Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
As you’ve no doubt figured out by now, being a writer involves much more than writing. And I’m not even talking about the dreaded marketing! I’m talking about thinking of yourself as a business—and keeping that business organized.
If you’re in the querying stage, you’re probably already keeping records of that process. If you’re not keeping track yet, I recommend you start now! Many people create a simple Excel spreadsheet in which they track each query, when it’s sent, who it’s sent to, and the response. Record every single bit of activity, including whenever you send a follow-up, leaving nothing to memory. You can also join an online community like QueryTracker that helps you keep track of your querying activities.
Once you’re published, it’s smart to keep track of your income. If you’re using QuickBooks or another money management software, you’ll be keeping track of your income this way. Or you could create an Excel file in which you track each payment you receive. You’ll want to verify that everything is correct at tax time—for example, that your records match the 1099 your publisher sends you.
It’s a good idea to read your royalty reports and keep track of your book sales, too. Create a file in your computer and whenever you receive a royalty statement, enter your book sales for that royalty period, and your total sales to-date. Keep this document updated; you never know when someone’s going to need to know how many copies of a certain book you’ve sold. You don’t want to be guessing. This will come in handy when trying to sell future books to a publisher, because the first thing editors are going to ask is “What were the sales on the previous books?”
Not to neglect our favorite topic! If you’re running various promotions for your books, or if you’re using a social media strategy, then it’s important to keep a calendar of these activities.
It may not be fun being business-oriented and it can be tedious keeping accurate records, but it’s one of the best ways to keep chaos from taking over your life. Keep track of everything!
And while I’m thinking of it, let me ask you: Do you have a good backup system for your entire hard drive? If you don’t, get one TODAY.
How do you keep track of your queries, income, and sales? And do you regularly back up the entire contents of your computer?