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Are Your Book Marketing Goals SMART?

Have you written a blog post about your personal goals/resolutions for 2012? Be sure to add it to our Self-Publishing Linkup!

The start of a year new year often means setting new goals — but how can you be sure you’ve set proper goals? Aiming too high or too low can be detrimental to the success of any goal, both in terms of you sticking to and ultimately meeting it.

Book marketing goals, in particular, can be problematic. Do I try to shoot for a certain number of sales? To add 50 new fans on Facebook? How do I know if a goal is appropriate and reachable?

The SMART system for evaluating goals gives you 5 quick and easy points with which to evaluate your goals. To make sure your 2012 book marketing goals are SMART, they must be:


Your goal must answer the following questions: Who (is involved)? What (do I want to accomplish)? Where (will the goal take place)? When (due date or period of time)? Why (benefits/reasons for accomplishing the goal)?


You must have a way of objectively identifying progress toward your goal — be sure there’s an aspect that answers the questions “how much?” or “how many?” This can be easy for many marketing goals, as the end goal is a certain number of sales, new readers, likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter.


Any goal you set can be attainable — but this is totally up to you. Ensure that you are completely willing to put in the time and effort to reach your goal. You MUST be realistic (see below)! If you think your goal seems out of reach, perhaps split it into two smaller goals that are more easily accomplished.


As we said above, your goal must be something that you are WILLING and ABLE to work toward. Don’t be scared by lofty goals, however — they are often more frequently reached because the motivation (and reward) is so much greater. More work, more reward!


There’s no way around this one — you MUST have a due date/deadling for completion of your goal. Establishing a timeline allows you to not only create “baby steps” to get there (which hold you accountable) but also gives you the motivation to work harder as you see that due date approaching.

Is Your Goal SMART?

If your goal meets each of the criteria above, meaning it is (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)ttainable, (R)ealistic and (T)imely — congratulations! You have a S.M.A.R.T. goal!

Evaluation is Key!

No matter your goal, we always want to note that you MUST evaluate it on a regular basis (monthly usually works well). This lets you make any necessary adjustments on-the-fly while still moving forward. Don’t wait until the goal is totally lost (or, even worse, the end of the year) to take another look at it!

What Do You Think?

What book marketing goals have you set for 2012? Is the SMART system a good tool to use to evaluate goals? Share your thoughts in the comments (or, on your own blog)!

Review Your Marketing Progress & Make Resolutions to Improve!

Note: This is our last post of 2011! We’ll see you all back on the blog on January 9, 2012!

It’s not quite time to break out the champagne yet! Before you ring in the new year, take a few moments to evaluate 2011. If you’re in the writing phase of your self-publishing journey, take a good, hard look at Shannon’s Writing Review and Resolutions post from last week.

Regardless of where you are in the publishing process, however, there are always marketing actions you can take to garner a bit of publicity for yourself and earn new readers. Let’s evaluate how you did in that arena this year and begin thinking about how to accomplish even more next year!

The positives: What did you accomplish?

Even if you did nothing else this year, taking the time to sit down now and THINK about marketing is a gigantic positive. Aside from that, however, jot down anything else you did to get your name out there — tweeting, newsletters, selling books, blogging, etc. We’re all about motivation and positivity here, so pat yourself on the back for any and all positive marketing steps you took this year.

The negatives: Where did you fall short?

The best laid plans of mice and men…well, you know. Continue Reading

Evaluate Your Writing Progress and Make Resolutions!

Well, my lovely Duoliters (Duolitians? Duolettes? Duolitites?) it’s that time of year again. The dawn of a new year is nearly upon us, which brings with it the time honored tradition of New Year’s Resolutions.

In 2012, we want to make sure that among your goals for weight loss (this year will be different, really, that thigh master is coming out of the garage and it’s gonna be on like Donkey Kong!), financial security (no more impulse buys, that piggy bank is going to be brimming with gold by year’s end!) and spiritual growth (you will tune in less to the TV and more to the world around you!) we also want you to add some attainable goals for your writing development.

