Why I Need a Production Schedule

Hello everyone.  J here.  No, no.  You haven’t missed half the week.  Vivienne is on hiatus, so I’m filling in.  Everybody knows that I just got my second novel (The Peacock Tale) out the door, right?  Well, the process didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted it to.  That got me to thinking about the future.  I’ve got a lot of things in the hopper, but the next thing I plan to publish is a novella called The Fearsome Dane.  It’s a companion piece to The Peacock Tale. Click here to see a sneak peek.

The Fearsome Dane is pretty much written at this point. But I learned some important things about publishing this past fall.  I’m an Indie Published author with limited financial resources.  That means I am chief, cook and bottle washer in my little business.  What I can’t do myself, I need to find inexpensive ways to accomplish.

I don’t know what title is between Novice and Journeyman, but that’s where I am in my writing career.  I’ve done a lot of critiquing in the past, and unless/until Lynn Kurland or Julia Quinn offers to be my critique partner, I don’t really need advice from other novice writers when I’m creating a story.  But I certainly need more eyes on it than just my own.  Beta Readers fill this important role.  My beta readers for The Peacock Tale gave me a lot of incredibly valuable feedback that ended up making the story much better than it was when I thought it was finished. 

But beta readers are not editors.  They offer big picture feedback.  What aspects of the story/writing are working and what are those that are not.  After my first book, The Cordovan Vault, I knew that I needed an editor – someone to find those word-choice type mistakes that I didn’t see.  I hired someone to edit The Peacock Tale for me.  This was an added financial and time expense.  I didn’t plan the timing well enough, and the weather situation here in Connecticut slowed the editorial process down, too.  All of this meant that I was down to the wire in meeting my publication date.  But I have to tell you, the editor did a FABULOUS job!  She pulled more “that”s out of my manuscript than I even realized were there.  That alone (ha ha) was worth her very reasonable fee. 

I’ve learned this year, that I like to have time to review three proof copies before I decide the book is really finished.  As chief, cook and bottle washer, I’m also the layout girl.  I’ve learned to wait to do the e-book layout until the print book is finished.  Finished, finished.  Not mostly done…but really and truly complete. 

It also takes time for the digital stuff to trickle through the internet.  I publish my e-books on Smashwords, and they forward the files on to a bunch of additional sales venues.  Like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and the Apple iStore.  That takes time.  Like a few weeks.  I’m not at a point in my career where all types of the book need to be on sale at the same moment, ala JK Rowling.  Loading the books up to Amazon and B&N myself (instead of waiting for the Smashwords-trickle) takes time for them to show up.  Even now, The Peacock Tale’s cover art isn’t showing on B&N.  I haven’t had time to figure out why and fix it.  I’ll get there.

But all of this means I need a realistic production schedule.  I’m going to start with a proposed date for my next release, then work backward, hitting all the milestones and deliverables, just like I did when I worked for somebody else.  Just because I’m the boss in this little enterprise, doesn’t mean I can fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.  I’m not a pantser.  That doesn’t work for me in any other aspect of my life…what would make me think it would here? 

Today’s Secret: Check back next week when I’ll reveal my production schedule.  Maybe it will be helpful to you.

Today’s Question: What’s holding you back from meeting your goals? 

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5 thoughts on “Why I Need a Production Schedule”

  1. Hey J. I totally hear you about the production schedule and all the wonky things that get in the way of meeting those deadlines. There are just way too many variables in the process to get it all together at the same time. I’m still pantsing my way through despite my best efforts to get it all down on paper and plan, plan, plan. I too like those three proof copies, but I find that that is an unrealistic goal for me with the back to back release schedule and hiring out the editing and proof reading. I’ll be hard pressed to get the print copies back from Createspace by the 15th. I’m shooting for this weekend to upload for distribution. Hopefully, they end up going live by release day…geesh…what a ride! Looking forward to seeing your production schedule. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It is hard! I’ll tell you a secret – I only got 2 proofs for The Peacock Tale and I’d really like to have been able to do 3 but the timing just wasn’t there. Of course, I’m confident that it’s clean, but…

  2. What I really need in my life is a production ASSISTANT. You know, somebody you can boss around and to whom you can assign those tedious tasks, and somebody to maintain your calendar for you. You and PJ need one too, I suspect 🙂 Good luck, J! Can’t wait for THE FEARSOME DANE. I loved the excerpt and I love that title!

  3. I’m holding out for a Brain Pal. Unfortunately, it’s from John Scalzi’s book – Old Man’s War. But if they were real, it would be so cool to have an assistant built into your head. As long as it didn’t go all “Hal” from Space Odessey on you!

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