Current Release

Current Release
The Warrior's Viking Bride

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Incentives v accountability in goal setting

First of all, my tenth book for HM&B Historical was titled yesterday -- Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife. It is the second part of my Regency duo and has a very hooky title. My editors has concentrated on the heroine -- she is on the edge of her family and she eventually makes a marriage of convenience. Apparently the cover is going to be more female focused. The hero is battle scarred from events in A Question of Impropriety. I like hooky titles and think this one is lovely. It does what it says on the tin.
Anyway, I discovered the AuthorMBA blog several weeks ago. It is a weekly dedicated towards giving writers a bit of business savvy. Anyway, this week, there is a piece on four questions writers should think about when setting goals -- productivity goals, marketing goals, work to life balance and refilling the well. Fairly straight forward, but the interesting bit was in the comments when the author of the blog explained that people tend to be motivated by either incentives or accountability.
In other words, some people do better when they give themselves treats for completing a goal, and other people do better when they have shared that goal and others know about the goal. What are the consequences of failure v the rewards of success? And which motivates more.
I think this is true up to a point. Now I tend to be more productive when I am writing down the number of words and pages I have done per day. I tend to set a per week goal. I do not make charts. I simply write it down in my day timer. It can be helpful to go back and look when I am feeling stuck. It is then that I realise -- that I tend to go slower at certain points and I can still finish.
What I do not find helpful is telling other people/groups. National Write a Novel month tends to make me freeze.
Actually the high I get from finishing is an important incentive. I love the feeling of putting a story to bed as well as doing the revisions. So that is the payoff for me. And I can not get them any other way except by completing a book.
With marketing goals, I think Donald Maass said it best -- it is nearly impossible to determine how much or how little book marketing will do to further your career. It takes a very long time and the things you do today may not make an impact until much further down the road. Much of marketing success is anecdotal. But thinking local and building on past success is always good. Equally, the publisher's role in marketing should not be underestimated -- good distribution, excellent covers, enticing titles and cover copy are all elements in why people buy a book. And the most important thing in book marketing for an author is to remember to keep your shop window full of new quality items. The feelings of satisfaction a reader gets when she finishes your book goes a long way to determining whether or not your next book is an auto-buy for her. It is not all about the marketing, but ultimately all about the content. And this feed backs into the satisfaction I get from reader's letters, and from being able to talk about books.
So am I more of a consequence or reward type person? I suspect I am both. But the payoffs are so great when I create something that I am proud of.


Donna Alward said...

Me too. I'm not even a short term reward kind of girl but more of a long term. I finish books because I get a sense of accomplishment from simply finishing...I'm one of those people in their glory when they can cross items off a to-do list. And the reward/satisfaction part also comes when the book is out and I get feedback from readers. Oddly enough that satisfaction is less to do with feeling good about THAT book but that a positive reaction may bode well for future books. LOL. I think I really am a forward thinker!

Margaret Moore said...

Thanks for the link -- another interesting blog to visit.

What keeps me going? The thrill of a good scene, that moment when the dialogue is working and the characters are pretty much writing themselves. Or when I come up with a new story and yes, get to write a synopsis. Reader feedback is like sweet sauce on ice cream. The ice cream is great on its own, but that sauce makes it extra-special.