This is the third installment in a series of posts on the secrets I have learned from successful self published authors. The first two secrets are knowing your audience and believing in your work. The third thing I have seen successful self published authors do is set a deadline for when they want to hold the first copy of their book. That may not sound very profound, but this is a key to actually achieving your publishing goal. When you work with a traditional publisher, an editor will typcially set a deadline for when the manuscript is due based on a publication date. Self published authors don’t have that demand imposed on them so they need to set a deadline for themselves and also build a timeline to reach that goal.
There are typically some key milestones along the path from writing to getting published. They include completing the manuscript; submitting for publication, providing time for editing and illustrations if needed, working on the design of the interior and cover, leaving time for revisions and printing. So the best place to start is pick a date when you want to hold a copy of your book in your hand. It may be an artificial deadline or it may be a birthday or other event that you want to target. Then once you have that date in mind, work backwards to establish the key milestone dates you need to hit to reach your goal. Seems simple, doesn’t it, but I have found this is a key to actually getting from manusript to finished book.