Keeping a Serial on Schedule

Get It Together Blog Hop BannerToday I’m happy to be part of the Get It Together Blog Hop hosted by Lindsay Emory and Alexandra Haughton. Organization is one of my favorite topics, and I seriously couldn’t be happier to share some of the things I learned while prepping a serial.

When I decided to tackle a serialized novel, I knew that I needed a pretty comprehensive plan to keep myself from falling into a writing/formatting/uploading mess. I was pretty sure that I could get one part uploaded no problem, but working on and then releasing part two while also planning ahead to part three was going to be a challenge.

I went through each step of what I imagined my serial writing process would look like (with some serious help from Alexis Anne, my serial guru) and mapped out a plan. Then I multiplied by five, penciling in dates to help me keep on track. What I came up with can be helpful for writers working on traditionally structured novels as well serialized work.

Here’s a look at my schedule for the first three parts of The Lady Taken. Although this serial is going to be five parts in total, the first three are enough to show you how dates can overlap. You need to be looking ahead to the next book while you’re still writing your current one, especially if you’re going to put live preorder links in the backs of your books (something I strongly recommend to lead readers from part to part).

The Lady Taken: Part 1

Finish rough draft: May 7

First editing pass/Send out to betas: May 10

Build cover: May 25

Build preorder: May 25

Build backmatter: June 1

Second editing pass with beta notes: June 1

Send to proofreader: June 3

Final editing pass: June 20

Upload date: June 20

Social media marketing scheduled: June 27

Blog post scheduled: June 27

Publication date: June 30

The Lady Taken: Part 2

Finish rough draft: June 23

First editing pass/Send out to betas: June 23

Build cover: May 25

Build preorder: May 25

Build backmatter: June 1

Second editing pass with beta notes: July 3

Send to proofreader: July 6

Final editing pass: July 11

Upload date: July 11

Social media marketing scheduled: July 18

Blog post scheduled: July 18

Publication date: July 21

The Lady Taken: Part 3

Finish rough draft: July 13

First editing pass/Send out to betas: July 15

Build cover: June 27

Build preorder: June 30

Build backmatter: July 20

Second editing pass with beta notes: July 22

Send to proofreader: July 25

Final editing pass: August 1

Upload date: August 1

Social media marketing scheduled: August 8

Blog post scheduled: August 8

Publication date: August 11

A couple things to note. I have ridiculously fast, lovely beta readers who can whip through a 15,000 word novella like it’s nobody’s business. I also have a fantastically fast proofreader who is always available to read short works on two or three days’ notice. If you don’t have those things, build in extra time to your schedule.

Also, I should say that I went off the rails a bit during book 3. I mistakenly accounted for beta reading time during RWA. Yeah, that conference when pretty much all of romancelandia is concentrated in one place and completely overwhelmed. My beta readers did a fantastic job still getting me edits back, but I promised them I’d never do something like that to them again. It was completely unfair.

I got faster and faster while working on this scheduling. I gave myself a ton of lead up time for book one because I was establishing everything: covers, social media, blurbs, etc. Once the story got going, things got easier. That being said, if I had hit any snags like illness or a rewrite because something wasn’t working, I would have been screwed. Next time I embark on a serial, I’m going to build in more leeway for myself.

For more posts about getting it together and everything that entails, check out Lindsay and Alexandra‘s blogs. And make sure to enter to win a ton of prizes including enough romance novels to keep you busy for a long time.

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