Mid-Year Goal Review

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jul 15 2021

The days are long and the years are short is such a truism it sometimes hurts. I don’t understand how we’re already well into July. What happened to the first part of the year?

But, here we are. July. That time of year when you need to sit down and pull out those goals you so carefully crafted back in January and see how you’re doing.

How It’s Going

There’s always a bit of fear/nervousness that goes along with reviewing goals. What if I’m nowhere near where I want or need to be? What then? I have to say, in all my years, no matter the nervousness, I’ve never been that far off where I want to be. This year is no exception. There are a lot of things I’m not doing like I wanted, but there are a lot of others I’m making real strides in.

I can confidently say that I’ve continued to mentor and coach the agents of BookEnds and am, hopefully, helping them to achieve their own dreams. And this just doesn’t include the agents. I’ve also taken on this role as part of the AALA mentorship program, and with Michelle, our intern, and Sabrina, my newest assistant. That being said, I’m still spending some time looking at how I can do things better. Because settling in is never an option for me.

Two of my goals involved my own client list. One was to build a more diverse list and I wanted to put numbers to it because “more” doesn’t say anything and one new marginalized author isn’t enough. My goal was that 85% of all my new clients would be from a marginalized community–authors of color, LGBTQ+, and neurodiverse authors just to name a few. I’m doing pretty well. I’m definitely within the 85% and continuing to make that my focus, because 100% would be amazing.

The second client list goal was to build a list more focused on upmarket fiction, including upmarket genre fiction like suspense. I’m pretty proud of myself actually. This one snuck up on me as these things often do. Building or rebuilding a list doesn’t happen overnight. You have to find the clients, get them to accept an offer of representation, sell the books and build a reputation. But in looking at my shelves today, dang it, I’m doing it.

The Struggles

But not all goals are easy and a good goal review, setting good goals, means that you aren’t always just patting yourself on the back. If I was, I didn’t set challenging enough goals.

So yes, there are areas where I haven’t yet accomplished what I wanted.

I had hoped to sell 6+ nonfiction books this year. I’ve only sold one and, to be honest, haven’t done a great job of adding more clients to my list. So a kick in the pants for the rest of the year to make this change. To contact more authors and put the word out there that I’m looking. Watch for more details next week.

Another big struggle for me is finding the perfect balance between leading the agents of BookEnds and continuing to build a list like I once did, when we were only a team of three. Honestly, this might not be fully possible. It’s like being a working mom and finding balance. It’s not a one-time thing, it’s day-to-day. Some days I am focused on nothing but client work, other days it’s all about the Agents of BookEnds. But I am still looking to make changes here. I am hiring a bigger team to take on jobs and projects that will free up more time for me and, honestly, always on the hunt for agents who might be able to pick up in areas where we could use a boost–more prescriptive nonfiction anyone?

Setting goals is work, but a job I love. Making plans and goals for my future inspires me and succeeding makes me an inspiration to myself.

I set lofty goals and I work hard to achieve them. Sometimes I fail. But I never rewrite them to make things easier on myself. Instead, I look at what I’m doing that can make the difference and the change. Because every goal I set, no matter how lofty, is totally attainable.

One response to “Mid-Year Goal Review”

  1. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    Mid-winter so for me the days are short and the year seems long… but I do know where my goals are at. I’m a wee bit behind with my writing goals, but I think I can turn that around and get back on track.