Putting My Writing Back on Track + Changing my Deadlines

When I started this journey to being a published author and not just a closet writer in 2005, I decided to take the indie author route rather than the traditional published author one because the biggest perk for me was the ability to work around the ranch and hubby’s busy schedules. Once we added the kids in 2006 & 2007, I was glad I did. With house work to do, meals to cook, kids and hubby to care for, a ranch to help run, book cover designs to do for clients, and books to write, I doubt I would have made any of the deadlines if I was accepted into traditional publishing.

The last five years since I published my first book has only proven me right in my assumptions.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t keep trying to meet my own personal deadlines to further my career as an author. As an indie author and publisher, I am responsible for every aspect of my business, I need to make sure I have time to do everything that needs to be completed or contract the work out. If I don’t have deadlines for books, then things will just slip by and my books won’t get done.

One of the tools I’ve adopted from an author/blogger named Tracey was the production schedule. It helps me know what I want to write and when to plan my tasks, if I’m still on track with my goals and meeting my deadlines, and if I need to shift my schedule because I fell behind somewhere. It’s vital to helping me create my publishing schedule.

Today I reserved some time to…

Check Out said Publishing Schedule

The first thing I did this morning after sending the kids off to school, was open the publishing schedule file I created at the end of 2014 to see how far behind I was. I figured about 8 months since my writing and cover design workload was downsized and then placed on hold.

It was almost a relief to find out I wasn’t as far behind as I thought. I had 12 stories planned to be published in 2016. Of those stories, one was a novel (about 95,000 words), three were short novels (about 50,000 words), six were short stories (under 10,000 words), and two were novellas (around 30,000). Of those stories, seven of them were co-authored works (which always move faster than my own writing). Of those seven, one was cancelled, two were placed on hold, and the deadlines of the other four are being pushed back. That left me with nine stories.

One of the short novels is done and another two are short partial finished. One of the short stories is done and the others are in various stages of being done. I might have gotten my stories written and published close to their original deadlines. However, I decided to push all my story deadlines back.

This way I can make all the deadlines, get a head start on publishing more, and hopefully create a little buffer time for when everything goes to Hell and drags me along for the ride.

Note: When I get the chance, I need to contact my co-authors to see how they want to adjust their part of the schedule.

Next I…

Created my Production Schedule

Taking the publishing information about what I want to produce or publish, I figured out what tasks I needed to accomplish this year and next. I like to plan my schedule about 12 months in advance so I always have something in the pipeline. This includes things like planning, writing, editing, cover design, getting an editor to look over it, formatting, uploading, etc. After 10 books of my own and around 20 of other writers, I have a good idea of how long most tasks takes to do, and then I always add a few days to a week for problems that might arise.

And since I had some gaps in the Schedule I took a page from Dean Wesley Smith’s book Think like a Publisher and created…

The Book Inventory

A book inventory lets you know what is finished and ready to publish, what needs to be finished so it can be published, and what still needs to be written and is still an idea in your head. I usually keep a running list of stories in various stages of production. I find this helps me figure out my future inventory and work out my schedule.

One of the things I started to do was place my word counts to the side of each title and my projected word count so I knew how far each has to go. I did this after I wrote a word count of 5,000 words next to a short story and then forgot it was a short story. So when I looked over the list months later and saw 5,000 words I bypassed it twice for something that needed less work. My projected word count would have been 10,000 and 5,000 would have been less work to finish then the 30,000 word novel I choose instead.