On Wednesdays, I'll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…
Since I'm going to self-publish my novel Little Miss Lovesick next month, I'm doing a lot of reading and research on all the things that need to be done. In Zoe Winters' book, Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author, she suggests that authors remember they are running a business.
My little business school heart sang when I read that. She's so right, but often creative people ignore the business side of things. What we all need to remember is that it doesn't need to be difficult. A little bit of planning and organization is better than none at all.
For instance, the first quick budget only took me about half an hour (after I did the research, maybe two to three hours altogether). Looks like I'll be able to publish the ebook version of my book for under $600. I'll create a 2012 budget that will include the costs of contacting an attorney to decide about the form of business I want to use, forming an LLC, buying ISBNS, and the expenses involved in self-publishing two or more additional books.
The production schedule seemed more difficult for me. (Isn't figuring out how long it will take us to write the next book difficult for lots of writers?) So I broke it down into parts. The first part includes just getting Little Miss Lovesick up for sale. I broke that down into a list of what all needs to get done for the book to be ready to publish. I figured out when I'll need to decide for certain on the cover art, when I'll need the completed cover, when I'll need the final polish and copy edits done, etc. My production schedule will be tweaked as I use it, which will make the schedule for the next book more accurate.
For the second section of the production schedule, I have a rough idea of what needs to be done when for the next book to be completed. I have an idea for the covers in a series of related books, and I've planned a photo shoot with some friends to create the photo art for all the books over a weekend. I'll revise this schedule based on how I do with Little Miss Lovesick, see if I have a good idea of how long things will take.
And of course, since John is almost done with Happy Feet 2, I have to plan the time it takes to pack and move into that schedule. We don't know yet if John's next job will be in Australia, New Zealand or back in America, but I know how long it's taken in the past to make an intercontinental move so I'll use that for now.
Why a production schedule when I don't have a contract from an outside company forcing me to complete my work on time? Because it's part of creating a successful business. And that's what I want. It's not necessary for every writer; we all have different goals for our writing. But if you're serious about turning your writing into your paying day job, it's something you need.