Sunday, September 24, 2017

Manuscript Organization and the Independent Writer

I wish I could tell you that I have some amazing and simple organization skills that I can pass on to you.
I don’t.
What I can tell you is what NOT to do.
I’ve learned everything the hard way, even making some mistakes more than once. The problem is I write long books, therefore only using things like editing, proofing, Mail Chimp, uploads to Amazon, and Author Central, as infrequently as once a year. It is difficult to establish a learning curve for those things that doesn’t dip into nothingness in between uses.

Here are a few hints on how to avoid costly errors.

1.     Slow down.  I know, I know, everyone tells you to crank out your books as fast as possible and get them uploaded immediately. But having once uploaded the wrong manuscript, one with errors still in place, I can assure you that taking time to double check your manuscript every time you get one back, and before you upload it, will pay off.

2.     Delete early versions. Develop a system that works for you. Date or number every version of your work, and get rid of the old ones as soon as possible. Again, number and/or date them to avoid confusion.

3.     Keep a writing journal. Devote a notebook just to keep track of your promotions, your proofing, editing, formatting, reminders, etc. Date entries and list tips on using things that come up only once in a while. A large planner works great for this and is worth the investment to keep everything in one place.

4.     Post a weekly goal list in front of your computer.  I use a small index card every week and list about five things that I’d like to get done that week, then post it in front of my computer. One of the items is always the number of pages I want to get done that week in the latest book. Change the list weekly and check off what you’ve accomplished.

Dear readers,
We are having a very warm weekend here in northwest Wisconsin as I write this. I’m one of those weird people who love fall and winter, and I’m eagerly waiting for some cool, crisp days!
I’ve just added my latest book to Amazon, and as usual, made some serious errors in the process, which inspired this blog. Hopefully, you will find it helpful.
Have a happy autumn,