I wrote this post a while ago on KBoards and as I was putting together The Independent Author: My First Year, I thought this might make a good blog post. I’ve borrowed from my KBoards posts before, so here I am doing it again! Below, I lay out how I decide what project to work on next and why I work on books in the order I do.
I don’t have a ton of titles out, but I usually write a year out, so I’ve got some titles basically in the bag that are just waiting for release. What I do, for the most part, to stay organized is pick a release date and work backwards. I’ll use my current WIP as an example:
I’m writing for 2017 now. In fact, the book I’m editing will be released at the beginning of May 2017. Previously, I was happy if I had the first draft of a manuscript done the year before its release date. Now I have more time and I’m about a quarter into the second draft of next year’s book.
Based off my releases for the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, I know I’ll have a two month preorder period between releases. That means I need to have an absolutely completed book by the beginning of March 2017 (I don’t like to push the ten-day window Amazon gives you, so when I upload a book for preorder, it’s done).
My editor usually takes about two weeks with each novel and it takes me maybe a month to apply her edits and any other finalizing the book needs. But I also need to leave time for me to format the print book (I like to do simultaneous ebook and print releases), which takes me a couple days at most. Once I know the number of pages for the print book, I can notify the cover designers to get the cover. That usually takes a week, sometimes two.
The cover is usually the last thing I do. So if I’m putting my current WIP up at the beginning of March, I’ll start formatting in early-to-mid February and contact my cover designer by mid-February. That means I need to be done editing by the beginning of February, so I would need to have an edited manuscript back to me by the end of December. Factoring in the holidays and the time it takes her to edit, I’ll want to get my book to my editor by the beginning of December. But she also books five months out, so I actually need to contact her by June or July to get in for December. By then, I should be done with my third draft and have a final word count for her so she can give me a quote.
So even though the book won’t be released for another year, I’m planning the steps now so when it gets closer to preorder date, everything will already be in place.
For a series, I like to keep it consistent so I use the same people. But I’ve experimented with other editors and cover designers. Basically, I’m happy with the cover designers and editor for my main series so I will likely stick with them. My cover designers offer me a fantastic rate and they’re very easy to work with. And at this point, my editor knows me and my writing style, so when I send her my next series, she’ll just use the same style guide that she used for my current series. She might not be the most cost-effective, but I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.