Publication Day + Publishing Challenge!

It’s publication day today for the SHORT STORY Dancing on Ice.

This is another of the new and rebranded Wordsworth Shorts from the archives. The story is available in multi-ebook format from books2read.com. And it is already in Twee Tales Too. Later it will be added to another collection that will also be available in paperback.

You can find all of my ebooks in multi-format on my books2read shelf. Some are available in paperback too, but I’m still learning how to add those to the shelf. In the meantime, you can find them on my Amazon page or order them from your favourite book store.

Publishing challenge: Chapter 1

I’ve challenged myself to publish a book a week for the next year, and some of you have joined me. Welcome!

See the introduction here.

Here’s how I got started.

1. Plan publishing dates

I decided that my publication day each week would be a Monday. Then I sat down and wrote down in an exercise book all of Monday’s dates for the next year, a fresh line for each date. Most of those dates are clearly seasonal and that helps when selecting what to publish.

2. Add Words Worth Reading

Words Worth Reading is a collection of fiction written by me. I was inspired to start my own collection by Dean Wesley Smith who produces Smith’s Monthly. Initially, the plan was to produce it every month, but with my ghostwriting schedule (currently two books for two different clients), that turned out to be impractical and probably impossible. So I settled on quarterly instead.

Producing my own collection of fiction is a great way to get me to write new fiction. I’ve been so busy writing fiction for other people, I wasn’t finishing anything of my own, and sometimes not even starting anything.

The first issue, Issue 1 (funnily enough), was published on 1 October 2021. Deciding to produce it quarterly (for now) meant that the next issue is due out on 3 January 2022 (the first Monday in January). So, from January 2022, this was the first entry in my publishing plan – or schedule as it’s now called.

Straight away, for the whole year, I now had 4 dates with a publication against them: 3 Jan – Issue 2; 4 Apr – Issue 3; 4 Jul – Issue 4; 3 Oct – Issue 5.

3. Plan Words Worth Reading

With my publication dates now written down, I was able to sit and plan the next four issues of Words Worth Reading. Knowing when they were coming out helped with that.

Each issue of Words Worth Reading includes the following:

  • brand-new cover story (inspired by the cover image)
  • brand-new topical or seasonal short story
  • story from the archives
  • brand-new series episode (standalone episodes all linked together)
  • brand-new complete novella
  • novel serialisation (4 parts in all)
  • 4 book reviews
  • welcome letter
  • coming next time

What I did was turn to a fresh page in the exercise book and roughly draw two horizontal lines separating the page into thirds. I did that for two pages, so I had room for six editions.

I wrote the title of the collection and the issue number and date at the top of each third, and then made blank lists for the first six contents. (I don’t need a line for the book reviews, the welcome letter or the coming next time.)

The next thing I did, then, was choose a cover image. I’m trying to choose images that all have books or someone reading in them, to tie in with the title. Here are the two covers for Issue 1 (October 2021) and Issue 2 (January 2022):

I chose the cover images first, then came up with titles for short stories that would suit the cover images – the cover stories. It’s likely that the cover titles will always include the cover story, but will alternate between the serialisation and the series.

For the January issue, I already know that I’ll be using Part 2 of 4 of Night Crawler. I also now know that I want to write a brand-new short story to suit the cover image (Red Roses). And I know that the only other novella I have that’s likely to be ready by the end of December is The Fool. That’s why all of those are already on the cover.

For my story from the archives, I chose a Christmas/New Year story, Careful What You Wish For. That settled January. The cover story, Red Roses, could be for February and Valentine’s Day. The other topical story is an idea I snaffled from my regular weekly writing prompts that would be suitable for March 2022.

Once I had these details, I added them to the relevant third in the exercise book. For the book reviews, I’ll just go back and choose two old ones and two recent ones. I write the welcome letter and the coming next time last of all.

I have yet to write the cover story, the topical story and the next episode in the short Tarot tales series. But they all need to be written in time to go into the January issue of Words Worth Reading. That means that my third for the January issue looks like this (the ticks are what’s already been written and typeset):

  • cover story: Red Roses
  • topical/seasonal story: The Phoenix Lights
  • story from the archives: Careful What You Wish For ✔️
  • series episode: The Two of Wands
  • complete novella: The Fool
  • novel serialisation: Night Crawler Part 2 of 4 ✔️

I still have a lot of work to do for the January issue…

“Help! I don’t have my own publication to populate!”

If you don’t have your own publication to populate, you could plan in any seasonal stories you write or have already written for your regular short story market. Or you could go through your archives and select something relevant. Or, of course, you could plan to write something new each week, say. They’re only short, after all.

4. Any other books I’m writing

I also write novels and writers’ guides, and I collect anthologies of short stories together. At the moment, my ‘other books’ consist of the project management for writers series and the Diary of… series.

I’ve decided that I want the project management books to be ready every two months, on the last Monday of the month. So those are the next dates I filled in on the schedule.

Once that series is complete, I’ve already scheduled in the second book in the Diary of… series and the project management omnibus. And it means I’m publishing a how-to or writers’ guide every two months.

Every four months I want to publish a novel, but I still have far too many of those to write. One is almost complete, though, and another is on its way.

If you write serials for magazines, or pocket novels, you could produce those yourself as novellas too. If you decide to produce a collection of your own fiction, you can reproduce them in their entirety or you can serialise them.

You can also serialise your longer fiction and publish one episode a week, say, then later, bundle them all together as a complete novella or novel. Serialising your longer fiction and publishing one episode a week is a good way to populate that publishing schedule.

Bundling complete series or themed novels or novellas together in the future, in threes or fives or sevens or tens or whatever, is another way to populate your future publishing schedule.

In the US they already have Vellum on Amazon, but even if Vellum comes to the UK, I doubt very much that I’ll be using it. In fact, it might already be here…

5. Choose stories from Words Worth Reading

Once I know what my content is for Words Worth Reading, I’ll choose a date following publication to republish them all again as standalones, apart from the novel, which has already been published.

The first one I select is the novella, and I publish it roughly one month after Words Worth Reading has been published. That means that The Fool is now in the schedule for 7 February.

For the rest of the stories, I put the topical or seasonal ones in first, to tie in with the anniversary or date, in the next blank slot I put the series episode, and in the next blank slot I put the story from the archives if it hasn’t already been positioned in its seasonal spot.

6. Any blanks?

If there are any blanks, I’ll either choose another old story from the archives, I’ll write a new story, or I’ll leave it blank for when I’m next transferring anything over.

In the future, this might also be when I schedule a themed collection of short stories to publish. Or I might rebrand and re-issue the Twee Tales collections.

Where to next?

Once I’ve planned the publishing schedule at least for two months ahead, what do I do then?

Find out next time!

Over to you…

How is your challenge coming along? Where are you in the process?

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