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An update on my author goals

Image of scrabble squares spelling out focus on your goals.
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It isn’t always enough to set goals at the start of the year and keep doing the activities designed to reach them. Goals have to be revisited frequently to see if the activities are working. Or if the goals themselves are even right anymore.

This year, there have been a few changes in my author life. This means it’s time to revisit my author goals.

Writing

An author’s primary goal each year is generally to do lots of writing, resulting in the completion of at least one book. Of course, this is very much dependent on what else is going on in their lives. 

Last year was an incredibly noisy year here, with work on the house opposite going on for ten months. This year has been much quieter and I had hoped to get a lot more work done. But peri-menopause has hit me. Some days I can barely think at all. And my memory is terrible now. I forget everything about my characters, from their names to how they ended up in the current scene. My son has also had a lot of ill health (an after-effect of Covid). And that combination of problems has thrown my writing significantly off-track.

All that said, my primary goal is still writing! So I need to work around our health issues and prioritise writing whenever possible. Even if that’s a little bit here and there, instead of keeping to strict writing hours.

Reviews

The best marketing tool for authors is getting book reviews. Having had little success with this last year, I’ve tried some different things to get reviews this year. And once again, none of my efforts has been particularly successful. 

To make matters worse, I’ve recently learned that going to my book pages on Amazon to check the number of reviews is harmful. Apparently it tells the algorithm that my books are duds – lots of visits plus no sales equals bad book. So I won’t be doing that anymore. 

I may just have to accept that I can’t do anything more to get reviews. And focus instead on activities I can actually make happen. I can look at this again when I have a new book as that seems to be the easiest time to get book reviews.

Finding new readers

I was really close to meeting my audience building goals this year. And then Elon Musk took over Twitter, and many of my followers left the platform. So I’ve been thinking about what I can do to keep finding new readers. I’m going to be posting a literary advent calendar on Instagram this December. I’m quite excited about this idea. If you’re interested, you can find me on Instagram here.

Facebook continues to be my social media nemesis. The key seems to be posting daily which I don’t have time to do. I will retain a presence on Facebook but building my audience there remains ‘on the back burner’.

I’ve also struggled to keep on top of writing reviews of books I’ve read this year. But that’s a good way to attract new followers on sites like Bookbub and Goodreads. So that’s now a goal for this month.

Cutting out things that don’t work

Sticking to a writing schedule is something a lot of trainers and coaches encourage. And normally I’m a fan of schedules and routines. But our health issues mean I’m often not able to pay attention at the times I’m scheduled to.

For the remainder of this year, I’ll be writing when I can reach a state of deep focus. And doing other things when I can’t focus well. If that means the balance of writing and marketing isn’t what I was aiming for, that’s OK. After all, any progress is better than no progress.

Ramping up things that do work

Launching a new book is absolutely the best way to make progress in an author career. I’ve not written enough this year, and the result is that I haven’t published anything. I considered reducing the time I spend on this blog to get nearer to that goal. But I’m so close to my blog follower goal for the year – and so far from my book completion goal – I’ve decided to revisit that one in next year’s goals instead. For this month, I will be trying to get in some writing every day my brain is working in some capacity.

Something that has worked for me this year is offering one of my ebooks free for a short period. Offering a book for free is supposed to help get more reviews. That hasn’t really happened for my books. What has happened is that a small number of people have chosen to thank me for their free book by buying another book. Isn’t that lovely? 

The result is that this has been my most successful marketing activity this year. So I’ll be cramming in one more free ebook promotion in 2022. The Lost Castle kindle edition will be free on Amazon from 27 – 31 December. If you find yourself looking for something to read over the festive break, please give it a go.

Advertising has been reasonably successful this year. As I still only have a small number of books published, it currently costs more to advertise than I earn back in sales. This can be ramped up once there is another book available. I’ll pick this up in next year’s goals.

So that’s where I am with my goals. Have you had to adjust any of your goals this year?

Enjoyed this post?

You might also like: The Year of Magical Creatures.

Why not check out my travel mystery series on Amazon. Or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads or Bookbub.

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