Project and Time Management for Authors

Publishing 101

Step 7: Project and Time Management

[the business of writing]

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You’ll be excited to read that this is the last post on the business of writing in your Publishing 101 journey. Yay! We can start moving to more exciting things like your manuscript, and layout and distribution!

However, before we move there, I want to prepare you for managing your time. Believe it or not, time management is harder for us creative types. We like to go with the flow…but when we just rely on the flow we will soon find ourselves in the rapids where things are moving more quickly than we can manage. Going with the flow sometimes works for writing and the creative process, but it seldom works successfully in publishing.

There are actually two types of management…time management and project management–which has aspects of time management involved because there are some tasks that rely on a previous task.

Puzzle_nattavutWhen you are talking about project management, you need to consider that the manuscript needs to be finished and edited before you can lay it out into book format. You need to realize that the front cover should be created fairly early in the process so you can use the graphic for promotion. Additionally, you should be sure to start your marketing and networking before you actually have the book finished or at least while it is in it’s editing process. You need to remember to have your ISBN and barcodes before the back cover is designed so you can plug them in. You will also need to manage your distribution sites and printing and marketing events so when the book launches you will have all the pieces fall together in perfect harmony.

Coach’s Note: Sometimes it helps to have a little bit of guidance when you are managing the project and all its pieces so you don’t become too overwhelmed. Lucky for you, if you are following this blog, you have met someone who can easily make all of these puzzle pieces fit together! If you’d like to discuss this publishing process, please contact me here to schedule a free call where I can answer your publishing questions.

Now, you can have the best project management plan ever created, but if you don’t manage your time well, you will find yourself drowning in the rapids as the process quickens!

And here is the rub. Time management for a creative mind is a challenge! There are many books and apps out there that can help you (two of my go-tos: Time Management for the Creative Person by Lee Silber and Organizing for Success by Kenneth Zeigler) My best advice is to find a plan that makes sense to you and then stick with it. Just don’t wing it any more.

Here are some important things to consider when you are looking to manage your time.

  1. Work on your publishing and promotion every day. Remember when you were writing your manuscript? The only way the book got written was when you sat down religiously and wrote it. Amazing concept, isn’t it. In the same way a book doesn’t write itself, your publishing and promotion aren’t gonna work themselves either. You have to dedicate some time to it. An hour a day is good. More is better. A Saturday every week will be better than nothing, but really, you need to work the process every day if you want to see positive results.
  2. Put down your distractions. Reading email, pining through Pinterest, tweeting about your book–while all good things–will not get your book published. When you do your social media (which is important) you need to set a time limit. Set a timer for 20 minutes, post your thoughts, network, watch a cat video or two, and then when the timer rings, put it away. Another good recommendation is to attend to those items ONLY after you’ve put in your time managing your publishing and promotion.
  3. Be deliberate about your work. Understand what needs to be done when; have a plan and then work it! When you know what you need to do today to accomplish the next steps to your goal, you will be much more productive in the hour you give yourself.
  • Make a list of to-dos so when you sit down you know what to work on (I’d love to give you one of these, but its not that simple to make a task list to fit everyone’s individual needs!)
  • Keep your papers in a tabbed binder or folder so you know where to find them
  • Keep your computer files in named folders to make them easy to find and access
  • Focus on the task at hand–even if it means turning off your email and social media notifications

One day soon I will have a program ready for you to plug your information in and then put it into action. Right now self publishing is still changing so much each week that I am working on getting the right kind of process for you so it will be easily adaptable as the self publishing canvas changes. That program will also have a project management tool with it as well!

Until then, learn to manage the pieces of the publishing puzzle by creatively managing your time!

Your Action Steps:

  • Make a schedule for yourself where you will work on your publishing consistently.
  • Make a task list of the items you will need to do (and in what order) to publish your book
  • Schedule your free call with MyPublishingCoach to work out any questions you might have about your publishing schedule

photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/nattavut

 

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