Goal setting is important. Duh.
If you don’t have an idea of where you’ll be one year from now, five years from now, and ten years from now, it’s difficult to help you as a consultant.
Obviously, things can and do, often change, so nobody is saying what you write down is then written in stone, and you can’t change things. You totally can. But it helps to have some idea of where you’re going and what you want to do.
This sounds incredibly obvious, and downright cliche, but I can’t even begin to list the number of times I’ve asked clients what their goals are, or where they want to be in a year, and the answer is “I don’t know.”
I’ve said this to the numerous college classes and students I’ve talked to over the years, but “I don’t know” isn’t an acceptable answer anymore. If you don’t know something, google it. There. Now you know.
The thing that pisses me off about all the marketing and consulting types out there is that they don’t practice what they preach. They’ll tell you that you should write down your goals, but then they’ll never mention it again. They won’t (more often than not) even tell you what their own goals are. They’ll just repeat this advice like it’s some deep, profound thing they just thought of, and then move on to the next recycled self-help cliche they want to repeat.
So. Practicing what I preach here. And if I can get one or two of you to do the same and write down what they want and where they see their projects in at least a year from now, then I’ve done my part in making the world suck slightly less.
The End of Privacy: This goes on sale in November!
Ok. So, as some of you know, I wrote a new book. It comes out next month from the fine people at Curious Reads, who help me feel like Bill Hicks. (Popular overseas, toiling away in some form of obscurity here in the States.) The book will be available in print globally and electronically.
I’ll be honest with you. I had no plan for this book, but now that I’ve been re-reading all the privacy books out there that I bought for research, I know what I need to do to promote this thing over the course of the next year.
Usually, there are three things that will move copies of a nonfiction book: Press, in-store events, and speaking engagements. I have a few speaking engagements coming up (more on that some other time), but since the book isn’t in bookstores, it’ll be interesting to see if I can still generate a lot of press for this one.
My goal is to outsell Social Media is Bullshit here in the States. Most books don’t sell more than 300 copies in their first year and more than 3,000 in their lifetime. Social Media Is Bullshit, last time I checked, was hovering around 6,000 copies sold. I don’t know what it sold in Russia, Poland, Australia, Canada, the U.K., and South America because hard numbers are challenging to come by with international markets. I know the book did well in Canada and the U.K. anecdotally because of the number of fans I have from those countries. Plus the U.K. and Canadian media were way, way friendlier to the message of the book than the social media obsessed (at the time) American media.
So, if this book can sell 7,000 copies in 2018, I’ll be thrilled. I also make more money on this release than I do with Social Media is Bullshit too because it’s a better split between the author and publisher regarding who gets what. And that’s great because my overarching goal (three years from now) is to no longer need to do consulting. I want the comics and the books, as well as the speaking, to be self-sustaining.
Vengeance, Nevada: This goes on sale this Fall!
Ok. So VN was (tentatively) accepted into the Comixology store for sale. I’m just working with Gira and Peter to straighten out a compression issue with the finished comic. For those of you who use the Comixology app, the pages need to be larger for Guided View to work properly. Once this is straightened out, the first issue of Vengeance will be on sale for $2.99.
Originally, I was going to price it at 99 cents, but hear me out. This is what it costs to produce an issue of Vengeance, Nevada:
B.J.: I get paid nothing.
Aleberry Creative: ~$500 to make sure the final comics pages are properly formatted and compliant with Comixology’s standards.
Peter: ~$1,400 for 26 pages.
Isidore: ~$200 for Cover
So that’s $2,100 per issue of the comic. And you know me, I will NEVER ask you for money on something like Kickstarter and Patreon. There’s nothing wrong with doing that; I’m just not comfortable with it. So, I pay for the comic completely out of pocket.
By way of comparison, Marvel’s All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #11 sells for $3.99 has 23 pages.
Now, sure, Marvel can charge more because it’s Guardians of the Galaxy (the two best movies they’ve put out thus far) and it’s Marvel, but $4 for 23 pages of comic vs. $3 for 26 pages of comic seems fair to me. Especially because other issues of VN sometimes run longer, with issue #3 hitting 31 pages, for example.
The higher price also means I need to sell fewer copies to break even. VN #2 and #3 are ready to go, formatting for Comixiology aside.
You get 50% from every sale you make on Comixology. So I make $1.49 per copy sold of Vengeance, Nevada. So if I can move 1,500 copies per issue, I made all the money back that it costs to produce an issue.
Since I don’t make my comics to make money, I do it because it’s fun, as long as I don’t lose any money on them I can keep making more. So 1,500 is the magic number for Vengeance, Nevada #1 to hit in 2018 and that’s my goal.
Over the next year, I hope to break even on each issue of VN that comes out. Since the comic comes out quarterly (four issues a year), this shouldn’t be too hard to do given that I don’t need to go out and bang the drum for it every month like I do a book.
This is also a nice test of that 1,000 True Fans thing, which I always thought was bullshit. If 1000 fans buy VN each time a new issue comes out, I’ll have to eat my words on that theory.
VN and The End of Privacy are my top professional goals for the rest of 2017 and going into 2018. Personally, I don’t have many goals beyond the usual: Find a girlfriend, get an apartment, get three new clients at $3,000 a month. (I should charge more, but I’m trying not to be a general practitioner these days and want to focus entirely on branding and Word of mouth marketing, so the lower price reflects that I’m only working on these two things. Or, I’d prefer to only work on those two things, we’ll see how it goes.)
So my goals for the next year look like this:
-Find a girlfriend
-Get an apartment
-Get three new, regular clients at $3000 a month.
-Sell 1,500 copies of Vengeance, Nevada #1
-Sell 7,000 copies of The End of Privacy.
All those things are, on paper anyway, really easy to do. Sell the book, get the clients, move and get the apartment, maybe meet someone after that, and then sell the comic.
Obviously, luck will play a factor. I’m looking to promote two products that are released by a small publisher (the book) and self-released (the comic), meaning getting press is going to be harder than it would be if the book or comic came out from a larger publisher like a St. Martin’s or a Marvel.
Will I be successful? I’d like to think so, but knowing which direction I’m going in and what I want makes the journey so much easier, and that’s the point.
You have to know what you want and where you’re going.