December is easily one of my favorite months. I hate cold weather and NaNoWriMo has never clicked for me, but I love to plan for a new year. November is when I crack open the planner and set my goals. There’s nothing like the open possibility of 365 new days to reach for new author platforming goals. But as an author trying to take on the world, where do you even start?
I often say that building your author platform can feel bottomless. No matter how much you put into it, or how much your network grows, there is always more to be done. if anything, you might say that it only becomes more complicated the more you grow — more followers, more accounts, more to juggle. Setting a new goal for your upcoming year of outreach can feel pretty darn overwhelming.
My challenge to you? Keep it simple.
Focus on a single goal, and follow these steps to help yourself measure your progress and succeed.
1) Get Focused
What’s most important to you for your author life in the coming year? Whether it’s building your publishing network, connecting with readers, or finishing your first novel, consider how your platforming goal might tie in and support it.
2) Make it Measurable
A good goal is always measurable. Want to learn how to crush TikTok this year? Fantastic. How will know you’re succeeding? By views? Followers? How often you post?
Define your measuring stick at the start so you know what matters most to you. Otherwise, you’ll be prone to redefine was you go—it’s just human nature.
3) Set Attainable Targets
Goals are for challenging ourselves. But, if we aim too high, we risk burning out and giving up. Consider what it will take to reach your goal in time and energy, and what’s reasonable to demand of yourself.
4) Break it into Actions
What do you need to do to accomplish your goal? Some goals are about habits—so that “engage more on Twitter” becomes, “reply to at least one other account’s post every day.”
But if your goals are about results, like “increase my newsletter subscribers by 20 percent,” you’ll need a plan in place. What steps can you take to make sure this happens? Come up with a few approaches you can try, and get specific about how you’ll put it in action.
5) Schedule Check-Ins
Don’t wait until next December to check whether you’re going to make your goal! Set a regular schedule to assess your progress. What’s working? What isn’t? What else can you try? It’s important to take time to ask these questions regularly to keep your platform growing. The more frequently you check in, the more opportunities you give yourself to pivot your strategy.
It’s easy to feel intimidated or overwhelmed when trying to plan for your next year’s worth of author platforming. But you can do it! A new year means exciting new opportunities ahead. If you keep your goals focused, sustainable and measurable with these steps, you’ll be well on your way to conquering the year ahead.
By day, E. J. Wenstrom is a digital strategy pro with over 10 years at communications firms. By early-early morning, she’s an award-winning sci-fi and fantasy author of the Chronicles of the Third Realm War novels, starting with Mud. She believes in complicated characters, terrifying monsters, and purple hair dye.