Wednesday 23 March 2016

How I Write #13: Managing Your Writing Projects and Publications

Some of you may prefer to concentrate on one manuscript at a time; however, if you are anything like me, you may well have several on the go at any one time; especially if you are submitting to anthology calls etc. So, I thought I'd share how I organise my writing schedule and information.

First I have a spreadsheet listing all the calls I am interested in (plus any other ongoing stories). In this, I record publisher info, word limits, due dates etc. Next to that, I leave columns to tick off each draft as I complete it. For novellas and novels, I tend to do 3-4 drafts, followed by a final proofread prior to submission; for shorts it's 2-3 drafts, then the final proof. I like to leave a little gap between drafts when I can, so this table allows me to keep a note of where I'm up to on each, and keep an eye on upcoming due dates for submissions.

On my flash drive, I have separate folders for works in progress, works submitted, works not yet contracted/finished but available, and works contracted. I move individual story folders between these as appropriate.

Once a work is contracted, I enter the details into a Publications spreadsheet, where I track information such as contract period, ISBN, publication date, blog tour date etc. I started this recently to keep a complete record since when books are withdrawn and no longer on Amazon etc. you may no longer know the ISBN etc. for future reference.

Finally I have my Finances spreadsheet, where I keep a record of income and expenditure for all my works, whether self-published or traditionally published. For the former, this might include formatting costs and royalties; for the latter it could be payment for promotion and royalties etc. I run these sheets by financial year so I am ready with a clear tally of income and expenses come tax return time.

How you run your own records will be up to you and will depend upon your own personalities and preferences; but if you're a little OCD and super-organised like me, something along these lines might work well for you.

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