After I published my first book, The Witch’s Cat and The Cooking Catastrophe, I wasn’t sure what to do next. I hadn’t planned to publish any more books. I didn’t really consider myself a ‘proper author’ yet. I dabbled with some marketing, did some school visits, I did some events at bookshops and libraries but then I just stalled. What was I going to do next?
It took me over two years to publish my next book, Pirate Mouse and by then many of my young readers had already moved on. That’s one of the challenges of publishing for children. Children grow up quickly, so you are always needing to find new customers/readers.
That’s when I realised I needed to systemise my writing and publishing process, so that I had a pipeline of books coming through, allowing me to keep generating interest in my books and to maximise my current readership.
This has been easier said than done at times, but basically what this means is that I am planning ahead and concurrently working on lots of books that are all at different stages.
I roughly draft one new story a month. From there they enter the process of redrafting, editing, illustrating, designing etc and move through it at their own speed. Some books happen more quickly. Sometimes my first draft is a good one and it doesn’t take too much shaping. Sometimes they take a bit more wrestling though and it can take a few months before it's ready.
Unlike traditional publishers, I don’t have firm deadlines for publishing my books – I prefer to work ‘organically’ and once a book is nearing completion, it will move into the launch and marketing phase. As an indie-author publisher, I find it unnecessarily stressful to have firm publishing deadlines. I don’t need to take pre-orders, and I have the freedom to hit the publish button as and when I’m ready.
Just to give you an insight, at the minute I’m working on:
My first Witch’s Cat chapter book – pending final printed proofs it is almost ready to launch.
Ogg The Super Frog – illustrations have just been signed off
Blast Off – in the design phase
Witch’s Cat 3 – On about draft 4 – currently with my editor.
The Fairies 2 – about to begin illustration
Chapter book 2 – Planned and chapter 1 written
Translating my current titles into various languages.
I find this process helps me keep my options open – if one book stalls, it’s okay because I have another coming right up behind it. I can be flexible. It’s also good for my mental health and (in theory) doesn’t ever put me under too much pressure.
One question you might be asking is, how do I fund this? Well, I treat it like a business. Initially, this required an investment in time and money. Now I’m lucky that my current titles fund the new ones. Every new title is an asset – a potential revenue stream. This is all working towards my ultimate goal (see the previous article) of becoming financially free.
Are you ready to systemise your publishing? Where are you on the journey? Wherever you are, you might find this publishing checklist helps you – particularly if you’re ready to systemise.
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