5 Tips for Setting New Year Goals as a Self-Publishing Author

The new year is right around the corner, and it’s a time for many self-publishing authors to reevaluate their goals and plans for their writing careers.

Here are five tips for self-publishing authors setting New Year author goals for 2024.

1. Make Goals You Can Control

Many self-publishing authors make the mistake of listing desired outcomes as goals. They might say something like my book will sell 1000 copies or win an award. The problem is that the self-publishing author has no control over those things. They can submit their book for awards and not win. They can market their book, go to author events, and do everything in their power to bring in sales, but they can’t control how many people choose to buy their book.

An open notebook with New Year on one side and Goal, Plan, and Action on the other symbolizing a self-publishing author’s goals.

New Year goals for self-publishing authors should be things the author has control over that can lead to their desired outcome. They should not be goals the author cannot control.

2. Measurable and Specific

Too many self-publishing authors set goals that aren’t specific enough. Vague things like writing more or marketing more don’t give the self-publishing author parameters to see if they are meeting the goal.

Good goals are specific and easy to measure. A good goal might be I will write for one hour three days a week. It is then easy for the writer to see if they are on track while still accomplishing their overall desired outcome of writing more.

3. The Right Size

Much like Goldilocks wanted things “just right,” self-publishing authors should look at their goals and set them for a happy middle ground rather than an extreme one.

Correctly sized goals should challenge the self-publishing author and be possible to meet. For instance, most self-publishing authors won’t be able to meet the goal of writing one hour every day in 2024. That goal is too big. On the other hand, the goal of writing for one hour every month is probably too small for most self-publishing authors.

Self-publishing authors should find a middle ground between such extremes and set goals that are the right size to advance their self-publishing author careers, but that aren’t overwhelming nor impossible to meet.

4. Not Just Writing

Self-publishing authors’ goals don’t need to be exclusively about putting words on paper (though writing more is always a great goal, too). Self-publishing authors might prioritize community, education, marketing, or other aspects of writing life. Joining a local author group and attending at least half of the meetings they offer per year is a great goal. So, too is spending one hour per week reading educational materials for authors or watching educational writing-related videos.

5. Set Up for Success

After the goals are set, the self-publishing author should have a plan for achieving them. Will they get up an hour earlier, three days a week, to write? Will they peruse writer-related content online, such as the InstantPublisher blog? Will they make a list of book awards they believe their book would be a good fit for submitting to? Having a clear goal and a plan for achieving it can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful writing year.

InstantPublisher has a wide variety of book publishing services to help self-publishing authors meet their goals. We offer educational content for self-publishing authors, custom printing services, interior book design,  digital printing services, and so much more. Check out our website today to see how InstantPublisher can help you meet your 2024 author goals.

How Do I Come Up With Story Ideas as a Self-Publishing Author?

Story ideas can come from many places. Inspiration is everywhere, and it is up to the self-publishing author to pull the ideas from the ether and to turn them into a fantastic story. Here are four great places for self-publishing authors to pull inspiration from.

A man surrounded by question marks representing a self-publishing author brainstorming

1. People-Watching

Many self-publishing authors people spend time people-watching as they go about their lives. They may see a customer at a restaurant with an unusual fashion sense, hear a snippet of conversation in the grocery checkout line, or hear an interesting story from a work colleague that can germinate into a story idea.

People-watching is a great way to develop characters for stories and sometimes even to find a wandering plot.

2. Look to the Classics

Readers love retellings of classic stories. Many classics are in the public domain, meaning writers can use the characters or plots in new and interesting ways without infringing on anyone’s copyright.

For instance, Jane Austen’s stories can be given a sci-fi twist and placed in outer space. Elizabeth Bennett might become a demon hunter in a fantasy story or a detective in a mystery.

Reading classics can inspire self-publishing authors to use old characters and situations in fun new ways.

It is very common to see genre romance stories inspired by classic fairy tales such as Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella.

3. Embrace Genre Tropes

Most genres have classic tropes. Embracing or subverting those are great ways to create stories. For instance, in a genre romance, the writer might create a grumpy sunshine trope with the male love interest as the sunshine and the female as the grumpy character. Embracing genre tropes is a great way to come up with exciting stories. A self-publishing author can pick a trope they love and create interesting characters and a plot around it.

4. Pick an Element

Stories consist of characters, plots, and settings. Starting with one element and building the other elements around the first is a great way to develop a story. For instance, if a self-publishing author knows they want to write a story on a spaceship they can then ask themselves what sort of stories could happen on a spaceship and who would be an interesting character on that spaceship. The writer might decide they want to do a mystery plot on the spaceships with the first mate being accused of killing the captain. Or perhaps the first mate and captain are enemies who fall in love throughout the adventure.

Using one known element to create the other elements is a great way to come up with a story idea. However, when a self-publishing author comes up with story ideas, InstantPublisher can help turn their manuscript into a book.

InstantPublisher is a book publisher that offers custom printing services. Check out our website today to learn more about how InstantPublisher can make self-publishing a dream come true.