Alright, second post about publishing schedules and timelines. This time, let’s talk about multi-year timelines, because some of us are working on 2-3 year timelines for what we write.
Now, we’re going to use me as an example, with an expected yearly output of roughly… 650k words a year. (2021 – 667k, 2022 – 719k)
The Money Maker
Firstly, we figure out priorities. In this case, it’s the money maker – A Thousand Li in my case. Without it, there’s no money coming in and we’re in trouble. We have to write these, so we work out the timeline beforhand and plug that in.
3-4 months for each book, work out how many months we need and WHEN we’re writing it so that we can finish the series, with publishing timeline every 6 months.
For me, each book is around 120-150k these days. Writing at minimum 2k per day, that’s 60-75 days for writing, add another 15-30 days for editing. So figure, 4 months to be on the safer side.
If we are releasing 2 per year, that’s 8 months of our ‘writing timeline’ booked up, figuring about 240-300k of our yearly output.
The Serial / Secondary On-Going Works
In this case, this is Climbing the Ranks. It’s not released the first book yet, though we are releasing chapters on an on-going basis. This is not a money maker as yet, though we have received some funds for it. Maybe when it releases, we’ll make some money from it? Right now, we don’t know; but the expectation is that it won’t really make money.
Because it’s a serial and an on-going work, it behooves us to have backed up chapters, so that takes another chunk of time and has to be planned. Luckily, we can write this quite often when we’re writing the Money Maker.
Now, we release 3 chapters a week, so in a year, that’s 150 chapters. Each chapter is around 1.5k words, so 225k words of the yearly output.
The Fun Projects
Okay, great. That’s a lot of writing already, but then we have our side projects, the ‘fun’ ones. These are not money makers at all – like, we make almost nothing on release of these works.
The Cultist, for example, released May 1, 2023 has made me… $110.57. Once you include editing cost and cover cost, I’m still in the negative. Nevermind the audiobook that was created for it.
The Nameless Restaurant has done much better, but we still haven’t even cracked a thousand dollars in ebook sales. We might, if we’re lucky, do that. Not exactly enough to make a living at it….
And, of course, we have Magic Kingdom at War. I actually expect to make money at this one, though I don’t expect to make ATL funds. So, it’ll break even and add a little to the bottomline…
Except the Problem of Release Speed
And here’s where we run into production timelines which come into two factors. Firstly…
Free word counts = 650k – 300k (ATL) – 225k (Climbing the Ranks) = 125k words free
So, that’s not a lot of ‘free’ words, basically maybe one book.
Expected series end dates…
ATL – 12 books long
Climbing the Ranks – indefinite. Probably 12-15 books. Maybe longer/shorter depending on how I structure and where I decide to end it.
Magic Kingdom…. – too many to tell. Need more books written first, but LONG.
So, right now, we’re looking at…
2 books released for ATL per year
1.25 books released for Climbing the Ranks a year (roughly 2.5 years for 3 books I figure with each book around 180k words).
Which will make people complain already.
So, assuming I want / need to release Magic Kingdom regularly… I either need to do what I’m doing which is holding the work back entirely and just writing when I can, building it up so that I can do a mass rapid release (to not annoy readers and make the most funds) or…
I drop it. Leave it as it stands, come back to it when I have time…
And figure out a series I can work in the 125k word book in when I have time so that I am able to release that once a year too.
Either that, or figure out how to write faster.
So yeah, figuring out your 2-3 year or even longer schedule and how many words you can write and how many words each series will take and how often you can release them is important. Because readers can get very grumpy about too long gaps between releases (as can Amazon).
There’s a balance between maximising what you write, what you need to write and what you release and it’s always a pain.
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