The other day, I was telling one of my friends how close I am to finishing the rough draft for my second book.
“Oh, I can’t wait to read it!” she said. “So I should look for it on Amazon sometime soon, right?”
I smiled to myself and then explained that my rough draft doesn’t quite equate to the finished, published version. It’s just one of the milestones in the process.
My day job involves managing catalog development at my workplace, and I’ve learned that the best way to plan catalog production is to work backwards. Your book project planning can work much the same way.
Start with the finish line in sightWhen I say “work backwards,” I mean you must first determine your deadline or define your expectation. Do you want your book to be orderable in December? What do you have to do to achieve that?
For example, let’s take a look at two key dates on the timeline of my first book... in reverse.
- November 30, 2010 – Published, available on Amazon.com
- November 4, 2010 – Uploaded manuscript to self-publishing service
Some other key steps in your planning process should include:
- Researching your publishing options: This is an ongoing project (unless you have a publishing house just waiting for your manuscript or an agent who is working to sell your book for you).
- Editing your draft: If you are confident in your command of the English language and undertake the task yourself, you will have to keep yourself accountable to your book’s calendar. If you contract a professional editor, you’ll need to get a quote up front to help you estimate the time factor involved.
- Completing your rough draft: This is a huge achievement, but don’t give in to the temptation to sit back and relax. You still have a lot of work in front of you.
- Getting started: As I talked about in my previous post on metrics, it’s important to set word and page count goals to keep yourself disciplined and accountable. Sure, your estimates are subject to change, but they give you something to work toward and help keep you on track.