It’s hard to believe that the year is already coming to a close, and with that, the opportunity to plan with excitement for a new year ahead. The beginning of a brand new year symbolizes a fresh start, and our podcast guest Aryn Van Dyke, book marketing consultant and author coach, knows it’s the perfect time for authors to set new goals – and she wants them to be BIG.
In our latest episode, we explore which goals authors may want to consider reaching for in the new year, along with the metrics they should consider in order to track progress. Are you ready to hit your BIG book goals in 2024? Then let’s dive in…
What are some ideal goals authors should set once they write their book?
Sales is the first goal that most people think of. And sales are, of course, important. However, there are many “micro goals” that fall underneath that umbrella that are also important and can be very beneficial to authors. Those goals include increasing personal brand, increasing business, creating new business opportunities, and impacting and changing lives with your message. In their own ways, they all intertwine with one another and lead back to sales.
Why is it important for authors to set goals for their book?
It comes down to this: it’s easier to follow a path when you know where you want to go. Sure, you could write a book, get it published, and just let it exist out in the world; maybe some folks would stumble across it. But identifying the purpose of the book, the why behind why you wrote it, is so important for figuring out what your goals can be and how to reach them. You put your time, effort, and energy into this project: why not set goals?
Setting goals for your book helps you visualize and conceptualize where you’re headed. And it’s important that those goals are realistic—that you can actually reach one, and then the next—working toward that ultimate goal you’ve identified, whether it’s sales or not. A lot of people don’t recognize that goals are important mentally, too. Once you can check one off of your list, it energizes you and gives you a renewed sense of accomplishment and purpose.
What are some metrics that authors should consider when working toward their goals?
If an author is focused on building their platform, they might consider tracking their metrics on their social media pages. Most platforms have analytics tools built right in, so authors can see which posts perform the best, how many people are seeing those posts and interacting with them, etc. There are tracking tools that authors can use, but if that’s too overwhelming, just an old-school spreadsheet tracking that data weekly will be really helpful for authors to learn what’s working and what’s not. What’s key to note here is that we didn’t even mention follower count, because more and more it’s not just about how many followers an author has, but about the level of engagement from the followers they do have.
Make sure to check out the Hootsuite Blog or the HubSpot blog, too, as they do a great job of keeping track of what’s working across platforms and provide their recommendations for best practices for each. Staying on top of this information will help authors feel more confident and take informed action.
Similarly, for newsletters, it’s easy for authors to get caught up in how many subscribers they have. And while a healthy email list is important, it’s less about the size and more about, again, the level of engagement of those on the list. One helpful way to track that is by looking into the open rate and click-through rate for author newsletters. How many subscribers are actually opening the message? What links are being clicked on and interacted with the most? Also, if an open rate is high but a click-through rate is low, that could indicate that the information being shared isn’t truly resonating with the audience and a sign to redirect.
Websites come with a whole host of metrics to consider, but first I like to just encourage authors to create a website and work on putting all of the basic pieces into place, because it’s surprising how many authors still don’t feel they need a website. Once you have all of those pieces in place, one metric that’s good to check into is the bounce rate. Are people coming to your website but immediately leaving? Or are they spending some time there?
As far as book sales go, the best trackable metric I’ve come across is using book reviews, as the two really go hand-in-hand. For instance, 15 book reviews in the first month of publication is a great goal. Of course, having a launch team in place will be really helpful for reaching reviews goal and, ultimately, book sales goals.
What is one new year’s resolution authors can make in 2024?
I would advise authors to take a look at what they did in 2023, and to see how they can improve—even incrementally!—in 2024. For instance, if an author wants to grow their presence in 2024 but was barely posting on their social media accounts or inconsistently posting on their blog, they could resolve to be more consistent with their posting. If we have to narrow it down to just one resolution, I would say this: resolve to be consistent! You will be surprised at how a little consistency goes a long way.
The All Things Book Marketing podcast is a popular biweekly show featuring book marketing and publicity tips from the top voices in the publishing industry. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a new episode!
Aryn Van Dyke is a book marketing consultant and author coach. She has worked on more than 100 book launches, including multiple New York Times bestsellers, spanning across multiple nonfiction genres. After getting her start at HarperCollins, Aryn founded Book Rockstar in 2019 to make book marketing strategy more accessible to all authors. Learn more at www.bookrockstar.com and follow her on Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.