As I creep closer to the release date for To Steal the World and the release timeframe for Serpent’s Mark, I’ve felt increasingly overwhelmed by the number of things I need to do to have these books ready. I’m still crawling through Snakesblood book 5, but since I’m doing everything myself, I have a lot of other things to handle.
I’ve made to-do lists leading up to release, but seeing pages and pages of stuff left undone was daunting. To make the job a little more palatable, I decided to put up a Kanban board next to my desk. I had a corkboard from Ikea I hadn’t hung yet, so I popped it up on the wall above the (currently malfunctioning) printer and filled it with color-coded post-it notes. The idea behind the board is to have each note represent one task–one small step in the bigger process of publishing. The left-hand side is filled with things I need to do, the middle area is for things in progress, and the right-hand side is for tasks that are complete.
Whenever I have a few minutes to work on something, I can grab a post-it off the To Do section and move it to the center, then focus on that task. Right now, I’ve got three things sitting in the middle, but they’re things I hope to complete within the month. The big one is cover art for Serpent’s Mark. Every time I get close to having it done, I second-guess myself and my abilities and back away from the project. But I’ve got to finish it by the end of the month, so I can’t keep backing down forever. I got some great feedback on the piece and am reworking some large portions of it, so hopefully we get there soon. I have 5 more covers to make after that one, after all.
The other tasks are larger and smaller: One is finishing the first draft of the second Westkings Heist novella, while the other is completing a series of small icon-like illustrations I’d like to use at chapter headers in the Snakesblood books. I may back off that as we progress, since I may not use them in the ebook versions, but we’ll see. Hopefully those illustrations and the cover will be done by the end of the week.
While my photos don’t reflect it, since I took them as soon as I had the board done and up on the wall, I’ve gotten a handful of things moved over to the finished side. A lot of the final work for TSW has been done–just ISBN registration and copyright pending, and those have to wait until January–and I’ve done a couple things for Snakesblood, too. One bit one was re-drawing the map of Elenhiise again, because I had redone it in Clip Studio Paint to create the vector image, only to discover CSP couldn’t actually export as a vector–rendering all my work useless. But I recreated the map for a third time using Illustrator, and now all is well.
Most of the board is dominated by work for Serpent’s Mark, but the row of hot pink tabs are business related and I’ll be addressing those a bit at a time, too–but instead of going onto the right side of the board, those might just go into the trash. 🙂
This was a new workflow method to me, but I’ve felt it’s made a big difference in my productivity for the business backend of the writing/publishing process, so I’m glad I set it up. My next goal, after these books are done, is to get down to where I only have two colors on the board: one for the book being written, and one for the next book in the publishing pipeline. Might be a difficult goal to reach, but I think it’s a good one to reach for.