{Between the Lines}

The Agents of Books & Such Literary Management Muse About Books, Publishing, and Life

About Goals

Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

Perhaps you saw on Facebook that our fearless leader, Books & Such president and founder, Janet Kobobel Grant, announced that, for the first time, every single Books & Such agent surpassed her sales goal for the year. And that happened in October! Needless to say, we are putting our heads together to decide how to celebrate.

We talk a lot about goals. About this time each year, Janet starts reminding us that we only have until the end of the year to submit our financial, performance and personal goals. Yep, we have to think at least a year ahead and decide what we will be focusing on and what our financial goals will look like for 2019. In this way we share together and hold each other accountable. Each quarter, Janet sends us a copy of our goals, to remind us to keep our eyes on the prize.

This is an important part of our success as agents and as an agency. We try to be thoughtful, prayerful and intentional. With our financial goal it’s more than just trying to figure out which of our clients will be ready for new contracts. We are encouraged to go far beyond the expected. . . even beyond the hoped for. We try to put feet to dreams. It can be scary!

And it’s not just sales goals, although those are the easiest to track on the beautiful Excel graph that Michelle Ule sets up for us each year.

I’ll share a sample of  some of the things I set as goals from a few years back. You’ll see that I’m not one of those who believe we should only attempt three to five goals. 😉 Or someone who staunchly chooses only s.m.a.r.t. goals. Guess what? There are no rules when it comes to charting your own course. Here are some of my goals:

Spiritual Goals:

  • Explore deeper prayer adventures
  • Continue to spend time with God each morning.
  • Continue to maintain Prayer Journal
  • Continue to work on Life Plan (longings, goals)
  • Map out a “Day in the Desert” for reflection/ creativity every quarter.
    • January—Wellness Week
    • 2ndQuarter—___________________________
    • 3rd Quarter—__________________________
    • 4thQuarter—___________________________

 Personal Goals:

  • Walk or exercise five days/week
  • Continue to cook healthy meals
  • In bed by 11:00 PM
  • Up by 6:00 AM
  • Continue to curtail travel (because of the havoc it creates schedule-wise)
  • Work harder in a more compact 9 – 5, M – F time frame.
  • Try not to work on the weekends. (Never on Sunday.)
  • Discover new things. Revisit all the area museums. Continue to stay inspired.
  • Continue to practice the home arts—cooking, gardening, flowers, baking, etc.

 Overall Professional Goals:  Take ample time to dream and plan. This may be the most valuable thing I do. Otherwise I’m just shuffling papers and knocking out product.

Professional Goals— Books & Such

Continue to concentrate my effort on published clients or projects with outstanding potential. Since I plan to compress my work blocks, I need to develop even better systems. I also need to control my day—being proactive instead of reactive.

Financial Goals:

  • Reach a cumulative advance level of $——-.
  • Achieve $——– gross agent receipts from Books & Such.


  • Continue to develop a more systematic method for handling workload
  • Continue to refine and maintain database and note systems— no longer relying on memory for anything.
  • Continue to improve email management
    • Handle email only once and process information in each email immediately—getting each task, proposal, request in its proper place so that it can be easily acted upon or retrieved.
  • Maintain address book religiously


  • Deepen editor friendships. Try to come up with some interesting ways to stay connected.
  • Continue to jump on opportunities immediately.
  • Continue to create bi-annual sales brochure
  • Develop at least one innovative selling tool


  • Be proactive about developing projects rather than just waiting for the right projects.
  • Explore developing writers for corporate projects such as coffee table books for companies like ———.
  • Keep track of any reprint possibilities for clients


  • Blog one day a week
  • Work with our team to raise the Books & Such cachet in the industry
  • Keep in touch with fellow agents, encouraging and nudging.

Social Network

  • Continue to use Twitter, but sparingly
  • Keep engaged on Facebook, trying to balance 1/3 professional, 1/3 personal, and 1/3 informational.

New Opportunities

  • Be prepared to set things aside if necessary in order to jump on new opportunities in this changing climate.
  • Read key trade articles to make sure I’m aware of emerging opportunities. Don’t let the minutiae of this job blind me to the big picture.

Biggest challenge: Keeping track of everything. It’s getting harder each year.

  • Use Day Journal religiously

There were several more, some too personal to share. Did I achieve them all? I wish! In fact I’m still working on many of these some five years later. That’s okay. We’re all works in progress.

If you could choose just one or two goals for 2019 that would make the biggest impact or change your life or career in the most significant way, what would it be?