2016-year-resolution-400x400Resolutions are meant to be broken. Still, the beginning of the year is a great time to incorporate some new practices into your routine, particularly if you’re having trouble completing your manuscript, want to self-publish your book but are resisting the notion for some reason, or are in the process of self-publishing but are getting a little lost in the details.

Here are six resolutions for you, the Indie Publisher, or simply, six things that you can choose to do at some point over the next year.

  1. Just Write. Write every day. Julia Cameron, author of 40 books including The Artist’s Way, advocates for writing “morning pages” – a set amount of writing first thing every morning. Even if you are not planning on starting your book quite yet, or are having trouble getting started, writing each morning about what’s on your mind can help unlock your creativity and get you into the habit of daily writing. For more on morning pages, see http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/
  2. Create a Publishing Plan. As you’ve read here many times, you should treat your efforts to self-publish your book as a business – a publishing business, and that means setting the goals for your book, creating a budget, planning how you are going to finance your book, figuring out the steps to self-publish your book, making a timeline, and creating a marketing plan. You should do this even if you haven’t started writing yet.
  3. Define Your Audience. An often-overlooked yet important step of the publishing process. Who exactly is your audience? Who are you writing for? What cover design would appeal to them best? What book title would catch their collective eye? Where do they congregate on the Internet? What topics interest them? No matter where you are in the writing and publishing process, make sure you pause and do this exercise.
  4. Visit a Book Store. Get to know your completion. Wander around a book store— your local independent bookstore or the closest Barnes & Noble. Look at the books on the best seller tables. What do you notice about the covers? What do the covers have in common? Look specifically at books in the same genre as yours. Read some titles. Take a look at the cover text, both front and back. What do you notice about the book overview, the author bio, the endorsements. Emulate this. Now play the “which books are self-published?” game. Pick out a book, the cover of which screams “self-published!” Look to see if it really is. Note why you picked the book out as being self-published. Don’t emulate this.
  5. Get More Reviews: People are more likely to purchase something that comes with great reviews from other customers. It’s never too late to get reviews. Get some endorsements for your book cover. Add links to reviews from your website. Use reviews as social media fodder. Add to the list of reviews on Amazon. For ideas on how to get reviews, read this blog post.
  6. Edit These Words From Your Vocabulary: Hope is not a plan. Or as Yoda said, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Why “try” to do something when you can just do it? Now’s the time for you to hone your editing skills; think, speak and write more concisely, and say what you mean and mean what you say. Eliminate such talk as “I’m going to try to…” or “I hope to write…” and “If I could just….”

Bonus Resolution: I couldn’t resist adding one more – print yourself some business cards. How many times have you caught yourself wishing you simply had a business card to hand out? Or perhaps wished you had a personal card that reflected your other career as an author? Cards are easy and cheap to produce and can simply consist of your name, phone number, email address and social media handles (Twitter, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile url). And ask people for their cards too; you never know when you might need to find the email address of that person you met at the coffee shop who offered to review your book!

Finally, here is a blog post from serial entrepreneur Mike Brcic of Toronto, Canada. He lays out seven questions to guide your goal setting in 2016.

Happy New Year!