New Year’s Resolutions

And Book Publishing

 

It’s that New Year’s resolutions time of year – and I’m not sure about you, but my gym experience has changed dramatically over the past several weeks. Machines are full, parking is miserable and there a far fewer lockers to choose from. I know it’s going to happen every January but it still surprises me that every year HUNDREDS of people either join, or recommit to their gym experience. That leaves the rest of us regulars anxiously awaiting the mid-February drop off and looking forward to the day we can almost fully reclaim the gym in early March.

 

What does all of this have to do with book publishing? At the beginning of each year, we often work with our clients to identify their publishing goals for the year. This can include writing a new book, successfully launching a new book or working on the promotion of their backlist. All too often, however, I see authors and publishers start the year with a solid plan and a ton of enthusiasm….until early March. Just like the gym, authors and publishers find that working on their book is A LOT of work and the results can be slow to come in.

 

Here are 5 Ways to Make sure you’re still in the game long after your book publishing counterparts have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions:

 

Have a Month-by-Month Plan

Literally layout the 12 months of the year and list what you hope to accomplish during each month. This might include a word count goal for writers. It might include an actual publishing schedule (finished manuscript date, cover design, editorial work, printing and publication). In some cases it might be a 12-month sales and marketing plan with achievable goals for each month.

 

Set Achievable Goals

Just like you won’t lose 25 pounds in your first month back at the gym, you also won’t achieve all of your publishing goals in January. Setting goals that are impossible to meet just sets you up for failure. In the excitement of launching a new campaign, some folks can forget that they have a job, or a family, or a life. They pack their goals in to the first couple of months and then get frustrated when they can’t achieve them. A general rule of thumb is to estimate that you might accomplish 30 – 50% of what you have planned. Plan for that. Celebrate your success. If you inch in to next month’s activities, congratulations!

 

Holidays are Important

If you’re working on a book sales and marketing plan, think holidays. Is your book perfect for Mother’s Day? What about Dads and Grads season? A summer beach read? Take holidays in to consideration during your planning. You might have a great promo planned for March (just because it fits on your calendar) that may make more sense in May. The same goes for publishing. Can you move your pub date up (or back) to hook it around a holiday or season?

 

Budget for the full year

You will spend either time or money (or both) every month of the year. Set your budget accordingly. Also set your budget around bigger planned months. If you know you’re going to do a hard marketing push in October, budget for it in January. Plan on setting aside some dollars even on months where your goals are minimal. Yes, those are the months your printer will run out of ink and you need to buy paper in bulk!

 

Make it Fun

When you started the writing and publishing process, you did it for a reason. You were most likely excited about the book, your plans, and the future of the program. Somewhere along the way, you might find that you’ve lost sight of the fun and excitement of publishing a book. As one of your New Year’s resolutions, plan “fun days” in to your schedule. Reconnect with books at a local library. Plan a day at a writers conference. Play hooky and take your laptop to the park. Plan a quirky marketing event (lemonade stand anyone?)

 

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