The Importance of Checklists

There are two components to Learning:

1) Reading about how to perform a Skill.

2) Reinforcing Theory with Practice.

It’s a very simple process, but in the case of Independent Publishing, the Learning Process can be hampered by Time. No, I don’t mean making time to study a particular skill or to practice. Those are things that should come naturally. I’m talking about the time between starting, finishing and publishing your work.

Indie Authors wear many hats. In addition to being Writers, we must also be Editors, Accountants, Purchasing Agents, Marketing and PR Specialists, etc. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of little things that go into the final book product before it gets released on Amazon or whatever publishing outlet you decide to go with.

I’ve released four books on Amazon and each time, I’ve had the same little problem: making sure that every little step that needs to get done gets done. If one thing is forgotten, like say the line spacing or book layout isn’t formatted correctly for a 6×9 book. Now, these are things that are often caught during the File Review Phase if you use Createspace and that’s a good thing. However, any of a handful of errors that are caught can have a ripple effect to the entire manuscript and that spells delays in publishing.

So, how do we fix this?

Well, we can tackle this by a number of ways. One way is to write and publish more work so we internalize the process more effectively. But, unless you can crank out multiple good quality novels in a short period time, you’re bound to forget a step and have succeeded in reducing the hair population on your head through manual extraction. No, that’s not a good thing. I have balding friends in their 30s who hate me for having a full head of hair at 48. So, no hair persecution, okay?

Making a checklist of clearly defined steps in an order you can follow is extremely important because it disregards the Time Factor. I’m not James Patterson and can’t crank out a 300 Page novel in less than 3 months, although I continue to try. I’m also stubborn in that I tend to think I have the memory of an elephant when really it’s more like a nuclear-powered hamster who’s computer literate. Don’t ask.

Your checklist doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs to contain all the steps you normally use when putting your book together. Put it in a place where you will remember to find it and pull it out when you get that Final Draft ready to sculpt into that masterpiece.

Or you can get a Traditional Publisher and let them do the work. Personally, I prefer being my own boss, but to each their own and that’s a conversation for another day.

I welcome comments and suggestions so please leave them. I always respond and together, we can help make the world a more literate place….or at least one with a little less shouting and cursing. 😉


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