As it is with any large project entrepreneurs take on (course creation, for example), organization is critical to book writing and publishing. And make no mistake: This post advocates using Trello to organize your book publishing plan, but what’s most important is that you have some method to organize your project, whether it’s Google Drive, Asana, Evernote, or whatever works for you. No need to reinvent the wheel here: Use what you (and your team) are already comfortable with in your business.
The ability to share a Trello board with your book team (your VA, your editor, your designer, your publicist, a co-author — anyone you want to have access to the details about your book project) is one of greatest reason to use it.
These are the typical lists I use when constructing this type of board for book coaching clients. This board covers the three main aspects involved with a book project: writing, production/publishing, and launch/marketing. If yours is a larger and/or more complicated book, this board could become unwieldy and it might make sense to separate the content into three separate boards. If at all possible, though, keep your book project contained on one Trello board.
This is the overview of the project and includes deadlines for everything from writing to editing to launch date. The key here is to use the “due dates” feature to keep the project on track.
You’ll be setting up, at minimum, an account with Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). You may also need account information for Slack, for example, if that’s how your designer communicates or a Dubsado client portal. Other distributors will require their own account information as well. Keeping links in one place is a good idea. (Note that I said links, not passwords. Use Lastpass for that!)
This is also a depository for book team members, their role, and their contact information.
This catchall list can include as much or as little as you want. Some of the information I suggest my clients keep here includes: ISBN, price, trim size for paperback, cover copy, sales page copy, and cover art.
Organize your research here: topics to research, people to interview, etc. You can also attach your interview transcripts/notes, questions to ask interviewees, interview workflow, and more.
Here’s where you get into the meat of your book. Attach your brain dump and/or final outline here, and then dig deeper with the outline/structure for each chapter within the book.
While I was writing my book, I used this list to put snippets of info that I found/heard/saw that I knew belonged in a particular chapter of the book. That way, when I was ready to work on that chapter, all of the info was right there.
I like to use a card for each chapter/section of the book. Then the cards can simply be moved from one list to another as you complete them (e.g., from 1st Draft to Revised, or from Revised to Ready for Editor). Using individual cards also allows you to use due dates, which is how some people break down their writing schedule.
Most of my clients send their manuscripts out for beta feedback after the first draft is complete. (Learn more about beta feedback in this post.) This allows for revision before the manuscript is considered finished. Here you can keep a list of your beta readers and their contact information, questions asked to gather feedback, and the feedback itself.
Once a section/chapter is revised, the card gets moved to this list. This gives a bird’s-eye view of where you are with your manuscript at any given point.
Ready for Editor
As you complete revisions for each chapter, it’s ready for the editor. Your contract with your editor provides a project start date, so a glance at this list lets you know where you are with regard to that date. If it’s March 13th and your start date is April 1st, and you have three of eight chapters in this list, you know you have your work cut out for you over the next two weeks or so.
Ready for Designer
You won’t have the manuscript in pieces by the time it goes to the editor, so this card functions a bit differently. My advice here is to move book chapter/section cards from Ready for Editor to Ready for Designer after you’ve reviewed the edits and are finished working in a chapter within the manuscript at large.
Throughout the writing and production processes, you’ll have ideas regarding marketing your book. Some will pan out; some will not. You might not know during the writing phase what your launch plan will look like, so use this list as a catchall for any ideas you want to explore.
Whereas Marketing Ideas is for ideas you might pursue, Launch Plan is for ideas you will pursue. They include pre-launch marketing plans (before your book release), launch plans (the week of your launch), and post-launch plans (longer-term marketing plans). When a task is in this list, it is part of your marketing plan, just make sure to attach a date to it.
Getting this information set up before you begin your book will help you stay on track, meet your goals and deadlines, and produce the best book you can to serve your business.
You can, of course, take these topics and plug them into any system you use. Trello works for me and is what I use for my clients, but I know many author-entrepreneurs who have used Asana and Evernote for this.
Questions? Leave them for me in the comments!