How to Effectively Define Your Self-publishing and Book Marketing Goals

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self publishing and book marketing

Are you thinking of writing a book and publishing it yourself? Just like everything else you do in your life, you’re far more likely to succeed if you begin by determining exactly what you hope to achieve so you have goals to work towards. I’m happy to present the following advice from an expert in self-publishing and book marketing.


The world of self-publishing gives every writer the absolute freedom to do almost anything they want. Self-published authors call all the shots, from writing, designing, layout and format, production, distribution, to sales. With all of these responsibilities, it is important for every aspiring author to define the essence of the dream.

In this article, we will feature suggestions on how to effectively define your goals in self-publishing.

Goal Setting

The first step in setting goals is to seriously consider what you want to achieve in your self-publishing career. Defining these goals will give you an overall perspective, and will eventually shape all the other aspects, especially in decision making.

You can set your goals in three important categories:

  1. Writing Career – How many more books would you want to publish? Do you want to explore writing other genres? How do you want to improve your writing?
  2. Financial – How much do you want to earn from book sales? Are you willing to increase your investment? How much are you willing to risk/lose?
  3. Service – How do you want to impart knowledge to the world? How can you create a significant impact to the community or to the world through your writing? How can you be an example or an inspiration to the next generation?

Goal setting takes a lot of brainstorming. It takes time to identify, reflect, and consider which goals are actually needed. Don’t hesitate to run through and trim the ones that are not really important.

In defining goals, we take advantage of the commonly used framework S-M-A-R-T. But this time, we relate it to self-publishing.

Specific: Your goal must be well-defined. It should also be shared and understood with the people whom you are working with. Share your goal to your publicist, designer, editor, etc. In that way, all of you who are involved know what is expected, when it is expected, and how much is at risk. With specific and published goals, everyone who is involved can easily track progress.

Measurable: Identify and create checkpoints to monitor your progress. These are usually by the numbers. It can be time or money. For example, how many more chapters are needed to complete the book? How much time do you have until the scheduled book distribution? How much book sales are generated over three months?

Attainable: Your goal needs to be achievable. If you desire for great things, you also need to do great work. You can be ideal and realistic at the same time. Are the tasks doable? Did you allot the right amount of time? Did you work with the right persons?

Relevant: Everything should have essence. Avoid doing things that are related, you will only waste time. Relevance is the key. Even the little things can create the greatest impact.

Time-bound: Plot schedule or timeline. Make sure there is enough time to achieve each goal. Self-publishing is the kind of dream that you are supposed to have a deadline.

Prioritizing and Aligning Goals

Which goals are long- or short-term goals? Prioritizing and aligning goals is critical. Priorities can either lead the way or make you go astray. Ranking your priorities gives your writing career a direction. It important that you don’t lose track. Having the wrong priorities can lead to delays, opportunity loss, and a waste of time and resources.

Tracking Goals

Self-publishing is definitely a long journey. It can take years of monitoring and reviewing your progress. It is a best to constantly and continuously track your goals as time passes. Require yourself to review each progress of your goal. Evaluate whether there is a need to improve.

Self-publishing is art, but it is also business. It involves effort, time, and financial investment. Plunging into the self-publishing industry is a risk. Whatever you do, whether little or much, can lead to gain or loss.  Successful self-published authors did not depend on the stroke of luck. They reaped rewards not because they float through their career and just let things happen to them. They knew what they wanted to achieve, they planned and made it happen, and they required a deadline. Success in the field of publishing compromises defining goals, accomplishing objectives, and developing effective marketing strategies.

Photo courtesy of Keith Springer, used under a Creative Commons license

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BookWhirl is a self-publishing and online book marketing services provider that provides cost-efficient and practical solutions for the publishing and marketing needs of authors.

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