Michelle Isenhoff

Setting Goals

For self-published authors, setting goals is tremendously beneficial.  As writer, publisher and marketer, we have a lot to do. For me, written goals help me lay out my overall purpose, they establish baby steps to see that I get there, they help me prioritize, and they keep me accountable.
Rather than talk this topic to death, however, I’m simply going to write out a sampling of my goals from 2011 and my goals for March 2012. I think this will suffice to illustrate how they helped me dive into an unfamiliar new career and how they continue to keep me on track. If you find them extremely dull, skip ‘em, and I promise my point will be waiting again somewhere near the end.  🙂
My 2011 Goals

  • Give my all-over-the-board blog a specific children’s literature direction.
  • Research how to publish on Kindle and Smashwords.
  • Become familiar with different ereaders and the file formats associated with them.
  • Evaluate pricing and royalty options.
  • Set up an author website.
  • Figure out how to get my paperbacks on Amazon.
  • Rewrite and publish The Quill Pen.
  • Read and review LOTS of kids books.
  • Learn how to create a book trailer.

In the beginning, I was hopelessly overwhelmed. I kept discovering and listing all these new things I had to do and learn. I had very broad goals that included a lot of experimentation and education. This year my goals are much more specific. I’m still learning and trying lot of new things, but I have a better understanding of the direction I want to take and the ways to get there. At the beginning of the year I wrote out several broad goals I wanted to meet.  Now each month I pick a few things from the pile and break my objectives into more manageable tasks.  They keep me moving forward.
March 2012 Goals

  • Finish Slashings manuscript and begin rewrites.
  • Procure a professional editor for finished manuscript.
  • Prepare a Beneath the Slashings query for reviewers. Query in March and April.
  • Edit and publish lesson plans for The Quill Pen in paperback and digital formats.
  • Read and review four books to post on my blog in April.
  • Become more proficient with imaging software.  Create a new Quill Pen cover.
  • Finish and implement blog makeover.
  • Try Kindle select with Candle Star.

My Point
Okay, I promised a point after all this. Here it is: Self-publishing and self-marketing involve way more time and effort than I ever dreamed they would. They encompass my blogs, social media, interaction with others of the same interests, my reading choices, my writing decisions, my self-education, the list goes on and on. Setting goals has aided me tremendously by helping me define what I most want to accomplish and then breaking those objectives into bite-size pieces. If you are a writer, I’d encourage you to take a few minutes and pinpoint exactly what it is you want to achieve. Only then can you set a course to get there.
If you aren’t tired of reading this post yet, here’s a few of my broad objectives remaining for 2012:

  • Look into itunes, podcasts and audio books.
  • Rewrite Song of the Mountain. Publish in fall/winter.
  • Organize August book launch and blog tour.
  • Create a plot outline for new five-book series idea.
Setting Goals

4 thoughts on “Setting Goals

    1. Great question, Erik! There are a couple different kinds of editors, but basically an editor will help you get the most out of your story line and/or make sure your finished product is error free. I’d say a professional editor is someone who does this for a living. And, yes, every author should have some kind of editing done on their manuscript. But many fellow writers understand the correct use of punctuation and grammar and have a good feel for the flow of a story, so they can also act as an “unprofessional” editor for someone else’s work.
      Because my first four manuscripts were read by so many of these “unprofessional” editors and went through years of drafts, I chose not to hire anyone professionally. I felt my books already had that kind of refining service performed on them (although many typos still slipped through). This time around, however, I chose to hire a professional editor to help me with story content, because my new manuscript hasn’t been through as many readers or drafts. When she’s done, I’ll be counting on many more reviewers (like you!) to act as proofreaders and help catch those final typos before it goes to press.
      If you need an editor for Tomato and Pea, I’ll gladly volunteer!

      1. Thank you for answering my question Mrs. Isenhoff! AND thank you for offering to read Tomato and Pea (again) 😉 I am planning to rewrite Tomato and Pea (to make it work without illustrations) when school gets out. I hope to have it done by mid-summer (or at least it’s my goal) 🙂

  1. Lol, it’s good to have goals. 😉
    Say, I just downloaded Jack’s book off her blog. Haven’t started reading it yet, but I’m excited to start. Kid authors are awesome!

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