As a full time, writer, it can be crazy sometimes trying to juggle edits with drafts, with outlining, and that is just the writing side of things. Today, we are giving our top 10 tips for keeping it all organized. If you are reader, this gives you a peek into the life of a writer and all the balls that have to stay in the are while we are writing the next book. I am hoping to steal some ideas from the other talented writers who are also hopping today, so let’s get started.
My top 10 tips for keeping my writer business organized start with knowing your goal.
10. Know your goal. Is this just a side hustle for you? Are you hoping to quit the day job and do this full time? Or do you just love to bring readers your stories and don’t have any great income expectations?
By knowing your end goal, it will tell you how much time and energy you need to put into the different aspects of being an author. Not to mention being clear on how you plan to get there. Are you going full on indie or are you gearing your writing toward traditional publishers.? While many of the tasks are the same, they are still a bit different depending on you’re the route you choose.
9. Think about each aspect of your business as a different “hat” and take time to work on each aspect.
I have gotten “business” advice before in the form of “You just have to write the next book.” You can’t really argue with logic on the surface. You won’t be an author for long if you never produce your next book. The problem with this mantra that is handed around to new authors like the boons farm bottle at high school party, is that if no one knows who you are or that you have a book, or are writing a book then your business won’t go much beyond the writing phase.
So, yes publication is your main objective, but you need to keep these other categories in mind and make sure you are giving time to them all throughout your month.: Promo/Marketing, Newsletter/Blog/content, Admin/platform.
I have found that most everything I do daily can be put into one of these categories. By giving them a name, it becomes easier to establish what you need to do in each on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.
No matter if you are indie or traditionally published you will have to content with each of these and none of them should be ignored for too long.
8. Lists are your friend
With the planner I created, and tweak on an almost yearly basis to make it work better for me the more familiar I am with my business, I have created a place to keep the tasks that have to be
Please keep in mind, I am a full-time author, so I do not have an outside job. I am also an empty nesters, so no more hellish school, and sports schedules either. However, there are some days, I sit down at my desk and can’t think for the life of my what needs to get done that day. It happens.
By having a way to record your lists or tasks it takes the pressure off.
7. Have a designated place where you do your author work
This is both an organizational tool and a productivity hack. When you have one place where you keep your author business, even if it is in a rolling cart you are less apt to misplace or mis organize something when you are done with it.
Also, there is psychological data that suggests when you have a set place or atmosphere where you always do your work, your brain is programed to slip into work mode when you settle in, so more productivity.
I understand that with small houses, kids, etc. the only place you might have is your dining room table after dinner. Buy a pretty basket, or just a plastic tote and leave all your “stuff” there close at hand for you.
Basically, anything will work, but when you sit on the couch one evening, and just leave your planner, or have to pick up quickly and just start shoving things, when you sit down the next time in your bedroom, you may find that either your planner isn’t where you left it or those lists are all out of order. Havin a specific home for your author business is huge.
6. Always have a plan that is shared with anyone who may impact that plan.
I do not make my own covers, and I also do not put out a book that I have not had professionally edited. A couple of times the wrong file got uploaded to Amazon. If you were the unfortunate reader who got that book before the update, you understand why an editor is so important.
Some authors have publicists, or virtual assistants. Then as a traditional author you have your agent, your editor, and the publishing house’s publishing schedule. Oh, and did I forget to mention all your kid’s events, and your husband’s quidditch tournament he just can’t miss.
We have full lives, us writers, so when we are planning our publishing empire, we need to keep those people closest to us in the loop.
My husband, who is very flexible understands that when he looks on the calendar and sees that I have a release coming up, that he will be eating pizza and take out for the foreseeable future. That is also when he takes out his guitar and practices in the evenings, if I am on a heavy deadline.
My cover designer and editor are amazing, but they have other clients, so before I set my own publishing dates, I have to reach out and see if they have the space.
This will also help you keep deadlines, if you are beholden to get your manuscript to your editor by a certain date, or she will have to bump you to next month, you can’t be binging Netflix and not writing your draft.
When I get to the point where I am ready to start drafting my next novel, I sit down with a calendar and make a plan. What days will I be writing? Are there any days I can’t write because of some other obligation? How long does it normally take me to do revisions? Will I be writing during flu season and anticipate at least one week of being sick? Then I reach out to see when those people who will need to lay hands on my work will need each part. From there I can come up with a deadline, but no matter how alone writers feel, when it comes to publication we do not live in a vacuum.
5. Always plan in a buffer. It will always take you longer than you think.
If you have worked in business for very long, I am sure you have heard the term scope creep. It is when you plan for a project to be finished on a set day, but then as you dive in the scope of the project increases and pushes out the deadline.
It happens. So, instead of being the martyr and standing firm that you will keep to your hard deadline, make sure you plan buffers into those places where they count.
Have to get your manuscript to your editor a month before your launch date? Then make sure you set your deadline for finishing your revisions a month and two weeks out from your launch date. That may save you the middle of the night editing frenzy to be able to hit send on time, because little Johnny chose the week before as the exact moment to have his appendix burst. If you give yourself that two buffers, it will help when things don’t go as planned, and they never do.
I don’t know how many times even my traditionally published friends have had to reach out to their editors and ask for an extension on their deadline because stuff happens.
4. Stick to your plan.
There is a lot of shiny out there in the world of publishing. Join this box set, enter this contest, learn how to do these ads. The list is never ending.
Decide at the beginning of your year, that could be tomorrow btw, no one will know but you, what you plan on publishing that year then keep your eye on the prize. Nothing can derail a writer more than jumping onto a bright shiny project that isn’t part of their plan.
Or, worst killing your market budget because you got an email about a great marketing opportunity that you could pass up. Yes, like I said above things happen, plans change, but too often writers will abandon one project for another, and never finish the one they planned for, or worse decide they can do it all and add one more project. I mean if you already planned for three full length novels, really what’s adding just one more?
STICK TO THE PLAN!
3. When all else fails work on the next book
Remember way back at the beginning I said someone’s business advice to write the next book? So, you had a horrible day at work, the kids are screaming, and the pizza delivery guy is late. You have only two hours to work on your business and you already have a headache. What do you do?
You get the words down. Don’t even take out your planner that night, just open your laptop and write the next chapter. In twenty years, it won’t matter that you didn’t post that cute promo to Facebook or email that person about a newsletter swap. So, take a deep breath and remember why you are doing this job, and write the words.
2. Plans change.
Many of the suggestions I am making are more like pirate law, not hard and fast. Our lives change. Our priorities change and you need to not be horrified by the idea of having to take out the white out and moving things around in your planner.
In the publishing industry things are changing all the time. It is like living on top of a lava field with the land underneath you always shifting.
One day your Amazon ads are working the next not so much. Know that you are not the only one who is continually adjusting and pivoting, but don’t do it on a whim, make sure you are basing your decisions on sound data and fact, not just the next big thing.
1. Most important: Give yourself grace.
You are never going to do everything right all the time, and before you get your ads to work, you may spend more than you make.
There is nothing you can do today that will so horribly impact your tomorrow as an author that you won’t be able to writ anymore. Well, don’t do anything illegal. You can write from prison, but I am certain the royalties will go to pay for your room and board.
I am having to learn a new skill, software, system almost everyday and sometimes that alone will alter my plan, but in the end if you keep your eye on publishing the next book, and make sure that all your efforts are going into that, you will be fine.
I hope this list helped and I hope I didn’t scare anyone off. If you are a reader, I hope your found this interesting.
Next up we have Leslie Hachtel
Her book memories never die is on sale for $.99 get it here!