Financial Goals for Your Book

You can establish your financial goals for your books by writing down the publisher and the advance you want, and how many copies you want your books to sell a year. Asking authors and publishing pros about setting goals will give you a sense of what’s possible.

Establish annual goals for all of your publishing-related activities. After you determine how many copies you want to sell, figure out how to use marketing to reach that goal. Make sure your networks agree that your publicity goals will enable you to reach your financial goals.

If your goal is to write best-sellers, cut out a best-seller list. Then print the information about your book-title, author, publisher, and price-and paste it in the number 1 position. Add the date. This helped inspire Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen as they rescued Chicken Soup for the Soul from oblivion. The more clearly you see your goals, the farther along you will be on the path to achieving them.

Test what you write against your literary and financial goals by including what you have written about your goals with your proposal or manuscript when you send it out for feedback. Ask your readers if they agree with your assessment, and if not, what numbers and literary goals your work does justify.

Including authors and publishing people among your readers will provide you with more knowledgeable responses. Subjecting your objectives to this gauntlet will enable you to be sure you’re heading in the right direction. Stick your financial goals on the wall next to your literary goals as a reminder and a source of inspiration.

One of this book’s premises is that your goal is to have your books published by a big or medium-sized New York house. Discovering new writers who write well and whose books sell well is the best part of an editor’s (and an agent’s) job.

Writers who know what they want and how to get it, and who will be professional but relentless in the pursuit of their goals, make it easy for editors to buy a book. Armed with the right ammunition, it’s a breeze for an editor to:

  • Prepare the profit and loss (P&L) statement they need to justify the acquisition
  • Build in-house enthusiasm for your book
  • Make the editorial board salute by presenting an irrefutable case for buying it
  • Present the book to the toughest audience of all: the reps at sales conferences, who have heard it all before and have to relay the house’s enthusiasm to booksellers
  • Excite the subsidiary rights department with the book’s potential as a book club selection and other sub rights sales
  • Prove to the publicists that the book will attract media attention

The path your books will take from your mind into the minds of your readers begins and ends with a commitment to your goals that must sustain you through the problems, disappointments, and challenges you will face. So choose your goals wisely, because the purpose of this book is to ensure that if you have the idea, the talent, and the persistence, you will reach them.

The English dramatist George Bernard Shaw once observed, “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it.” Don’t look at goals as a final destination, but as a plateau on a never-ending journey, as life’s way of telling you you’re ready to graduate, to move on to greater things.

That moment of satisfaction when you know you’ve accomplished what you set out to do is the perfect time to assess what you’ve learned and set bigger goals for your next book. We hope you will have to do this with every book you write.

Reprinted from “Rick Frishman‘s Author101 Newsletter”
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