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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indie Life / Writing Wibbles

Welcome, Indie Lifers, to the free-range insane asylum! Don’t forget to hit the linky at the end, and see what other indies have to say about their travails, triumphs, and tips this month.

The Almighty Checklist

As all indies know, there’s more to publishing than writing the book. Covers, editing, formatting, publicity… it can get overwhelming, especially if you have several projects in various stages.

The good news is, each book needs the same things to happen before you hit that Upload button. At a former workplace, where we produced technical documentation (that’s my day job), we had a similar situation. To track our progress, and make sure nothing important was dropped, we created a “pre-publication checklist.” It was a good reminder of all the little details that had to be addressed before we were ready to say a manual was complete and ready to go to the printer.

When you have several projects going, in various stages, it’s easy to forget a detail. It has really helped me to have a blank “Prepub Checklist” template in +Evernote. When I get finish that first draft, I create a copy of the checklist in the appropriate notebook:

The “master” checklist has the templates tag, so I can find it immediately. After copying, I rename the checklist, tag it with the project name, and start filling in checkboxes as I go:

So now, I can pull up the checklist for any active project, and see what I need to do. In this case, I need to get serious about starting promotional efforts for the upcoming release of my third Accidental Sorcerers story while I’m waiting on the editor to get back to me. ;-)

Now it’s your turn: How do you keep track of your own projects?

Thanks for reading, and check out some of the other Indie Life writers this week!


  1. I've just launched into self-publishing, as you know, and I found the hardest part, at the beginning, was not knowing what items to put on a list! You really feel around in the dark for a while. It was thanks to fellow writers that I was able to figure it out... sort of... (!) I can see where you'd need a list, with more than a couple projects on the go.

  2. I have a checklist, but it needs a lot more things on it... at this point I did it to help my beta readers know when to expect stuff and when their deadlines were, but I should add all that publicity stuff for my own use. I think it would help a lot.

  3. That sounds like a good idea. May I steal it? ;)

  4. I keep spreadsheets with dates and other info on them.

    If I may suggest: I'd love to hear about approaching book bloggers. As someone who does reviews from time to time, I've been approached and volunteered, but I've never approached anyone else. After the recent Goodreads flaps, I'd be nervous to.

  5. I must admit I never had any sort of check list when I self pub Jumping At Shadows but I think yours is a good idea.

  6. Cathy, now that you've done it once, all you have to do is remember what you did and write it down! ;-)

    Hart, it does help a lot. I've forgotten to get cover art together, I've forgotten to upload to B&N, you'd be amazed what I'll forget if given half a chance. Computers are great, because it can remember those things for me.

    Patricia, go right ahead!

    Katherine, any book blogger with any sense (i.e. those you'd probably want to review your books) has a "submission policy" page that describes what genres they take, what formats they prefer, and how to contact them. The most polite ones put the "I'm not taking submissions right now" or "I'm not accepting self-published works" warnings at the TOP of the page.

    Thanks, Helen. I didn't have a checklist for my first one or two—but when I was trying to remember if I'd done everything for White Pickups, I realized I needed one.


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