But wait! First we have to evaluate our 2011 goals.

If you’ve been keeping up with our monthly writing motivation newsletters this year or if you’ve taken our How NOT to Write a Book eCourse, you should already have set some writing goals for yourself in 2011. Before we can take a look ahead at 2012 (which we will do in a follow-up blog in January) we have to take an inventory of where you stand based on the results of 2011. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

1. The positives: What did you accomplish?

Every Duolit meeting begins on a positive note, which typically involves some sort of delicious, junky type food and equally junky discussion on celebrity gossip or news. Along the same lines, we want to begin your evaluation by taking a look at the positives of 2011 in terms of your writing goals. What were you able to achieve? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Create an outline for your book? Write a first draft? Edit a second draft? If you surpassed any of the marks you set for yourself in your writing, take a minute to stop and give yourself a big pat on the back. Finding the time and energy to take those steps ain’t easy, so your progress should be celebrated with glee.Continue Reading

Self-Publishing Ain’t For Sissies [Guest Post]

 The following is a guest post by Joseph M. Rinaldo. Joseph has self-published two novels, A Spy at Home and Hazardous Choices

During a period of unemployment in 2004, I did a lot of soul-searching about my career and a lot of reading for pure escapism. It was at this time that I read Nicholas Sparks’ Three Weeks With My Brother, and I tried to absorb the fact that he received a million-dollar advance for this book. After I got over the initial shock of that fact, I remember thinking, “Holy cow! He’s a good writer, but I know I can do this, too.” I’ve been writing since that day in 2004.

When I finished my first novel, my wife and I spent a great deal of time and money printing off complete manuscripts and mailing them to agents and publishers. This went on for months with no result. We struggled with the disappointment we felt from the countless rejection letters.

As this went on (and on and on), I began working on my second novel. I felt it was much better than the first, and I was very hopeful. We finally realized that it wasn’t necessary or practical to mail the entire manuscript to agents and publishers (in fact, most of them don’t want it as the initial contact), and we began querying and sending synopses, chapter outlines, and excerpts. Still no result. A few nibbles, but no bites. Again, much disappointment.Continue Reading

Why I Self-Published My Novel… After Saying I NEVER Would [Guest Post]

This week we’ve got a special guest post from longtime Duolit pal Catherine Ryan Howard. Following the success of her memoirs Mousetrapped: A Year and a Bit in Orlando and Backpacked: A Reluctant Trip Across Central America Catherine released non-fiction book on her self-publishing experiences entitled Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. Now she’s on a blog tour promoting her first novel, Results Not Typical.

In October 2010 I spoke at something called the One Stop Self-Publishing Conference in Dublin, Ireland. At the time I was barely a self-publisher – eight months before, I’d released a travel memoir called Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida and by feeling my way around things like Print-On-Demand, e-books and social media in the dark, I’d somehow managed to offload just under a thousand copies of it. It was my first time speaking publicly about self-publishing – in fact, I was only speaking because there’d been a problem with the person who was supposed to be – but I wasn’t one to pass up an opportunity.

Nor was I one to heed the age-old advice of “never say never.” At the end of the talk during the Q and A, I said I’d never self-publish a novel.

But yet I’ve just self-published a novel. So what changed?

When I self-published Mousetrapped, it was because I Have a Finished Book + POD and E-books are (Practically) Financial-Risk Free = Potential Income. I had just left my soul-destroying job as a paper pusher for Satan himself – or, at least, one of his closest disciples – to save my sanity and devote my time to writing a novel, and money was scarce. Even if the income from Mousetrapped was a trickle rather than a flood, it would help. I also believed based on the feedback that the book had got that it was a good book. It didn’t deserve to spend its days in the darkness of a bottom drawer. I knew I could find readers for it, and I was up for the challenge.

But it was all just going to be a one-off. I never thought about my self-publishing future; as far as I was concerned, I didn’t have one. This was just for now, for this book.Continue Reading