• Carmen Cook

Doing It All - Part 4 - Goals

So, we've established that we all tend to try to do it all, in some way, shape, or form, right? But what do we do about it? How can we balance everything that is important to us without sacrificing ourselves and our writing in the process?

I reached out to Bria Quinlan, author of Plan Like a Best Seller, and asked her to share some tips on setting long term goals...and why we should.


Thanks Carmen for having me!

I’m thrilled to be here talking about one thing you can’t shut me up about: Goals. Specifically, Long-Term Goals.

For some that term sends a shiver down their back, and I don’t mean of anticipation.

Don’t x-out of this topic yet! We’re going to talk about LTGs for people who don’t have long range vision.

First off, let’s talk about the reasons why LTGs are good for your planning structure.

ONE: They allow you to dream.

Yup. The first one has nothing to do with anything more than dreaming. When we take the dreaming out of our goals, what are we really left with? Drudgery for life.


TWO: They give you a compass point on the horizon

When push comes to shove and you need to decide on what to do next, or if you should jump on that really interesting crosspromo idea, a clear point on the horizon can help you make a big decision really easily.

In Plan Like a Bestseller, we create what I call Guiding Principles that become your compass in all things.

If, for example, your Guiding Principles are: Grow my readership, shorten my workday to focus on my family, and Maintaining a writing career that allows me to quit my job and save for the future… then, decisions become more yes/no than pro/con.

Looking at the list above, let’s say you write Rom Coms and a great group comes along and says, “We have an ah-mazing group putting out a paranormal box set.” The list of authors is HUGE, like, this could be big huge. And the set up with vendors and sales sites is already in place. This set is going to hit a list and earn out quickly.

So, with those Guiding Principles, is this for you? Grow my readership: Well, you don’t write PNR. How many of these people will follow you back to Rom Coms? A few for sure, but is the time spent here going to grow your readership? Probably not. Shorten my workday: To make sure you’re still growing your readership, you’re going to have to double down and be doing this group project while you do something else. So something’s gotta give. So, shorten your day…

Huh! Another no.

Increase your income: Short-term it sounds like an absolute yes! But wait… If it doesn’t grow my readership, are the long-term earnings there.

Well, when you ask like that… not so much.

I’ll tell you a secret. This really happened to me and I was floored. I could not believe I was getting invited to join these big names because “You get it done, and you’re fun.” It seemed like a no brainer: Get in with big names, cash the check. But when I sat down to write the response, my GPs were taped to my desk and I realized that for me, long-term, this was not the right path. There was no stress, only a simplified answer: Thank you so much for thinking of me, but it doesn’t fit in my writing schedule right now.

THREE: They keep you in touch with your progress

Sometimes we feel like we’re standing still. Realizing how much closer we are to our LTGs can give us the satisfaction of seeing that movement!


FOUR: They allow you to decide if you’re desired outcomes remain the same. For example, people used to have the big dream of seeing their books on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.

Nowadays we wonder if we contracted a trad deal there would even still be a BN by the time we went to print. For a lot of people this has been a big shift. They’re desired outcome shifted (or maybe got clarified) from “Get on the shelf” to something more like “Find and reach my core readership.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those goals, but they’re going to cause you to work just as hard but on completely different paths.


FIVE: They allows you to build you short term goals.

If you’re not working toward a long term picture, then the things your doing today are tasks that may or may not get you to your best future. The LTGs allow you to name that future and create the right ladder to climb your way to success on.


Okay, Bria, you sold me. LTGs are my friends. But I don’t know what I’m writing next, let alone in five years.

Right. Me neither. Honest to goodness this is the first time in a decade I knew what I was doing two books out.

So how do you do it?

Simple. My books are named S2B1 – that would be Series 2, Book 1. Even if I know the series I’m writing next, this is what my plan says because…omgosh what if I change my mind… I might feel emotionally locked in.

That is the number one thing I hear from my clients and so instead of naming books, heroes/heroines, or series… we just state that at this time, a book will be getting written.

LTGs (plus a few other goals like a financial outlook and doing your Calendar Math) will allow you to create an incredibly detailed plan WITHOUT being tied to any ideas or books you haven’t been contracted for.

So, toss the emotional baggage of commitment (you commitment phobes!), find your true best point on the horizon, and layer those short term plans to get you to those long-term goals!

Want more on goals and planning for authors? Check out Bria’s PLANNING LIKE A BESTSELLER: http://briaquinlan.com/plan-like-a-bestseller-is-live/


Quirky Girl and all around lovable klutz, Bria Quinlan writes Diet-Coke-Snort-Worthy Rom Coms about what it's like to be a girl and deal with crap and still look for love.

She also writes books for teens that take hard topics and make you laugh through your tears…or maybe cry through your laughter. Some people call them issue books. Some people call them romantic comedies. Bria calls them what-life-looks-like.

Her stories remind you that life is an adventure not to be ignored.

If these things are important to you: she’s an RWA RITA, RWA Golden Heart, & Cyblis nominee as well as a USA Today Best Seller, and natural blonde represented by the awesomely amazing Laird Lauren Macleod of the Clan…. Oh, wait. Of Strothman Agency.

BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/bria-quinlan

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/BriaQuinlanAuthor/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/briaquinlan

INSTA BRIA: https://www.instagram.com/bria.quinlan/

INSTA JACK THE PUP: https://www.instagram.com/writer.pup/

WEBSITE: http://briaquinlan.com/

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