Monday, November 18, 2019

Time Management for Authors is Cyclical & Varies By Season

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Authors manage more than writing. We really have seasons throughout cycle of creating and launching books. In certain time periods, we focus on one aspect more than another.

Spring: Seeds of Ideas
In spring farmers plant chooses the seeds to plant. A writer’s spring starts with new ideas, the seeds. You consider the possibilities of each idea. As one concept or story plot excites you, harness the energy. Brainstorm the reasons that book is needed, the reader benefits, and where it should be marketed. Decide the main focus for your ideal reader: entertainment, education, or scape to another world. Use this information to write the proposal plus a few chapters and map out the book.

In spring, the farmer figures out when the produce should be ripe for harvest as well as future tasks to do and when. That means understanding productivity. For writers, figure out how long it will take to write and market the book. You can move into the summer season when there’s a contract or to you plan the timeline for writing and publishing it yourself.

Winter Blahs for Writers
Winter blizzards can come unexpectedly. A proposal sits dormant (uncontracted), you encounter a writing or publishing block where you don’t know the next step, or life interferes. The wait seems endless. Get through those times by revisiting the need for the book and reader benefits. Add more ideas for the book and marketing.

Summer: Season of Growth
This is the main writing season of writing. As you write, make notes during breaks for marketing such as pullout quotes, speaking props to illustrate a point, swag to create, and reader benefits. Create promotion files Write blog post or social media prompts, list chapter talking points, note possible memes to create, and add reader solutions offered. This prepares for harvest, the prime marketing time.

As the manuscript lengthens, it needs weeding and pruning. This late part of summer is the editing time. As you edit, think of the images the words conjure up and grab some free photos to create memes. List what reader needs you addressed, what groups might want to hear you speak, etc. This continues the marketing preparations.

Autumn and Harvesting: Marketing Time
After a book is contracted and editing completed, the harvest season approaches as the book goes into the production phase. You need to be ready to feed the hungry people when the book is ripe (published). This means moving from focusing on writing to concentrate more on marketing. If you shrink when you think of promotion, go back to the files from spring and post the reasons the reader needs the book and the benefits. Read that each day as a motivation to focus on marketing. Remember that you’ve already created great files of ideas to develop for marketing. This makes it much easier. Choose one of those files and start working on the ideas.

Just as you dream of opening the package with the first copies of the book and feel joy and anticipate helping readers, share that joy. That’s the essential marketing motivation. Get busy posting about the book, doing interviews, and promoting your speaking to share your book. Sine you enjoy writing, use those skills in crafting posts and articles. Use all the marketing lists to create great promotional materials. Write tip sheets and other freebies to give readers. Script a video clip and do that on FB live or simply as a video. Most of all, use the ideal reader notes ad needs to talk to your reader and share how you understand the needs and have solutions.

As the marketing gets underway and the book launches, watch for new seeds (ideas) that God wants you to plant. That will move you to a new season of spring for the cycle to begin again. If winter arrives as marketing wanes, pray about your next project. Read your last list of reader needs and think about what else your reader needs. Listen to reader feedback to identify what else they might want. As a new spring comes you still need to keep a little time for the marketing of the previous book. Set aside one weekly block of time for that.

Mixed Seasons
Sometimes seasons seem to mix, like a hot winter day. We have that in writing like with a new project just as a book releases. That’s when we have to manage our time differently by scheduling blocks of time for various tasks. One activity or another may seem more attractive, but all need tending. For me, my 4-way to do list is my biggest tool. I draw a big cross on a piece of paper to make four sections. Each section is one focus: writing, marketing, personal/family, and volunteer/activities. That helps me focus on one area at a time.

Transition from one season to the next by celebrating the ending of each and thanking God for the blessings of the new one. Keep the cycle going with fresh ideas and paying attention to each season in its time. 

As you sprinkle news of what you’re doing in social media throughout the year, note people who get excited and invite them to your launch team. Ask them to pray as you write. You’ll grow your tribe for the next book cycle.

Time Management for Authors is Cyclical & Varies By Season - @KarenHWhiting on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Karen Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting


  1. I have learned time management gives me peace throughout the busy day. :-)

  2. Yes indeed. It's amazing the speed in which writing seasons can change. Unlike in nature, I've experienced the same season multiple times in a year's time span. Wonderful post Ms. Karen. Thank you for sharing these inspiring thoughts ma'am.

  3. I'm not writing Non-fiction. How can I tweak this excellent post for a middle-grade children's book?

    1. The writing, editing, release, and promotion are similar for both NF and fiction. You still need to know how long writing a chapter or book takes and so forth. Let me know what you are trying to apply that seems only fit for NF.

  4. This post is so helpful. The visible aspect of each season really helps to organize thoughts in a process that is relatively new. Thank you.