Author Steps – Whooshing Deadlines for a Self-Publishing
Posted on May 31, 2013
When I added the calendar count down to a finished rough draft on the right, I envisioned myself in a virtual writer‘s garret for weeks on end with nothing but time to knock out my intended word count and finish the initial story. As a lifelong expert at procrastination and pulling things out at the last minute, I should have known that giving myself a firm deadline would do nothing more than activate my stubborn side who said I could write more words the next day. Plus, life in general tends to get in the way of the best plans. All of this to say – I’m not going to make my rough draft deadline.
I am reminded of the Douglas Adams quote, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” In my general life, it doesn’t change that much that I’m not going to meet my early-June deadline because I’ve pushed my deadline for my first completed novel back for ages. So what’s one more day, week, or month?
One thing is my pride. I am no farther this year in my writing career than I was last year. Now, we don’t write so that we can boast about it. Okay, we do. But I’ve got a yearly professional dinner coming up, and when I get asked what I’ve been doing with myself recently, I wish that I could say that I’d finished a book and it was in the editorial process. I still may be able to do that if I push hard. But it does affect my pride that I don’t have a finished product ready to tell them to go purchase and write a glowing review.
Another more worrying aspect is that not meeting a deadline can affect the team of professionals a self-published writer has set up. I am fortunate that my editor has a more open schedule and is aware to expect my work in June. But I had to change my cover designer based on their schedule because most of them get booked well in advance. The one I will reveal at a later date stays busy but works fast with excellent results. This means I have to pay for such service, and that will add to my final start-up bill. But if my editor were not a former colleague and now friend, I could be throwing off her schedule by not producing when I said I would. As she gets busier, I will have to be a better task master on myself to get my writing done.
I have a couple of beta readers who are reading the work in its roughest form as I go. To assume that they have all the time in the world to put my material first whenever I can get it to them is also disrespectful, and I could risk not getting the feedback I truly need to get my work in the best order possible prior to the editing process. The better my manuscript is, the less editing work it may need, and therefore the less money spent on editing.
As a potential self-publishing author, I am only hurting myself. The summer time is a great time to have a book out. My particular WIP would be a wonderful summer read. However, if it’s not ready until August, I may be risking potential readers. Also, in the world of self-published works, the best way to gain momentum is to keep momentum. That means that when Book One is released, Book Two better be considerably in the works if not moving into the editorial process. The most success goes to indie authors who produce books no later than three to four months after their last one, especially if it’s part of a series.
The biggest reason I should stop sitting back and watch that deadline whoosh past me is that I’m ready to say I’ve finished something. I’ve got short stories, but I’ve never fully finished one of my novels. This one is all planned out. While it’s gone through a few changes, the overall story has never changed. And I’m ready to finish the first draft no matter what state it’s in or what gets changed in the long run. I think finishing it will be a huge accomplishment and step to becoming a more established writer. Plus, I’ve got ideas for other books and series. There are currently three books in line for this current series. Then I’ve got an urban fantasy that could align with the New Adult genre.
Last, it should be apparent through my posts about publishing that things are changing. I don’t want to be left behind taking steps that worked once but are no longer as successful. I would rather be on the forefront of change and challenge. In order to do that, I need to finish here and take my word count to my manuscript. May you find the motivation you need to meet your deadlines!