) “What do you need to bring her in for? She’ll tear your application to shreds. She’ll find so many things wrong with it, you’ll never get to send it in anyway!” Turns out that wasn’t the case, by the way. Her changes were minimal. Her suggestions were reasonable, constructive and useful. And when I looked at it again this morning, I ended up making more changes to the application anyway.
I learned that your “Outer Cheerleader”—the friends you can really count on for their honesty and trust for their sensitivity to your flaws and their love for your strengths—is one of the best weapons you have for confronting your Inner Critic

What’s amazing to me is how, when I write these messages down, and look at them. I can clearly see how flawed and desperate they are.

And yet, so many of us heed our Inner Critic and essentially live in fear.

I can also see that my Inner Critic wants me to be scared, because he is scared. I’m not really sure why or of what he is scared, but that shouldn’t be my problem, should it? And when I analyze some of the things he says to make me scared, they are actually quite silly, aren’t they? When I look back and think of all the times I completely ignored my I.C., or dragged him along, kicking and screaming, I only remember good things that came from it!

How about you? Do you remember a time you ignored your Inner Critic and are so glad you did?

#TWHS: Felipe Knows What Liz Needs (That’s What He Said Thursday)

Okay, so this time, I cheated a little. I picked a book I read in 2009, when I was dealing with a lot of baggage–including a divorce from three years earlier that I hadn’t yet processed, more than 9,000 miles of travel trying to flee the shockwaves of said divorce, and my apparent inability to love myself through it all.

As you can see from the title card, that book was Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love” which undoubtedly helped millions of women forgive and love themselves in spite of (and maybe even for) their so-called failures/imperfections.

Self-love, first = Wide Open Doorway to Loving Relationship.

What I love about this quote is that Felipe had a wonderful way of holding the mirror up to Liz during the time in her life when she needed to open her heart back up to love again. And, of course, I love this quote, because I agree with it (and I also identified with it, at a time when I was reeling from my own savage insecurities).

#TWHS: "You don't need a man, Liz. You need a champion." by Liz Gilbert, Eat Pray LoveTo me, “you need a champion” meant that Liz needed to take the initiative in defining what loving her meant, so that her partner (any partner) would know how to support that cause. It meant she needed to love herself first, so she could recognize love when delivered. (How could any woman not heart that?)

I’m a hopeless romantic, so these words resonated with me on a deep level and have remained with me ever since.

(As a side note, Gilbert has also recently released “Big Magic“. Several people have suggested I run-not-walk to the bookstore to get my copy, because I’m working loving my way through several projects that are pushing me beyond my comfort zone. Big Magic is next on my required reading list.)

#TWHS

There’s a meme going around in readers’ circles on Thursdays, called “That’s What He Said” or #TWHS for short. I found out about it a couple weeks ago, and participated last week for the first time. What I love about it, is that it makes reading, and sharing what you’re reading, social! So, I decided to commit to posting something weekly with a little bit of my own commentary.

How to Play (Join the Fun!)

The rules of participation are simple, and have been posted on Carianne’s  Cuppa ‘n Critiques:

Pick and “Post a favorite line from your book boyfriend to his heroine. These are direct quotes from dialogue in a book. It is not a physical description of a male protagonist or a paragraph of dialogue. It is a line spoken by our favorite heroes to their lucky ladies or guys!” ~Carianne

You can add add your favorite line in the comments below this post–or add a link to your own blog post in the comment below.

The Zen of Handling the Creativity Roller Coaster

The creativity roller coaster will put any writer to the test. Like anything that matters, it comes with its high highs and its low lows–because, ultimately, it’s an adventure. It’s a quest for understanding. Understanding the unknowns. Understanding self.

No one said writing or creativity would be easy. I think anyone who creates on a regular, and aware, basis tends to forget this, because the highs are so imbued with a sense of purpose and realism (“this right here is what it’s all about!”) that the lows come as a walloping surprise (“I had no idea I can create crap so bad!”). Creativity is a double-edged sword it seems. You make the good, the bad and woefully ugly.

Uninvited guests, such as my inner critic and other gremlins, will pop up at the most inopportune times–like when I am about to round another corner on my edits, have a telephone interview or click the “publish” button on my blog. They are the same villain wearing different hats, whose mission it is to obscure the one constant in this Universe: Love.

Roller Coaster of Creativity: "The only way I can bring myself to move forward is by recognizing the light within, celebrating the love that is, and just plain doing something doable." Cynthia T. Luna | LivinginCyn.com

“I need to love myself through this.”

While it doesn’t pull me down into the depths of the murky unknown, self-doubt is the gremlin that keeps me there, clouds my vision, questions my courage and strongholds my stamina. It weighs down any sense of determination to put one foot in front of the other in my pilgrimage to unknown experiences, unknown heights, unknown worlds.

