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Time to Write Your Literary Goals

If you are a long-time blog reader you know it’s that time of year when I’m going to push you (and my team) to sit down and write up your goals for the year. Since publishing is a business I think it’s important that every writer treat it as such from the get-go. What kinds of goals do you have for yourself and your career and what can you do this year to make that happen?

I’ve made some changes to the way BookEnds is looking at our goals this year. I’m splitting them between goals and objectives. Goals are those things we can control. The steps we can take to achieve our ultimate objective.

For example, my objective might be to sell 10 books this year. That’s not necessarily something I can control since it’s going to be dependent on the market, the publisher and the editor. But there are things I can control to try to achieve my objective. My goals, in that case, might be to submit 30 books, assuming I have a 30% success rate in selling what I submit. One of my goals could include a commitment to how often I nag editors who are currently reading submissions, and how many houses I’ll submit to. All of these goals are things I can do and control to meet my objective.

In your case an objective might be to sign with an agent. You can’t control that of course, but you can control how many agents you query, how much writing you do and how many books you’ll actually query this year.

I’m hoping that by looking at our yearly goals this way we have a boost of self-confidence each time we work toward a goal. The objective will be the bonus.

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7 comments

  1. I love everything about this, Jessica! As you know, I’m a big-time goal setter, and when I give goal setting workshops to other writers, I show them my writing plan from 2005-2010 where I listed my SMART goals. One line from 2006 read: Query THROUGH THE SHADOWS to five “first-tier” agents. The first bullet point under that goal where I tracked progress read:

    • Jessica Faust, Bookends – requested full, personal rejection.

    It took us three manuscripts and three years before we signed, and during all that time my goal was never to “sign with an agent.” Instead the goal was to send agent next ms, meet with agent at conference and give her blackberry cobbler recipe, etc. For writers with patience and persistence, goal setting works!

  2. I love goals and goal setting. New for 2017: setting big picture goals in 90 day windows so I can more easily focus on the items with immediate impact and quickly determine what I can and can’t get done. Nice side effect is that even though there are a lot of ideas, nothing feels too overwhelming.

    Happy 2017!

  3. Love this! I’ve actually already made my list, and I’m super driven because I just got the coolest feedback from a senior editor with a very big publisher. I’m pretty much in seventh heaven. So, I’m going to write novel four and five this year and begin the sixth. I’ll get the submission packages ready for the books I finished, and spend the year submitting. I’m taking January and February to prepare the material, because I think many a new writer uses these months to hit agents’ and publishers’ submissions inbox, so I gather the slushpile will be overflowing for a couple of months. You know how it is, all diets and queries start on the 1st of January LOL. Or am I wrong? Open to suggestions here… Many writers brag to start querying in January, but I’m not sure as many actually do it.

    1. The queries keep coming. I honestly don’t think there’s any rush to get them out the door in January. Some of us are busy cleaning inboxes after a long break so like the time to catch up on everything else.

  4. I have a business plan which I review every year. I’ve started working on the one for 2017 and I’m trying a few different things this year – but the overall plan is still the same… write more, query more =)

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