How I Manage Book Projects

This post isn’t meant to be instructional. Everyone has their own process for writing books, but one of the ways we come up with our own unique methods is by seeing what other people are doing and adapting what we learn to our needs. I know I’ve done that. I’d like to share my approach here because it might help my readers understand the progress bars over in the Work in Progress section of the site’s side bar. If another writer finds this information helpful in anyway, that’s a bonus.

My editorial/production schedule is organized like this:

Phase Weeks
Planning 10
First Draft 16
Alpha Read 2
Second Draft 2
Beta Read 4
Third Draft 2
Editing 4
Fourth Draft 2
Proofread/Fifth Draft 2
Formatting 1
Release 1
Total 46

Each title takes about eleven months to complete, but with some creative multitasking, I can publish three books a year on this schedule. In the next section, I’ll explain how.

Multitasking Projects

My primary production goal is to write 5,000 first draft words per week. I try to get at least 1,000 words written every weekday, but if I have to use part of the weekend to meet my goal, I will. That goal gives me about 250,000 words per year, which is enough for three 80,000-word novels.

Of course, producing a book requires a lot more than just writing the first draft, so while I’m writing the first draft of one book, I’m also working on the planning phase of my next project and the revision/production phases of my prior project.

There’s some overlap between the phases. For example, while I was writing the first draft of First Moon, I was planning my forthcoming Western Fantasy series (untitled as of this writing) during the weeks when I was waiting for other people to get back to me on Vaetra Unleashed (e.g. alpha read, beta read, and editing).

In general, I have three book projects going at once, and I’m actively working on two of them at a time. I write in the morning (my best “brain time”) and I do planning, revision, and other tasks in the afternoon.

Progress Bars

I’ve tried various methods for showing readers where I am using progress bars, but in the end, I’ve settled on an overall progress indicator. I figure readers mostly care about when the next book is going to be released. They don’t need or want a blow-by-blow. However, for those who are interested, I also put a “status” indicator under the progress bar that shows where I am in the above schedule.

Speaking of progress, I’m happy to announce that I just got Vaetra Unleashed back from my editor and I’ve already started on the fourth draft revisions. The changes are pretty minor so far, so I’m not anticipating any more delays. I should be able to release it before the end of October.

In other happy news, I just finished the first draft of First Moon, my new Contemporary Paranormal Fantasy. It’s a big departure from the world of the Vaetra Chronicles, and I hope my readers like it.

I’ll be starting on the first draft of my Western Fantasy story this week. I still need to come up with a title for the book, and I need to get a better handle on the genre. In a sense, the story is Steampunk set in the American West. Is that just Steampunk? Is it a Western with Steampunk influences? I’ll let you know when I figure it out.


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