The only way I can bring myself to move forward is by recognizing the light within, celebrating the love that is (even a small celebration, like admiring in the mirror the light sparkling off a barrette you put in your hair that morning), and just plain doing something doable.

Creativity Roller Coaster

Maybe it’s talking to a friend. “I need to love myself through this,” I said to a friend on a Skype call, a few days ago. I said the words, but I wasn’t really sure how that was going to play itself out–after all, I had only, just seconds before uttering the words, conjured the plan. That was probably the light within talking.

Embrace the creativity roller coaster.

On Facebook the other day, I mentioned that the whole thing is very much like a roller coaster ride. One of my friends wrote back and suggested I figure out how to enjoy this roller coaster ride, replete with surges, swoops and loop-de-loops. This angel continued to note that she has sticky notes around her house reminding her that she “signed up for adventure”.

And that’s when it hit me. I really did sign up for adventure. I can remember how my mother could barely keep me contained in the house on the weekends or over the summer. There was a world to see–and I was on a mission to live in it! In my life, I have learned languages and traveled, quit jobs and started up businesses, loved, eloped and moved across borders. All to live a life of experiences and adventures!

Creativity Roller Coaster: You made your roller coaster. Ride it like it wants to be ridden. Cynthia T. Luna | LivinginCyn.com

Love was there every step of the way–a shining light no matter how dark how murky, how impossible the moment seems–there was always a glimmer of love.

So this is that moment. The moment where I have to use my own writing, my own craft, my own words to tough-love my way through this!

You made your roller coaster–now, ride it like it wants to be ridden! Take your hands off the bar in front of you, throw them up in the air and scream your lungs out until there’s no scream left and only laughter.

Creativity roller coaster: Throw your hands up in the air and scream until there's no scream left -- only laughter. Cynthia T. Luna | LivinginCyn.com

Adventure is what I signed up for.

In fact, every day I wake up, I rejoice to see the light of day, and I thrill at the excitements in store for me. Now it’s time to get it on paper. But first, let me get my hands on some sticky notes!

 

Want to be creative? It’s time you’ve met your Inner Critic

Doing anything (even mildly) creative, like doodling hearts, stars and spirals in the margins of your notebook during Monday morning meetings, can be enough to lend a voice to your inner critic. As a writer, I definitely end up sitting next to mine during my daily commute from Quotidian to Creativeville — and I’ll find myself wondering when he’ll step off the damn bus already. Well, he probably won’t — unless he gets over me.

I realized at some point, if I was ever going to get around to writing anything, I was going to have to figure out how I was going to manage this disruptor on my team. I decided I would take a writer’s approach and develop a deeper understanding of who this guy is, what makes him tick, and how I can leverage his strengths to my advantage. The novelist in me decided to draw up a character sheet on him.

C.Y.N. Design Your Life, Creativity Hacks LivinginCyn

Let’s practice drawing up a Character Sheet, shall we?

My character sheets usually begin with a physical description and quickly evolve into them dialoguing with me (the writer) and/or the other characters in my story. (Unfortunately, today, it’s personal.)

My Inner Critic happens to be a small man. He looks like a gnome or a dwarf, and he gets around, bitching about the rate of inflation and the government’s trespasses on our privacy (… don’t get him started on the internet!). He’s definitely urban and grumpy, and he likes to think he’s been around the world a few times. He’s actually pretty smart — street-smart, in an annoyingly “I told you so” sort of way, which means very little gets past him, because he’s always coming back to make his audit.

I try to remind him, “You wouldn’t be so experienced, smart and well-traveled if I didn’t bring you along with me on all my journeys. Sit back, let me do, and if I need your help–”

This is where he’ll interrupt me and try to tell me the word I want to use is “when [I need his help]”.

Okay, sure, “—when I need your help, I’ll ask you for help, okay?”

The guy is no morning person. He’s a regular grump. He doesn’t appreciate that I get up so early in the morning to try to avoid him — it just makes him have to get up earlier and skip his coffee.

Great — my inner critic needs coffee too.

He’ll sit back and fold his arms over his chest and just watch me, one eyebrow raised.

“While I’m at it, can you turn around please?” I’ll ask him, so I can at least flub without him breathing down my neck. “Don’t worry, I’ll call on you when I need your help,”

“Fine. I’ll go where my assistance is appreciated,” he’ll say in a huff. But I know he’ll be back. He always comes back.

I don’t have this confrontation nearly enough. I should make it more of a habit, a ritual, until I get around to doing the things I want to do more.

C.Y.N. Design Your Life Creativity Hacks by Cynthia T. Luna LivinginCynHave you met your inner critic? How would your inner critic’s character sheet read? Feel free to post your comments and thoughts. You probably have a more structured approach to Character Sheets, let me know!