Self-Publishing Lesson #1: Plan Ahead

Here are 5 tips about planning ahead when self-publishing your book:

  1. Plan out EVERYTHING! Your plans may not go 100% according to the way in which you lay them out at the onset of your self-publishing journey, but you have to start with some similitude of a vision, direction, or goal.
  2. When creating your self-publishing plan, consider it more of an outline than a blueprint. NOTE: Outlines are made to have some flexibility built into them; while blueprints are made to be followed to the most minute detail. (I can say with a certain amount of certainty that you will more than likely find yourself updating/tweaking your plan from time to time.)
  3. Set deadlines for accomplishing the tasks that make up your plan timeline. Aim to hit each deadline milestone and only adjust when it’s not in your power to control timing outcomes.
  4. Plan out tasks waaaaaaaaaaaaaay in advance of the date you want your book to go LIVE. (This tip works in conjunction with tip #3. Deadlines for accomplishing milestones should be set as many months prior to the publishing of your book as possible.) There are a lot of pieces that you will need to take into consideration when self-publishing, such as:
    • the time it will take you to actually write your manuscript and create all of the pieces that will go along with it to form your completed book. (Be realistic in the expectations you set for yourself, because you’ll need to account for all of the factors that you can control as well as those self-publishing pieces that you have no control over).
    • the budget you’ll need to cover all expenses. (More often than not, expenses will be more than you guesstimate, so give yourself an additional cushion on top of your best expense projection, if possible.)
    • the help you’ll need to enlist from others (editors, proofreaders, beta readers, reviewers, book cover designers, formatters, etc.) and their availability and time limitations in assisting you with your self-publishing needs.
  5. Write down or type up your self-publishing plan of action and amend as needed. It should be structured but flexible and officially in writing or type-written. Having a formal plan in a centralized repository where all of the details are housed is helpful for your self-publishing sanity. You’ll know exactly where to refresh your memory on all of the particulars in order to stay the course of your book writing/publishing journey. You know what happens if you try to leave everything to that short-term memory bank of yours, don’t you? (NOTE: typing up your self-publishing plan and saving it in your computer is probably the most preferable method to safely store your information and to create a system for easy updating on an ongoing basis.)

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