I know there are authors out there who write three or four books in a year. The idea leaves me in awe and exhausts me at the same time. My current contract calls for a book every eight months, which sounds do-able on paper…as in the paper on which I placed my signature, assuring my publisher I’d meet my deadlines. In reality, I’m always convinced the next deadline will be the one I can’t meet.
For instance, my next release is coming up September 18. My next next book is due to my publisher roughly two weeks later. So, I’m working on promotion for Cry Wolf and completing the manuscript for Fair Game at the same time. Yes, I’m worried this will be the deadline I won’t make.
Figure in Bouchercon (a week in Florida) and several book festivals and library talks all in September and you see why I’m in panic mode.
And why I’m in Book Jail.
“Book Jail” means slightly different things to me at different times. Twice in the past, I’ve run away to a retreat house with Ramona Long and friends for a week.
|My Retreat/Book Jail workspace while completing Uneasy Prey|
|Those windows up in the attic belong to my room during Uneasy Prey's Retreat/Book Jail|
Minimal internet. No husband or cat to cook for. Just long hours of solitary writing (pages and pages) during the day followed by communal evenings for brainstorming.
|My "cell" and workspace for completing Cry Wolf|
I finished both Uneasy Prey and Cry Wolf at that Retreat/Book Jail.
This time, schedules didn’t mesh, so Book Jail takes place in my own office. It’s like house arrest. I still have to cook and still have to feed the kitty, but otherwise, I’ve cleared my calendar and blocked off the last two weeks of August. Okay, I still have to make a trip to town once each week to buy groceries, but the rest of the time, I’m holing up, shutting off the internet, and finishing the darned book. First draft, at least. I’ll be struggling through my second and third drafts while promoting and traveling in September. If I look a tad frazzled at any of my appearances, you’ll understand why.
Fellow authors (and anyone else who works under the gun), do you have any tricks or techniques for meeting your deadlines?