December 23, 2021 - Looking Forward to 2022

Thursday, December 23, 2021

I know we haven’t even celebrated Christmas yet, but I can’t help looking ahead because I want to ensure that next year is better than this year, at least as far as my writing and publishing career goes. Oh, there were plenty of positives, but overall I was disappointed in how many books I wrote this year. Too often, time got away from me, and it was a struggle to get words on the page—or on the screen as that’s where I do all my writing. The only way I know to get control of my writing activities is to plan ahead. This, as it turns out, isn’t as easy as it sounds.

I’ve watched several YouTube videos on planning for writers, attended a couple of free webinars, downloaded various spreadsheets that purport to help authors do planning for the New Year, and bought a fancy author’s planner which is supposed to do it all. It has sections for everything. Except it doesn’t tell you what to put in all those lists, boxes, and calendars.

There are a lot of moving parts to this process. I can guesstimate how long it will take me to write a book. And I can schedule when I’d like to release books for sale this coming year. In between is the problem. I’ve been trying to make detailed lists of what needs to be done—revising, editing, proofreading, sending it out to beta readers for review, designing or buying a cover, writing the blurb or sales description, formatting the manuscript, uploading it to Amazon, and promoting the book. At each stage there are decisions to make.

How long will it take me to revise the book? How long will it take to read it aloud? How long will my beta readers need to critically read it and give me feedback? What kind of advertising should I do? And how will I squeeze all of that into a period of three to six months?

Do I put the book on pre-order or not? There are pros and cons to this one. If I do create a pre-order, there’s tremendous pressure to meet the deadline to upload the book. Because if you mess up, you can lose the ability to do another pre-order for a whole year. But if things go right, you’ll be able to put the link to the upcoming book in your newsletter and advertising and the back of the last book, building buzz, and hopefully orders for the book, in advance.

Will I be able to find the perfect picture for the cover? Will it be easy, meaning I’ll spend less than an hour on image sites, or difficult, meaning I’ll spend d-a-y-s searching and eventually have to settle for something that I don’t really like?

Will I remember to schedule ads far enough in advance to assure they happen when the book is released? This is one of the reasons I’m intent on doing better planning this year. Some sites have long lead times (a couple of months), while others don’t let you book an ad that far in advance. I ran a sale on one of my books the last week in November. I was able to set it up on Amazon ahead of time. But then I promptly forgot about it until it had already started. Needless to say, it was too late to run any ads, so there was practically zero sales impact from the lowered price. I don’t want to have that happen in 2022!

Anyway, to give you an idea of why I’m pulling my hair out right now, I’ll end with a photo of my dining room table. Eventually, I hope to have everything in that thick, white book instead of on a plethora of notebooks and spreadsheets. Wish me luck!

Wood table with notebooks, color-coded spreadsheets, and pens

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Elise's bookshelf: currently-reading

A Clash of Kings
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tagged: currently-reading