Essay–Scheming For Release

You write the book. You finish your edits, pay an editor, pay for cover design, pay for layout. You do all these things because you’re a professional. But guess what? That requires SCHEDULES!

I have a serious problems with schedules. I can barely keep my calendar updated. I don’t think about these things. They pop up on me, surprise me, and wrestle me into panic. They’re good at it. And for the record, I’m doing my best to correct this slight oversight in my personality.

But when you have a book to release, schedules are a must. If you’re coordinating with other people, it requires emails, phone calls, and lots and lots of work. While the writer and editor are arguing over the edits, the author and designer are collaborating on what the cover should like while the author and the layout person are collaborating on how the book’s interior should look. Guess what’s involved in all these things? That’s right: the author.

This goes for independent publishing. I’ve no idea how it works at a larger publishing company where people’s jobs are to do these things. But in the independent arena, the author has to helm it all and coordinate it. It’s a serious pain in the ass. It’s a difficult journey into unkind seas and storms of complication.

If you hire the right people, they make the journey with you. Instead of forcing you to become the micro-manager, they do their jobs and manage themselves. If you trust them enough, you can spin them up and let them go do what you pay them to do–make your book the absolute best it can be.

But then….how the hell are you going to release the thing? What about pre-orders? What about marketing? What about social media? What about networking with other authors to help promote it? What about coupons? What about bundles? What about…

You get the idea. The list of possible scenarios for the actual release go on and on and on. But the biggest problem in planning that release? WHEN IS THE BOOK GOING TO BE READY?? And that’s the real sticking point.

Last night, I had a con-call with my editor and designer for “The Street.” I thought I’d kicked enough ass on the text so we would have plenty of time to get everything done. But, guess what? I’m three weeks ahead of schedule and already the window is closing. That’s the reality. So no matter how far ahead of schedule you think you are, every hour is another hour lost. And the difference between putting out a great product and a shitty one might very well depend on that one hour.

If you’re crazy enough to step into this world and choose to be professional about it, make sure you leave enough time for all these things. Scheming for the release is just as important as doing all the other work. Especially if you’re going to actually do a print-run.

So while I think about all these things, it’s time for me to get on the editing horse. I have tons of text to get ready, and very little time in which to do it.

One thought on “Essay–Scheming For Release”

  1. So you’ve jumped from developer to PM, tester and documentation specialist. And someone else is setting your deadlines. Seems to be the new normal for the artistic independent, be it literature or music or naearly any other creative process.
    Unless you have already attained mass market appeal you are stuck with managing the whole thing and doing a big chuck of the support labor.
    In some ways IT is good training for all this. Insane schedules, unreasonable demands both product and timing. ANd of course mid stream changes of direction. Yep, you’ve been trained in the best school of hard knocks.
    You have my confidence and my sympathies. But IMHO the end result will be worth the effort.
    Best of luck

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