This post should probably go under publishing or marketing but since we always write about goals under writing here it sits.
So, what’s the difference between a strategy and a tactic? How do you come up with them? First, you need to know your longterm (over arching) goals. If you want to be a best selling author you’ll use a different strategy than if you want to make X amount of money per month. With that strategy there will be tactics. For example, If your main goal is to earn money now, you might price your book at $3.99 while if you want to build your email list and fan base, you might price it at .99 or free.(on Amazon, you have to sell about 8 books at .99 to equal the royalty from one sale of a $3.99 book) These prices are tactics to achieve a goal.
A tactic is one thing you do. Like making your first in series free, setting up a blog tour, or creating a Facebook event. These are pieces to the marketing puzzle but you need to make sure the ones you use fit together.
A strategy is the group of tactics you're using to reach your goal.
For example, with my new series, I want to bring in an extra $800 a month. In order to do this, I have a five book series (technically four books and a prequel) I will have the prequel novella priced at $2.99 and put it on sale .99 every 90 days or so for a certain period of time. I will also offer it for free when a reader signs up for my email list (List building tactic). I might offer it for free (audience building tactic) on retail sites but I'd rather not. A lot of people, myself included, download free books and never get around to reading them. This will not help my read through rates and so it won't help my goal. Charging .99-2.99 (tactic) will help ensure that people read the book (people are more likely to read what they pay for). And of those people, I will have a higher read through and there for more money. The next book (full-length) will be regularly priced at $3.99 or $4.99. Depending on how many early reviews I can get and how much interest there is in the series right away. Why $3.99? Because on Amazon, at $2.99 I'd have to sell 387 books a month to reach my $800 goal. At $3.99 I'd need to sell 286 books. That's 100 fewer books to make the same amount of money. You always make higher volumes at lower prices and putting your book on sale for $2.99 or .99 can help you if you need social proof like reviews or a ranking boost. Sales are just another tactic. Social proof (reviews and recommendations) are needed to sell more books. Using a sale to get that social proof, is a tactic.
It’s important not to get too focused on tactics. Keeping your eye on the prize, the goal, can be the difference between success and failure. Make sure you know what your long term goals are then test different tactics to reach those goals. What works for Suzy Author’s romance series might not work for your science fiction thriller but you can always learn from what others are doing.
What you need to do is figure out where you want to be in five and then in ten years. Do you want to have a certain number of books out? Making a specific amount in monthly income? Finish your series? Be a best selling author? Once you figure that out you can choose your strategy. To be a best selling author you’ll need to grow not only your own email list but also network with other authors in your genre. Networking is your strategy and a free book to grow your own list is a tactic. As you grow your list, you become a more attractive contact for other authors. Meaning, this tactic benefits your strategy.
There are a million tactics in this industry. You can use them all and get nowhere without a strategy and an end goal. Goals keep you focused, strategy keeps you organized, tactics get you where you want to go.
If you’re interested in tactics and strategies for goals like monthly income, becoming a best seller, or growing your email list, let me know. I’d be glad to share what I know and dig into how to achieve goals I haven’t thought about yet! Also, kind of feeling like I should write a post about pricing strategy... let me know if you'd find that helpful!
It’s that time of year again. The time when we start looking back over our goals and thinking about new ones. Last year, I made a few mistakes when setting my goals. Not the least of which was overestimating how much work I could get done with a new baby and failing to reevaluate my goals when we decided to homeschool our boys. And by we, I mean me. My husband helps more than I thought he would with school but 90% of it, is on me.
So, because of how I went about setting my goals last year, this year I’ve decided to get a little bit more technical. This post is going to be all about SMART goals and why making sure your goals fit into the SMART category is key to success. My next post is going to talk more about Strategy vs Tactics, you can look for it next week.
OK, what does SMART stand for?
Specific: Your goals need to be specific. Last year, all mine were very specific. I wanted to make X amount of money and I wanted to complete certain projects. They should also fit into your overall strategy and overarching business goals, more about this next week!
Measurable: Can you see the progress you’re making? Are you selling more books each month than the last? Writing more words? Make sure there is a way to tell if you’re making progress in your goals. If you can measure your progress or lack thereof you can make the necessary adjustments to be successful. And we all know success feels good and motivates us to do more.
Actionable: You need to be able to look at the data (sales numbers, word counts, etc.) and be able to do something to improve them or keep things moving forward. Make sure you always know exactly what steps you need to take on a day to day basis to accomplisher goals.
Relevant: Can you use the data to solve a problem that kept you from achieving past goals? Is this goal relevant to your career goals and strategy?
Time-related: Goals should always be time sensitive. As humans, we’re naturally born procrastinators. I’m pretty sure my mother is the only acceptation to this rule. So give yourself deadlines and make this happen! Personally, I like quarterly goals that help me achieve yearly goals. I did this for 2017 and while on the whole, I wasn't able to accomplish what I wanted to, I never felt overwhelmed or stressed because everything was broken down into manageable chunks.
Wondering why regular old goals aren’t good enough? Making SMART Goals is a smart business decision. They were literally designed to help you succeed. If you’re like me and about look at your 2017 goals and see all the things you didn’t accomplish, the question shouldn’t be "Why do I need SMART Goals?" It should be "Why the heck did it take you this long to share them with us?" (PS I just learned about them myself or I would have used them this year and been in a slightly better position moving into 2018)
What does 2018 look like for you and your career? V and I will go over last years goals and be posting the new ones for 2018 before new years. Did you accomplish your goals or did you pull a me and bite off more than you could chew? Let us know in the comments!
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