Indie Authors Setting Goals and Reaching Goals

This article first appeared on LifeWithJessica.

Writing my first two novels took the better part of a decade because I only worked on them in between my job as a painting contractor, or when I wasn’t skiing, making an effort to date or simply goofing off. Looking back, it surprises me that I actually wrote two full-length novels since I didn’t have any set goals along the way—I just wrote haphazardly when the time and mood presented themselves.

There’s a common term in the publishing industry for getting writing done: deadline. It probably exists because procrastination runs rampant in the field—without deadlines writers might procrastinate forever. Unfortunately for those of us who decide to self-publish, nobody is going to crack the whip and place a deadline over our heads. It’s up to us to get the job done. So how do we do that? For many writers, setting a goal really helps.

Something happened to me in 2010 that forever changed my thinking about writing. I didn’t plan on it to happen, but it just did and taught me the most incredible lesson about setting goals and reaching goals.

The last time I attended a writing conference, 2010 San Francisco WC, came just a few months after taking the plunge as an Indie author. During the conference I engaged in dozens of conversations with other writers, each of us sharing experiences. The chats often delved into what I was doing to self-publish. When I told these writers my novels were on sale at Amazon for Kindle and at Barnes & Noble for Nook, their eyes would perk up. When I also explained I had websites and blogs and used social media to spread the message, they found that exciting too. And when I mentioned all these things weren’t costing me anything but time, that’s when they started taking notes.

The light bulb went off in my head. An inner voice said, “Writers want to know how to sell books effectively using free methods. A how-to guide is your next book.”

On the drive home from the conference, I was energized and made a silent vow to work as much as possible for one month, 30 days, just to see how far I could get on this new venture. My job of painting houses was slow since it was winter, so I set a goal of writing diligently for one month. 30 days wouldn’t be a ton of time considering there was also research and designing example websites plus a blog, but I knew my best effort would be required. Then after the month, I’d hopefully be well into the project.

The results were instantaneous. I had never been more focused and began working 12-hour days, amazed how quickly the information was piling up. I also researched like crazy, learned how to build sites, format books, design covers and discovered so many new marketing methods for my novels.

After 30 days to my utter amazement, I had a finished book. Not only that, I made example websites and a great blog to go with it. How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free immediately began selling and is currently my best-selling book and paying the mortgage.

This productivity was spurred by an idea, which we all have. What made this one different was that I made a concrete goal, to simply work hard for 30 days and see the progress. In the end I achieved far more than the original plan. Here’s some advice for writers considering setting a goal and reaching that goal:

• Write your goal down somewhere you’ll see it every day.

• Keep the goal realistic, something you know you can accomplish but just need incentive. My goal of writing like mad for a month is actually quite a challenge. Perhaps try to write an hour a day for one week and take the next week off, and repeat that for a month or two. Achieving and surpassing a realistic goal is far better than being overwhelmed by a lofty one you can’t live up to.

• Make a goal of 1,000 words written on certain days of the week when you have free time. Do this for a month and be amazed at the results. When the pages start adding up, it’s an incredible feeling.

• Tell others about your goal. This will make it harder to quit if the feeling presents itself.

• Get some writing friends to share the goal, or share similar goals (even with non-writing friends). Incorporating others creates a support network.

• Don’t get caught up editing your work—there’s time for that later. Keep producing and keep the creative juices flowing.

• If you want a serious challenge, do NaNoWriMo. It’s a month-long writing adventure in November with a goal of 50,000 words. I’ve done it once and can report it is not easy but a great motivator to write. Or make your own version with different numbers and get a few friends to do it with you.

Setting and reaching goals is much more appealing than having deadlines. I hope you’ll achieve them and share the experiences.


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Win Kindle Touch June 25th

Win a Kindle Touch. Just buy a book by June 25th, 2012 and get entered in the Kindle raffle. Watch the video or read below for details.

Easy Way – get automatically entered to win directly from these websites:

http://www.thelittleuniverse.com

for the novels The Little Universe or Jim’s Life. (pdf, epub, mobi)

http://ebooksuccess4free.webs.com/

for the how-to guides How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free (pdf, epub, mobi)

or Get on Google Front Page (pdf, epub, mobi)

or How to Make Your Own Free Website: And Your Free Blog Too (pdf, epub, mobi)

(Some buyers outside USA will need me to send the download links after purchase.)

Other way – buy from Amazon or any retailer as ebook or paperback and email proof of purchase to jmmatthews (at) usamedia (dot) tv to confirm purchase and get entered to win.

The Little Universe

Jim’s Life

How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free

Get On Google Front Page

How to Make Your Own Free Website: And Your Free Blog Too

Winner chosen live June 25th at 7pm Pacific Standard Time on HangoutNetworks. The winner will be notified; no need to be present.


