Monday, April 30, 2012

Self-Imposed Deadlines

When working with a publisher, you have set deadlines; unless the publisher runs into problems on their end, you must meet the deadlines in order to have your book published. If the publisher says they need editing changes by a certain date, do your best to meet the deadline.

If you are a self-pubbed author, using a place like to print your books, you have to set your priorities and try to adhere to your own deadlines. What if you miss your self-imposed deadline? Is it a big deal? It may be on yourself but in the end, you know what must done in order to get your book ready to be published.

Set realistic deadlines. Sometimes this is harder than it sounds, especially if you are working with an illustrator or cover artist or graphic designer. These can be all the same person or several different people. Unless you know how to do book layouts and/or have the proper software to accomplish a professional book layout, you will need someone to do that. If you are writing a children's story that needs illustrations, you will need an illustrator, who probably should also design your cover. Make sure you are working with someone who has a good work ethic and adheres to your timeline as much as possible.

This is the tricky part because we all know life happens and sometimes deadlines have to changed, moved up to a better date for both parties or sometimes they inadvertently get missed.

What's the best way to stay on track with self-imposed deadlines? Keep a calendar (either a wall, desk pad calendar or pocket one works well) or some sort of worksheet (can be an excel spreadsheet or a google docs spreadsheet) so that you can keep track of when you want to get your book published. Along with this is the marketing planning that needs to be implemented as soon as you start writing your first draft. Does this always happen? No, again, life happens. If you are a working parent and have small children still at home, it is harder to work on the whole plan in large chunks. By time you get to spend time on writing, it is usually late night or the wee hours of the morning and your sleep hours start dwindling tremendously. If you work outside the home and don't have kids still at home, again you are under stress from your day-to-day job and social life that it is hard to actually spend as much time as you would like on your writing life.

If you fall into a different category, you have to find the right balance. For this writer, teenagers demand much of her time outside of a full-time job. I have to put forth self-imposed deadlines. I need to be more diligent about sticking to my deadlines so that I can get my books out, especially my state books. These have been neglected for the past year but that's not to say I haven't been working on my writing or publishing or marketing during that time. I just have let my self-imposed deadlines become something of the past. When I first began self-pubbing, I worked with my illustrator and we stayed pretty close to our deadlines. She then graduated high school and started college and deadlines are becoming harder and harder to meet.

I guess one could say that self-imposed deadlines are like setting goals and checking them off as they occur. Again, one has to consider everything and everyone involved in the process in order to set realistic deadlines. I had a chat session with my illustrator so that we could work on setting some deadlines. Some items have been neglected for many months and I really need them fixed before moving on to other state stories. Hopefully with exams winding down and the rest of the school stuff slacking off for a bit before summer classes start, she can dedicate the time needed to get her graphic designing business back on track.

Not all the self-imposed deadlines involve others as we have all heard that the writing profession is a lonely one. We all have to sit down and set our own deadlines for different tasks. My deadlines are to at least get several (possibly 3) state stories written within a month to six weeks (hopefully by mid June) and to my editor. Again, she is busy and may not have time to edit so I may be in search of a new editor. If I can at least get the stories written, when it is time for my illustrator to do her magic, they should be ready to go.

The other deadlines involve my short stories and getting them published as ebooks. We have deadlines for "Butterfly Halves" (a YA fantasy) to be published in May; "La Cave" (a past lives romance story) sometime in July or August and "Zombies Amuck" (a children's R.L Stine like story) to be published in October (I think having a zombies story published during October is very appropriate). The last deadline I have is to have Imogene: Innocense Lost completed by November. I hope to have my thoughts for cover to my illustrator so that even before I decide to publish I'll have something to market.

I will strive harder to at least meet most of my self-imposed deadlines and let the rest fall where it may as far as my editor and illustrator are concerned. They know what they have to do and what deadlines they need to meet. They know what their priorities are.

So I ask you, do you use self-imposed deadlines in your business? If so, leave a comment and let us know what kind of self-imposed deadlines you have set for yourself, even if you are not a writer or working on a current project. See you all in the postings - E :)

1 comment:

Susanne Drazic said...

Great post, Elysabeth. Looking forward to reading your upcoming short stories.