When I start working with a new book launch client, the first conversation I have is about goal-setting. This leads to the ultimate question, “How many books do you want to sell?”


I learned early on in my project management career that if you don’t define your goals, and spell out exactly what success looks like, you are destined to fail.


That’s why I always determine the goal (number of books sold) when I create a book launch project plan.

This approach works. Recently one of my clients not only met but exceeded his book sale goals. 

You don’t have to be a celebrity or a big name author to crush your book sales too! But you do need to have goals.

Why are goals so important? Because goals tell you what you are working toward, and if you manage a team, they know the why behind what they are doing.

In the absence of goals, there is ambiguity. People don’t know whether they succeeded or failed. Ever been part of a project team where people had wildly different viewpoints on whether it failed or not once it was done? More than likely, it lacked goals or they weren’t properly communicated.

Something magical happens when you have goals.

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Your team gets excited–they actually know whether the project is succeeding or not.  When everyone is clear on the goals, there’s no confusion or gossipy whispering in hallways about how bad this project sucks.

When you embark on a project, do you set goals to measure success?

You should be.

Let’s say you want to launch a nonfiction book. You’ve been working on it for the better part of a year, it’s in the editing stages, and now you’re planning your book launch.

Whether it’s a 3-month or a 3-week rollout, you need to define your goals.

How many books do you plan to sell? Over what time frame?

You have to decide what success means for you.

Your goals will depend on who you are. If it’s your first book ever, selling 100 copies in the first 2 weeks might mean success.

If you’re a more established author, selling 1000 copies your first week might be your goal.

Once you have a number in mind, you can decide what you need to do to achieve it.

  • If your email list has 5000 subscribers, how many people regularly open your emails?  What percentage do you expect might buy your book when you announce that it’s on sale?

  • Do you need to have a launch team in place? What advertising do you need to put in motion so that you have sales from new readers as well?

  • Are there influencers you can reach out to who may promote your book to their email readers in exchange for you promoting one of their books?

  • Does it make sense for you to reach out to podcasters or write a guest blog to reach a wider audience?

These are the kind of questions that I ask my book launch clients. Once you have a goal, you can strategize about your book launch more effectively.

I’ve learned this the hard way. For my own book launches, I’ve often set up a few book promotions and emailed my list, but without clear goals. I had no idea what I was aiming for. No surprise that my launches weren’t as successful as I hoped. Not having goals is like throwing darts at a bulls-eye when you’re blindfolded.

So what can you take away from this? Goals work.

Set goals for your book launch or other creative projects. If you’re working with a team, explain why you chose those goals, or better yet, have them help you brainstorm what success looks like. They’ll be shockingly engaged and cheer for you.

Once you establish your goals, here are 10 quick ideas to take action on them. Look, there’s nothing earth-shattering here, but these are good reminders.

  1. Post goals on your wall where you see them every day.

  2. Block time in your calendar every day to work on your goals.

  3. Keep a small notebook with you to record daily actions toward your goals.

  4. Journal every day about things you can do to move toward your goals.

  5. Tell others about your goals or blog about them so you have accountability.

  6. Find an accountability partner.

  7. Schedule a weekly review session to see what you did well and what can be improved.

  8. Keep a list of accomplishments as you work on your goals.

  9. Take time to celebrate when you hit certain milestones.

  10. Hang a calendar on your wall and note your progress every day.

Even taking 1 hour to plan goals for your next project can make the difference between scratching your head wondering why your results suck versus nailing your goals and doing a happy dance.

Repeat this process every time. Each project gets better. That’s the magic of goals.

I’m curious. What are you working on and what’s your number one goal? How will you get there? Comment below and let others know.