Why You Need A Publishing Schedule in 2018

By Jamie McSloy / December 29, 2017
publishing schedule 2018 featured image

Why You Need A Publishing Schedule in 2018

We’re almost at the New Year and that means big plans, big moves and all of us little pirates trying to stay afloat in 2018 with our businesses.

Hopefully, there’ll be adventures and chests full of gold too, but who knows.

The important point to this pirate metaphor is that if you sail into a stormy sea with no map, no compass and a leaky ship, then you’re probably going to sink.

To avoid that, it’s best to have your ducks in a row before you set sailing.

In other words, if you’re a writing-online-business-pirate, then you need to set a course now.

Why You Need To Plan In Advance

If you plan in advance, you have a whole lot of leverage over the future. That comes solely at the expense of being able to improvise on new opportunities. For that, I suggest not filling up your schedule from start to finish.

If you don’t plan in advance, then you’ll have a bad time. Life abhors a vacuum and stuff always takes longer than you think it will. No schedule = no deadlines and deadlines are the writers’ heartbeat.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

Most writing stuff involves micro-activities and macro-activities. In essence, having a schedule helps you stick with the bigger picture.

Smaller picture = blog posts or book chapters. Or worse still, social media stuff. You can spend a lot of time creating those things with no bigger picture in mind.

Yet it’s the bigger picture stuff that leads to success in publishing and arguably life.

The problem with bigger picture stuff is that it’s invisible in your day-to-day workings. Nobody holds an entire novel or website in their mind at once.

You need the schedule because it connects big picture and little picture.

Everything Should Lead To The Centre

People talk about brand building a lot. Everyone wants a tip and a trick that’ll help them build a brand.

This is backwards thinking.

Your brand, business identity or whatever you want to call it is the centre of a big web. If you’re an authentic individual, then YOU are the brand and YOU are the centre.

But you can’t sell by telling people to go straight to the core essence of you. That’s true whether you’re talking about social relationships or business procedures.

You sell a person on a lifestyle through words or pictures. You create good products that people want to buy. These things build your brand.

The worst thing you can do – unless you want to attract a ton of lowest-common-denominator folks – is try to build your brand by endlessly building your brand and talking about building your brand.

So your brand building is an afterthought. The first thoughts that should enter your head are your publishing schedule – because those are the words that lead to the brand.

Let’s get on with the topic.

It All Starts And Ends With Your Products

People will fall in love with your publishing if you consistently deliver them content; both paid and free content.

For the majority of writers, this’ll be books. Some of you will create courses, websites or whatever; the end goal is the same.

Your content makes money.

Now, you should have a wide range of products and multiple different options that’ll hit every target in your niche.

For instance, if you write romance books, then you should have serials, standalones, short stories, box sets, signed box sets and whatever else you can think of. Preferably multiples of all of those.

You should also try and hit all the different types of romance that are in your sphere. Some people like sweet, innocent virgin-style romances and some like complete smut with a barely Terms-and-conditions-friendly cover.

You can hit all of those.

If you have a website, then you should sell your own products from cheap-through-expensive, affiliate market and otherwise hit multiple streams. You should also try and get as many targets as you can for your market.

You get the picture.

The above seems vague in a “This could mean hundreds of different things!” sense, but you see how this begins to build a schedule.

Think about what’s achievable and what isn’t. Building 100 authority websites in a year is low-probability unless you’ve got a budget for writers. Writing 100 romance novels is likely out of the picture too.

But writing a novel per month is doable.

Building a handful of websites is doable.

Everything In The Centre Pushes Outward

Let’s say you’re an author and you’re planning on writing twelve novels.

“But what about all the social media and marketing and stuff?”

It comes from the products you create.

I have a friend who writes romance novels.

They have a hectic social media schedule. They post multiple times a day across multiple platforms.

To look at a surface level, you’d think that they were some mastermind or that they’d hired a team to do all these things.

However, whilst it’s a sophisticated operation, it’s simple.

Pictures go out and they’re picture quotes from the books they write.

Video teasers are literally slideshows with edited stock images and words.

Half of the material consists of reviews for other books.

Then the rest is either a) sales material “Buy our new book!” or b) general purpose tweets that are easy to write. “Hey, do you prefer werewolves or vampires? Vote below!”

Now, if you started with your social media schedule, then this would be impossible. You start with the products you release and pose interaction opportunities based on what people are going to give them.

Everyone who votes “Vampire!” is going to be amazed that their wishes led to a new vampire romance story, except the story was already written.

Final Thoughts

That’s an incredible if slightly big-picture guide to creating a simple 2018 publishing schedule.

(I’m also quite sleep deprived so it may make no sense whatsoever. Let me know in the comments if that’s the case.)

Essentially, what I’m trying to say is this:

  • Creating a schedule is important
  • Forget the big picture meta-branding stuff
  • Instead, focus on the products and services you are going to provide
  • Get a great idea of what’s going to be in those, and make sure the schedule is achievable
  • Keep concentrating on those things until they are created
  • Know that your social media and other marketing stuff will come from the products
  • Leave plenty of time for shenanigans and unforeseeable stuff.

Anyway, I’m off to create my own schedule, and I hope you will too.

Catch you in the next article.