Jeanne: Planning for Success

Sometime next spring, I plan to self-publish a trilogy of paranormal romances. The Eight Ladies have graciously agreed to let me do a monthly post about the self-publishing process and what I learn along the way.

There are a lot of things to learn:

  • How to build a brand
  • How to find and hire editors, proofreaders and formatters
  • How to find the right cover designer
  • How to promote and market my books
  • And just the nuts and bolts of how to physically get the book onto Amazon (and other distributors, if you choose to go wide).

With so much work to do, I’m going to need a project plan. Fortunately, in my past life I managed a lot of software development projects, so that’s something I already know how to do.

My intention is to publish one book a month for three months, followed by a boxed set of the three books. This will feed Amazon’s sales algorithm fresh content every 30 days, which I understand will improve my visibility.

I’d like to release them in February, March, April and May of 2018. Is this possible?

To determine this, I need to figure out when I can complete the last book and subtract 60 days. The (extremely rough, because there’s so much I don’t know) plan looks like this:

Task Description Start Date End Date % Complete
One-Time Tasks      
General Marketing and Branding Tasks      
Get a website built 4/13/2017 6/12/2017 75%
Receive draft site 6/12/2017
Go live with site 8/1/2017
Send out first newsletter 9/1/2017
Plan blog tour
Book-Prep Tasks
Hire a developmental editor 4/1/2017 4/1/2017 100%
Hire a cover artist
Hire a copy editor 7/1/2017
Hire a proofreader 9/1/2017
Hire a formatter (or learn to format?) 10/1/2017
Biuy ISBN’s
Book-specific tasks
Book 1—The Demon Always Wins
Complete beta-ready draft 6/1/2012 11/1/2014 100
Get feedback from beta readers 11/1/2014 12/1/2014 100
Make revisions from beta reader feedback 12/1/2014 1/1/2015 100
Submit manuscript to editor (milestone) 4/1/2017 Done
Developmental edit process 4/1/2017 6/19/2017 75%
Make revisions from editor feedback 6/20/2017 7/20/2017
Cover process 8/1/2017 11/29/2017
Copyediting process 8/1/2017 9/1/2017
Proofreading process 9/2/2017 10/2/2017
Formatting process 10/3/2017 10/10/2017
Upload book to Amazon 10/12/2017 10/17/2017
Book 2—The Demon’s in the Details
Complete beta-ready draft 7/1/2017 8/30/2017 50%
Get feedback from beta readers 8/30/2017 9/29/2017
Make revisions from beta reader feedback 9/30/2017 11/14/2017
Submit manuscript to editor (milestone) 11/15/2017
Developmental edit process 11/15/2017 12/30/2017
Make revisions from editor feedback 12/31/2017 1/30/2018
Cover process
Copyediting process
Proofreading process
Formatting process
Upload book to Amazon
Book 3—The Demon Wore Stilettos
Complete beta-ready draft 9/1/2017 11/30/2017
Get feedback from beta readers 11/30/2017 12/30/2017
Make revisions from beta reader feedback 12/31/2017 2/14/2018
Submit manuscript to editor (milestone) 2/15/2018
Developmental edit process 2/15/2018 3/17/2018
Make revisions from editor feedback 3/18/2018 4/17/2018
Cover process
Copyediting process
Proofreading process
Formatting process
Upload book to Amazon
Book 4— Boxed Set
Cover process
Upload book to Amazon


The plan makes it apparent that releasing the third book on April 1st is pretty unlikely. Once I get some sense of how long the copyediting, proofreading and formatting processes take, I’ll be in a better position to judge whether March/April/May/June dates are feasible.

If anyone sees huge gaping holes in my plan (and I know they are there, I just don’t know what they are yet), feel free to enlighten me!

We’ll revisit this plan next month, when I’m hoping it will be a little more solid and I’ll have some completed tasks to report!

11 thoughts on “Jeanne: Planning for Success

  1. What an awesome plan! It looks like you have your work cut out for you. I couldn’t ever manage a schedule that tight, but I really admire those who can. I look forward to reading that trilogy! And congratulations on your progress so far. You’ve really made awesome progress.

    • The plan assumes I can complete a first draft of The Demon Wore Stilettos in 90 days. The fastest I’ve ever done that is six months, Even though I can work on it full time now, I’m not sure my process (which involves a lot of cogitating and collecting input from people with better imaginations than I have) can be compressed like that. That’s why I don’t plan to set a firm release date for the first book till I have the third one drafted.

  2. This is really cool! I’ve never been in business, so just seeing tasks with start dates and end dates set out like this is really amazing. (My tasks in my Day Job are usually tied to the school year, so the dates have always been something I’ve taken for granted.)

    (-: This is really exciting, and I look forward to watching your journey as you blog about it here!

    And as always, if you need beta readers . . . I’m volunteering!

  3. Thank you for sharing your plan with us, Jeanne! I’m also planning to indie publish next year but I’m a way behind you in terms of timing, so I’m hoping to learn from your experiences. I’m currently working through Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing 101 course (which so far has been excellent, btw) so hopefully I’ll have some tips and hints to contribute as well.

    As Kay says, goodness, your schedule is tight! I’m hoping I’ll get faster as I get more books finished, but right now I can’t write that quickly. I’m aiming for a steady but slower flow of books and novellas. In my dreams I’d like to be able to publish a novella plus two books each year for the next three years, and combine each year’s output into a box set.

    It’s really great to have a friend pursuing the same path, and even better that you’re ahead of me. I plan to pick your brains shamelessly 😉 .

  4. This is so awesome, Jeanne! I can’t wait to read all of these books. And I’m raising my hand as well for beta reading (for the rest of the ladies, too).

    I’m close to your schedule with my novella (late Oct, fingers crossed!), and Jilly’s for novel 1 (Feb/March) of the Victorian Romance series I’ve been discussing for ages. Today, I’m working on the back cover copy so I can get that into the cover artist. I cannot wait to see the first proofs! Unfortunately, that probably won’t be for a month or so, You’re right, this first book is all about seeing how long each step of the process takes.

    Also, if you decide to do your own formatting and you own a Mac, I hear all kinds of awesome things about a software program called Vellum. Sadly, there is no PC version, but happily, my Mac (first one ever, have been on PC for years) arrives later this week!

Let Us Know What You Think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s