Frontlist
Frontlist

Organize Your Book Launch Into Work Streams

Organize Your Book Launch Into Work Streams

Organize Your Book Launch Into Work Streams

If you’re struggling under the sheer amount of work to do for your book launch, if you’re jumping around from app to app to get things done, or even if just figuring out what to do in the first place has got you tied into knots, then work streams may be the solution for you.

If you’re struggling under the sheer amount of work to do for your book launch, if you’re jumping around from app to app to get things done, or even if just figuring out what to do in the first place has got you tied into knots, then work streams may be the solution for you.

If you’re struggling under the sheer amount of work to do for your book launch, if you’re jumping around from app to app to get things done, or even if just figuring out what to do in the first place has got you tied into knots, then work streams may be the solution for you.

A work stream is a way to divide up large projects. It’s not a will-nilly division though. The lines are drawn along categories of work. I’ve heard some folks compare work streams to buckets, which makes sense because of the categorization aspect, but unlike a bucket, work streams break things down into categorized tasks - not a monolith bucket of work.

Let's compare.

The 5 Book Launch Work Streams

I have to come clean here. I am an indie author, but I also have a long career in tech. My tech job is too complicated to explain here, but suffice to say that I had two major uses for work streams:

  1. to organize my own work;

  2. and to research how other people were working, and design work streams that would help them get it done.

When I first approached the world of indie publishing, I found myself quickly overwhelmed with the sheer amount of – seemingly random – work to do to get my book from “Hey I have this book idea” to “Wow it's published and people are buying it.” My work looked more like this:

Which, frankly, is unacceptable for someone with my background. I was mortified. So I did what any good tech nerd would do, I researched the entire process, categorized it, then organized the tasks into reasonable work streams. This, my friends, was how Frontlist was born.

I came up with five work streams that define the book launch process. Now, keep in mind, I am of the solid opinion that your book launch starts the day that you start writing your book, so that’s where my work streams begin. Here goes:

1. Writing & Editing

This is the starting point. The tasks in this work stream include writing the first draft, all editing (developmental, line edits and proofreading) and all revisions. It’s the heavy duty work of actually authoring a book. It’s your craft. In short, it’s the fun stuff. 

2. Production

Production is the act of producing the actual book. It’s the design of covers, layout of pages, compiling of files, printing, and uploading.

Production right and proper can’t begin until the Writing & Editing is completely finished. No one needs to be producing an unfinished book! But there are some early production tasks which can overlap with the end of the Writing & Editing phase. For example, cover design can be kicked off once the writing is done, but before that final proofread is complete.

3. ARC

ARC is an acronym for Advanced Reader Copies (or Advanced Review Copies, depending on who you ask). To quote a friend, Cyndy Aleo, ARC copies of your book are “not copy edited; they are usually put together before the final copy edit / proof / formatting check.” In other words, there are plenty of overlapping tasks in the Production and ARC work streams.

Similarly, the ARC phase can go right up to the launch date, so many of the tasks from the Launch work stream will be interspersed with those closing out the ARC work stream.

4. Launch

For obvious reasons, this is the work folks generally think of when they hear “book launch.” It is also the work stream which might be most easily confused with Marketing since there’s a big marketing push right around the launch date.

Believe it or not, it’s the shortest of the work streams, with most of the work getting done in preparation for launch.

5. Marketing

Marketing starts the day you start writing your book, and it continues all the way through to Launch and beyond. Tasks from the marketing work stream are littered throughout the entire project, whether it’s posting on socials about how your manuscript is progressing, to celebrating major editing and production milestones, to advertising your ARC program, to getting your name and face out there during launch. Marketing. Is. Everywhere.

There is no time when Marketing isn’t happening in some form or another.

Sidebar: If you'd like for your book launch to be organized into work streams for you, try Frontlist. Every task is properly categorized, and the entire chronology is laid out for you.

Aaaaand… Why Should I Care?*

Right, now that we have the categories banged out, the next question that I suppose you’re asking is “why bother?” After all, if the tasks from one workstream can overlap in time with tasks from other work streams, how is that any different than working willy-nilly?

Excellent question. I’m glad you asked.

Work streams reduce overwhelm. 

Because your tasks are mapped out over time, you will always know where you are in the process. You know what to do.

Because your tasks are clearly categorized, you always know the purpose of why you’re doing a given task. For example, when you've just finished writing your book, you may wonder why you're suddenly finalizing your title. The answer to that 'why' doesn't reside in the Writing & Editing, it resides firmly in Marketing. In other words, it's not about choosing a just a good title, it's about choosing a marketable one. Knowing this helps you quickly switch your thinking out of writing-mode and into marketing-mode.

But also… because work streams highlight interdependencies between tasks. When laid out into a proper timeline, they tell you when to do things. That book title might be a marketing task due to its nature, but chronologically there is plenty of production work that is blocked until you’ve completed it. The most obvious example would be cover design. You certainly don’t want to pay to have your cover professionally designed, then have to do it all over again because you changed your title later. So wasteful!

Work streams tell you what to do, why, and when.

There’s nothing willy-nilly, chaotic or overwhelming about that.

Ready To Organize Your Work Streams Now?

So if you're feeling overwhelmed, lost or unsure about what to do in a given day, I highly recommend organizing your thoughts and tasks into work streams. And I won't lie, knowing I've got one more convert would make my little tech-nerd heart sing.


* Yes, I did just quote Bluey’s dad.

About the Author

Tara Kelly left a cushy Silicon Valley job to pursue writing. Since then, she’s published a book on UX design, as well as seven children’s picture books under the pen name Kelly Tills where she tackles topics like neurodiversity, gender, and why you shouldn’t steal bananas from a monkey. Tara is the co-founder and CEO of Frontlist.io where she helps other indie authors launch their books on their own, and without falling prey to the predatory underbelly of the author services industry.

Get An Email When The App Is Ready

© 2023, Frontlist. All rights reserved. Privacy - Terms - Contact