If you are indie-publishing your first book, one of the most important early decisions you will make is about your ultimate goal for your book and writing career. Don’t take this lightly. I mean really think about it, stay up all night, go to your special soul-searching-deciding-place, or whatever you do to make the important decisions, because this one matters.
Listed below are the basic choices. As you go through these you may be wondering, can I change my mind later? Well, yes, of course you can. But if you live in Chicago and want to go to New York, but you start out heading for California, it will take more time energy and money to get you where you want to go. You know what I mean?
Sample Goals For Your Writing
- I want to put something that is in my head down as a permanent record. I don’t care if my mother and I are the only two people in the world that own it.
- I want to write a memoir of someone important to my family. There will likely be very limited interest in it outside of our family circle
- I am a subject matter expert in a very specific topic. There will be a segment of the population that would be interested in what I have to write if I can get it in front of them.
- I enjoy writing, and I write in genres that people tend to read. People who have read my work seem to enjoy it. I want to try to get it out there and see if I can find a market. I do not need this to make the money that puts the food on my table TODAY, and I understand I will have to put at least a small amount of money into it that I may never get back, but I’d like to be able to quit my day job someday and earn my living as a writer.
- I want to be the next __________ fill in the blank (Amanda Hocking, JA. Konrath, J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Nicholas Sparks), and I want to be rich.
The first two choices are within anyone’s reach. Experts can pursue number three. Number four is feasible for talented writers who devote a lot of time and some financial resources to their goals. There are no guarantees on how MANY books you will be able to sell, but, if you are in it for the right reasons, what a cool adventure it will be.
If number five is your goal, then I hope you are a trust fund baby or have a spouse that provides all the income your family needs (plus a lot for you to work with), because you will not only have to write fantastic books, but you will need to invest serious time and money into promoting them. AND, recognize that you are committing your life to this, full time, for the rest of your life. AND, that chances are it still isn’t going to happen even. Sorry. The odds are just stacked against you. It will take doing everything right AND a great deal of luck for that to happen.
Once you have decided on your goals, lay out a plan. I’m serious about this plan. WRITE IT DOWN. Read everything that you can get your eyes on, starting with this blog and then out there to the ton of free resources available. Make your plan specific and detailed about how to make your dreams a reality. AND THEN FOLLOW YOUR PLAN.
None of the goal categories make you any more or less a writer. Don’t EVER let anyone tell you they do. The goals just determine the actions in your plan. If your goal selected above is #1 then it really isn’t very important that you waste a lot of time reading about and developing your presence in social media right? So, don’t; go write instead. Choosing the right path ensures you do not waste energy trying to achieve things that don’t matter to you, or that are not realistic for your writing.