Schedules and deadlines are tough when you’re self-managed. You set them yourself and your success is a direct result of your action. So what do you do if you make a promise to readers and then miss a deadline?
I’m just wrapping up step 8 from my 15 step plan for writing a successful series – write your face off. I’ve written 91,000+ words in six weeks, but I’m actually behind schedule. It was my plan to write 95,000 words in four weeks and then take two weeks to revise before sending out to beta readers.
Fortunately I was also sticking with Step 9 of the 15 step plan, Share your progress. When I started writing the series I told my readers about it, gave them the word count targets and estimated release date. Then every Monday I shared an update on the progress and how things were looking for hitting my release date. I didn’t fall behind until week four, when I had my wisdom teeth removed, but I told them the truth and kept updating.
Part of me just wanted to stop doing updates and see if I could catch up and make things work. But that’s a false hope. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to release by the date I set out, unless I sacrificed quality.
So I kept updating my readers, consistently. When I was about ready to make the call and move the date out I told them it was likely and committed to an answer the following week. This Monday was the day I needed to make my decision, and I did.
The release date for They Awake, Book 1 of my new series moved from April 13, 2018 to July 6, 2018. I’m frustrated with myself for missing my deadlines but I think that staying in touch with the readers throughout the process helps them to see a little behind the scenes and keeps them invested in the story.
I’ve also been sharing my shorts, Step 11. I’m going to bundle these up, have them edited and then send a collection of them out to my readers. This is a little thank you for their patience, and hopefully it will whet their whistle for when the book is ready.
Being behind schedule and missing deadlines sucks, but owning it is a huge key to moving on. Instead of getting bogged down with the why or what you’re going to do, communicate the truth and get back to work.