Being an indie author is my full-time job. Admittedly it’s not my only job, I also do the marketing/admin for my husband’s business too. The fact remains that I am a full-time author, and the best way for me to step up into the next income bracket is to publish a book a month.
Last night I sat down with my husband and my editor, and we talked out the logistics of doing this. The problem all along has been that my books require four editing passes. Two copy, one proof, one developmental. Yes I could drop the developmental pass, the books rarely need anything more than a few tweaks, but those tweaks take the books from good to great. My editor sees those little things I miss, and I want to produce the very best books I can.
The last year has been a bit of a clusterfuck and it’s meant that I haven’t been able to write as quickly as I wanted. The country move was a huge deal. It took us a month to find somewhere permanent to live, all the back and forth with the visa, the huge stress before Christmas worrying ‘what if they reject my husband’s visa? Where the sweet blue fuck will we go? Where will we find the money to move country again!?’. Then this spring we’ve been fighting with some people to tie up a couple of loose ends back in Prague. Add in medical problems and the insane cost of my husbands medical stuff (it was the same as rent up until last month), and you had a helluva lot of stress. Despite what the weird romantic vision of artistes might say – stress and depression make me write slower, not faster.
That has all been cleared up. I had some amazing news over the last week or so, with the international Bookbub and all. Things are looking up.
This means that it’s time for me to up my game. Now, to be clear, if this negatively impacts my mental health then we will dial it back. I’ve burnt out too many times as it is.
How will this work? What does the schedule look like?
I will write a 50k book every 3 weeks. I’ll need to average 2,400 words a day, that’s not much at all. I can write 18,000 good words in one day if I’m in the right mindset.
I’ll work six days a week for those three weeks, then I’ll take one week off to relax, unwind, and plot out the next book. That week will be spent reading, watching Netflix, and generally looking after my mental health. Same for Saturdays, the day I’ve chosen to take off.
My editor will do the same four passes he usually does, with one week per pass. That will give me two days to do any developmental edits he gives me. As they’re rarely anything more than expanding a couple of fight scenes and tweaking a couple of sentences, I don’t foresee any problems there.
It’ll take a couple of months for us to be able to reach a book a month as I’ll need to get far enough ahead of my editor to keep the books rolling through.
We’ll take a couple of weeks off around my birthday to unwind, relax, and the same will happen over Christmas. This should mean we publish ten books a year. I’d rather have ten books and time to look after my mental health, than twelve books and risk burning out yet again.
Why am I doing this? What are the benefits?
The months where I have a new release always earn more money than those I don’t. The very best marketing you can do it to release a new book, so that’s what I’m doing.
This will also increase my backlist, which gives me more entry points for readers to come into my books and become a fan. That, and given I’ll be juggling four series this year, it’ll cut down on the wait between books in each series so readers aren’t frustrated by said wait. Readers of indie books don’t like waiting more than three months between books in a series.
What are the risks?
The risks are burning out for both me and my editor. There’s also a financial risk here. I put aside a lump of money at the beginning of the year to cover all my cover art, editing, and marketing costs for the year. The lump I put aside was to cover six books, I’m hoping to get nine or ten out now. The books need to sell well enough to cover those additional costs.
I think that covers everything. If you want to try this then you’ll need to commission your cover art ahead of time, you can’t afford to wait around for it. I’d also strongly recommend doing at least a loose outline so you don’t waste time pulling your hair out trying to figure out a plot point or rewriting big sections. And make sure to take time for relaxation. Look after your physical and mental health.