My major accomplishment today has been to write a quarterly planner for writing projects. It might not sound like much but it has made me feel better directed and more motivated already. I don’t really go in for those inspirational sayings: Fail to plan, and you plan to fail, and all that gumpf. But the quarterly planner could just have found itself a new devotee.
I came across it in a blog post or a podcast, can’t remember which, by ALLi – the Alliance of Independent Authors. I’m newly joined up, and cracking on through the rich motherlode of insider knowledge about self-publishing that this gets me, as I position myself as an independent author.
There’s a lot to do as an indie author. You’re a writer, a business manager, and a marketer. That’s a lot of spreading yourself thin, and I’m already very talented at that.
I don’t know about you, but I work best on WAGOLL principles – What A Good One Looks Like. Frustratingly, I wasn’t able to find a completed example of a writer’s quarterly plan on the internet. But in the end, coming up with my own was easier than I thought.
My Quarterly Planner Template
Yesterday, I brainstormed the three projects closest to my heart, and this morning I woke up feeling all put-together, and got them down on paper. Here you see the result, in this fluorescently decorated beauty. It may be home-made, it may need adjustment, but it’s a plan.
Each of the three projects has a column.
- Sissinghurst Day, a short story which I want to self-publish and start promoting as soon as possible.
- Instagram for Authors and Book Lovers: a workshop I’ll present by Zoom to eager beaver writers.
- Saddleback Wife: my next book, about the running of our farm and food business, revealing the ‘Under-Porkbelly’ of the gourmet farming world.
The sheet is then divided from top to bottom into months: September, October November. Here’s what the quarter for my short story Sissinghurst Day looks like:
- Absolutely finalise story
- Write afterwords
- Write front / end papers
- Design cover
- Buy picture for cover
- Write blurb
- Cost out publishing
- Produce book
- Nominate launch date
- Send ARC to Beta readers for reviews on launch
- Identify keywords
- Identify comparative titles
- Identify key readers
- Identify categories
- Upload onto five platforms
- Scope out promotional plan
- Promote / advertise
- Research key readers more – Kent, gardeners, VSW accolites, Sissinghurst fans
- Consider print copies
- Review sales
- Set up financial records
- Research audio books
- Record story
- Upload audio book
- Promote audio book
So now that I’ve got a writers plan, it’s on to do the actual work. Today I’ve written 30 minutes of Saddleback Wife. I’ve designed the front cover of Sissinghurst Day on Canva, using an image I’ll purchase from GAPPhotos. And I’ve scoped out costs and reminded myself that it doesn’t cost anything to upload books.
I get to put two ticks on the list, and feel like I know what to do next, rather than having it swimming around my head, and feeling like I’m drifting. Quarterly Planners, people. Try it out.
Fiona Stocker’s next book, Sissinghurst Day, will be out in October. For updates on writerly things, sign up to the newsletter – or follow on social media.