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New Enable Distribution with Amazon Europe for CreateSpace Books

CreateSpace has just added a new distribution option for paper books: Amazon Europe. If you already have POD versions of your books for paperbacks and/or hardcover with CreateSpace, you’ll want to check this distribution option through your CS dashboard.



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Indie Authors On Air Show each Monday

For writers, readers and everyone interested, we are hosted weekly by HangoutNetworks to do an Indie Author show Mondays at 6pm PST. Shows automatically become 1 hour YouTube videos and are a great way to promote your author name and book. Subjects include all things related to e-publishing. Authors who would like to be on the show, contact me through the comments section or at my Google Plus Profile page.

Here’s an example from show #6, topic–Social Media



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Indie Authors – Best of Times, Worst of Times

This article first appeared on LifeWithJessica.

Charles DickensIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times… -Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

The famous quote can be applied to many things; it’s perfectly suited for the age of digital publishing and being an Indie author.

Who are Indie authors? They’re self-publishers, independent authors free from the configurations of traditional houses. Many Indies are new writers sidestepping the difficult task of acquiring literary agents while some have been published through major houses and are now going rogue, often desiring more control over projects as well as greater profit from royalties.

Why is it both the best and worst of times? Technology has created a new paradigm for the publishing industry. Any writer can now easily create and sell ebooks, like on Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook. Writers can also make paperbacks with companies like CreateSpace, Lulu and Lightning Source: print-on-demand copies that only get made as orders come in. Surprisingly, just five years ago this paradigm didn’t exist; the changes are happening faster than many people (and publishers) realize. It’s the best of times because everyone can do this and at no cost. It’s also the worst of times because new books are flooding the market in droves, many of them poorly written, which gives Indie authors a stigma of association with bad books. Do a little investigating to find some readers who love Indie authors and now refuse to spend more than a few dollars on any book while finding others who’ve been “burned” in the past and simply won’t read another Indie unless they’ve made the best-seller list.

What are the major pros and cons? It’s like yin and yang where each aspect has pluses and minuses. The Indie author has total control over a project, which also means responsibility for doing everything. On sales, Indies make the huge bulk of the profits, typically around 70% of every sale, yet they must also make a deep investment of time and energy. If an Indie is successful, the possibilities are boundless with opportunity, yet to be successful they will need to do many things well other than just writing. Indies often handle their own cover design, formatting, marketing and more unless they have deep pockets for hiring out.

What does it take to be a successful Indie? This is the million dollar question as many recently unknown authors are quickly realizing their dreams of becoming household names. Best-selling Indies like Amanda Hocking, John Locke, J. A. Konrath and Darcie Chan are prime examples, with their books topping the Amazon charts aamanda hockingnd the money flowing in. These thriving authors show us it can be done without agents or publishers, and the rewards are enormous. Simultaneously, for each story of triumph there are thousands of writers who simply won‘t make it, destined to sell less than a hundred copies to mostly friends and family. Being successful as an Indie is perhaps equally as difficult as making it with traditional publishing.

I’m an Indie author and proud of being one. The stigma many readers have doesn’t bother me because I firmly believe my books are both fascinating and helpful. They sell as ebooks and as paperbacks to people all over the world, and the future is bright indeed. As the months go by I meet the most interesting people, make valuable online connections, establisJason Matthews Barnes & Noble booksigningh myself as a “known” Indie author, and the sales continue to grow. Receiving monthly deposits from Amazon and other companies is wonderful, but the greatest reward is hearing from happy readers who wanted to let me know how much my book meant to them. I have literally been brought to tears from a kind email by a thoughtful reader, which is a priceless experience.

However, I’ve also managed many hurdles of frustration while being a stubborn do-it-yourself type, forcing myself to learn a myriad of things like complex software for designing book covers. Learning as you go is essential to Indie success. One quickly discovers the need to do so many things to keep up with the masses of new writers, which can often feel overwhelming. Formatting, cover design, blogging, social media, forums, articles, YouTube, making websites… these are just some of the things a fledgling author will need to learn and do well in order to rise to the top. It’s not easy by any means, and yet it can also be done by anyone.

Extreme Skiing and Psychedelic Mushrooms_01Teaching these skills is now a big part of my life. Fortunately, my specialty is doing everything for free so this is a great way to make friends and network with other authors who are eager to save money. Everyone likes saving money, right? Another benefit is being a part of the Indie community, which is the most altruistic group I’ve ever been associated with. Have you heard the saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats?” It’s like that with Indie authors. The desire to assist each other and get help in the process makes being with this group a rewarding experience for all, regardless of the number of books sold.

If you have a book in you, whether it’s partially written or ready to print, and you want to be an Indie author—come join our community and make your mark. There’s plenty of room for anyone who has a great story and is willing to work persistently to share it with the world. Plus you’ll have an instant support network of authors ready to help you, people like me.

Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
Subscribe to this blog for updates on what Indie authors can do to sell ebooks.

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