Welcome to the New Year, BookBub Partners! Last year was an exciting one for us here at BookBub, thanks in large part to the fantastic books many of you featured with us. But we have big plans for the year ahead, too. While we were thinking about our own resolutions for 2015, we asked some of our author partners about theirs. Below, we’ve collected 8 great areas for any author to focus on this year.
1. Set measurable goals
Once you know exactly what you want out of the year, it’s a lot easier to tackle those goals. So start by making a list of your top priorities for the next 12 months. Do you want to focus on selling your backlist or growing your newsletter subscribers? Do you want to land an agent or self-publish your first book?
Make sure your goals are measurable, too. “Increase sales” isn’t very specific, while “sell 10,000 books” is something you can use to track your success over the course of the year. Being an author can feel overwhelming, but narrowing down and specifying your aspirations will help you prioritize and focus on what matters most.
2. Stick to a realistic schedule
Determine when you do your best writing: maybe it’s early in the morning or with your afternoon coffee or late at night after the world’s gone to bed. Declare that as your writing time, build it into your daily schedule, and keep it sacred.
Make sure to pick a time each day to work on secondary goals as well. We’ll talk about setting these goals in the next point, but scheduling time for answering emails, responding to readers, social media, networking, etc. will turn these important tasks into habits. Plus, tackling them daily helps keep everything manageable.
3. Market your work
At least a few of the goals you set in Resolution #1 should fall into that secondary, “non-writing” bucket that will help you actually sell your books. Make these tough but achievable, and ensure they’re measurable.
For example, if you’re planning a new release this year, reach out to 5 book bloggers and ask if they’d be interested in reviewing your book. Band together with fellow authors in your genre and organize blog tours, giveaways, and twitter parties to boost each other’s audiences. Try a price promotion and submit your deal to BookBub!
There are endless ways to market your books. Take this year to make a list of a few you want to try and use the time you set aside each day for non-writing goals to tackle them strategically.
4. Participate in social media
For many writers, blogging, tweeting, pinning, and instagramming are the most terrifying parts of being an author. But social media doesn’t have to be hard and it can be hugely beneficial. Go back to resolution #1 and start small: decide exactly where you want to focus this year. Do you want to aim for one tweet each day? A blog post every week? 1,000 Facebook fans? Opening a Pinterest account?
Start 2015 off on the right social media foot by checking these quick tips off your list. Then figure out where you are and what goals will help you get to the next level.
- Follow other writers and industry figures in your genre.
- Make a list of hashtags they use to incorporate into future tweets.
- Join a group devoted to writers in your genre.
- Friend any fellow authors and industry figures you haven’t yet connected with.
- Make sure your website is up to date and professional (and keep it that way).
- Make sure links to retailers are easy to find.
Networking is a skill professionals in virtually every industry need — even writing! Many people view writing as a solitary activity, but it can take a village to create a book. By connecting with other authors you like and respect, you’ll be able to use your contacts to find great agents, editors, cover designers, critique partners, and more. So set a goal to connect with 1 or 5 or 10 new people each week — through writers groups, conferences, social media, etc. — and by the end of the year you’ll find your network has expanded exponentially.
6. Present yourself professionally
Don’t judge a book by its cover is an oft-quoted and routinely ignored piece of good advice for book buyers. Readers do judge books by their covers, and also by their descriptions, for that matter. Use the new year to take a fresh look at both and make sure they are professional and enticing.
If you haven’t already, declare 2015 the year you’ll hire a professional to create your book cover or buy a pre-made cover design. Also objectively review your book description. If you think it could be better, hire a publicist to write the copy.
7. Write every day
Remember that you’re in this because you love to write. A new book is the best way to sell more books, and it’s what you really want to be doing. Write when you want to write, write when you’re stuck, write when you should be sleeping (don’t forget to sleep though). It doesn’t have to be a thousand words a day; it just has to be something.
8. Take time for yourself
This is the most important resolution you’ll make this year. Remember that you’re a writer, not a machine. Take breaks. Drink some wine. Go out with your friends. And when you hit your milestones — when you publish your book, when you see your new cover, when you achieve a secondary goal — celebrate! Don’t spend the night staring at your sales rankings on Amazon. Go see a movie. Eat some cake. Pour a glass of champagne. You deserve it.
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