I’ve always been a procrastinator. I know that about myself… I work best under pressure, with the clock ticking and someone waiting on me to finish “the thing”. As an student, this meant staying up late writing papers the night before they were due, or studying up to the last minute. As an engineer, it meant putting the finishing touches on my presentation minutes before walking into the meeting or getting the data to the customer hours before they needed it.
As an author, I have deadlines too. Like the one for this blog post… which may or may not be rapidly approaching as I type it up on Sunday afternoon. Because the InspyRomance admins are gracious and wonderful (and did I mention gorgeous?), they’d probably forgive me if I was a bit late on my deadline… Actually, I know they would, because I’ve done it before 😳, but it is still a deadline I would rather not miss!
Sometimes, friends and readers ask me (usually when I mention an upcoming deadline) how deadlines work for an author–especially one who is independently publishing like myself. The truth is essentially that I set my own schedule… but most of the time, that will include some deadlines. I book a copy editor for all my books and getting into her schedule means I need to agree ahead of time when my book will be available to her. Sometimes, I also have a story editor. Missing these deadlines may mean losing my spot, paying penalties, or even finding myself with a frustrated editor who doesn’t want to work with me anymore!
I also choose to put my books up for pre-order. Right now, I have a book on pre-order that releases on November 15th. The deadline for me to upload that book is November 12th…. If I don’t hit that deadline? Eeep. Big consequences from Amazon. If you miss your deadline, they cancel the pre-order, refund all those orders, AND you lose the ability to put in a preorder for a whole year! Yikes. They take that pretty seriously.
So technically, I do make my own schedule. But in making that schedule, I create my own deadlines (which are then enforced by other people!) It’s actually a pretty good system for me, because that deadline gives me the push I need to really be productive. If I waited until I was *ready* for an editor to book one, or until I had the book done to schedule the release? I’m not sure I’d ever finish a book! Plus, I wouldn’t be able to share the release date ahead of time with readers.
So, as I’m staring down the barrel of an editing deadline (tonight, so she can start work on it tomorrow 😱), and an upload deadline for the preorder (just over 2 weeks from now)… I can whine about being stressed, too far behind, and vigorously trying to finish it all… But in the end, I know these are circumstances of my own making. So, I just try to do my best to not make my family pay for my own tendency to procrastinate. I wake up early when I’m behind, or stay up late. Sometimes, I take a Saturday morning to work also, but I try to make up for it by making sure we do something as a family later in the day.
I have another confession, too. I’m super far behind on these upcoming deadlines, but I actually ALREADY missed them. The One Who Promised Forever was *supposed* to come out on October 15th… but when I scheduled that date, I forgot I was going to have my Redemption Ridge book releasing less than 2 weeks earlier. So, I pushed back the pre-order date the 30 days that Amazon grants you. It’s the little bit of grace period they give you for each title… and I’ve already used mine up so I better get back to working on it so it can come out in November, because I don’t want to disappoint Amazon (or even more importantly, all the readers eager for the sweet story of a broken marriage being redeemed!)
Are you a procrastinator? Or do you get things done earlier than required? Let me know in the comments!