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Why & How to Build a Book Project Plan

photo of John Wagner-Stafford
photo of John Wagner-Stafford

John Wagner-Stafford talks you thru the steps of making a e-book undertaking plan

Planning so self-publish a new ebook within the new yr? Let John Wagner-Stafford, co-founder of ALLi Associate Member Ingenium Books, clarify how to do that super-efficiently by designing and following your personal guide venture plan.



A venture plan on your e-book serves the identical function because the blueprints for the home you’ll construct, the journey plan in your year-long round-the-world journey, or the grocery record in your massive banquet. It begins with an concept of what you need to obtain and ends with the final duties wanted to efficiently publish your guide.

At Ingenium Books, we consider that writing a guide and self-publishing in immediately’s market requires adopting some good small enterprise practices. In case you strategy your guide writing and writer profession like a small enterprise proprietor, you’ll improve your possibilities for fulfillment. 

Most companies right now pay particular consideration to how they plan their tasks. They make use of no less than a few challenge administration greatest practices and a few kind of a venture administration system. The overall notion of winging it with out a plan will in all probability not get you very far when operating your personal enterprise, together with when that enterprise includes publishing your personal guide.

What’s a venture plan in your guide?

Primarily, a guide venture plan is a standing gathering and reporting system.

An instance

Once I labored at Ubisoft as a online game producer and the world entered into a new millennium in 2000, I and my workforce have been huddled round considered one of our open-space assembly tables establishing and planning a new undertaking: Prince of Persia, The Sands of Time. We confronted many choices and decisions about know-how, techniques, individuals, and cash. My duty was to type out how we have been going to report our progress. Which knowledge gathering and reporting system we might use to plan, monitor and report the progress and well being of this monumental venture? Ubisoft needed to be sure that every venture supervisor, all of the artistic leads, the sport designers, story writers, and the producer (me) have been all on the identical web page. I selected a mixture of Microsoft Project for the large image and a system I developed for the every day deliverables.

The techniques would wish a challenge supervisor who would enter and replace the info day by day to assist us handle dependencies and assets. We might actually do the rounds with every artist and enter into the database the % of their progress, pay attention to any anomalies or roadblocks in the best way of development, then the report would find yourself on my desk every afternoon, so I might give you the option to determine how to transfer ahead with the subsequent day’s plan.

Your guide challenge plan

You need to use these rules and ideas on your guide venture too. There gained’t be fairly so many shifting elements and there shall be fewer individuals to cope with.

A e-book undertaking plan might be a easy process listing on a piece of paper, a number of items of paper in a file folder, or a plan created with a software program program. Both method, it can have some or all of those traits:

  • Could also be laid out on a timeline indicating when duties are to be accomplished, how they relate to one another, and what occurs if they’re delayed.
  • Supplies a view of how lengthy it’s going to take to get the job carried out.
  • Presents a window into how a lot your venture will value.
  • Gathers collectively in a single place all the knowledge you want to reply the questions: why, what, when, who, and the way.
  • Solutions the query, what if? Your plan will permit you to check totally different situations and enable you to select which one is true for any second.

A plan makes it simpler to activate a dime and head in a totally different course.

With out a plan, you’ll not see issues on the horizon that are slowing you down now.

And you’ll have no efficient means to course right when issues usually are not fairly proper.

Advantages of a guide venture plan

Most authors come to us with an concept, or a manuscript of various high quality, in numerous levels of completion. They don’t, nevertheless arrive with plans. They typically haven’t considered a advertising plan, or a distribution plan. Not one has ever thought-about a ebook undertaking plan. Nicely, we consider—and maintain—the e-book challenge plan.

Writing a plan is step one to organizing your challenge. It delivers a preventing probability on your guide to get revealed the best way you conceived it.

It helps you determine, prematurely, all of the very elements that go into writing and publishing your personal ebook. A ebook venture plan focuses on getting the essential issues achieved on the proper time and it helps you select priorities.

Your plan will allow you to see which duties are falling behind or which one want to be superior. It enables you to see what occurs to your scheduled publish date if issues get delayed. (Like perhaps finishing the primary draft of your manuscript is taking you method longer than you anticipated. It occurs.)

Creating your guide undertaking plan will assist relieve the burden of continually questioning in case you’re on prime of each element. It is going to allow you to give attention to the large image.

How do you set a guide undertaking plan collectively?

You’ll want to do a little bit of analysis, and it’ll take a little bit of time to get all of it arrange proper. Listed here are some high-level undertaking plan elements you can begin with to get you going.

  1.    A plan/objective assertion
  2.    Huge-picture activity record with estimated durations and dependencies (what different duties are depending on this one)
  3.    Assets record
  4.    Deliverables listing and their prices
  5.    Timeline (could possibly be Excel or Numbers, at Ingenium Books we use Aeon)


  1. A challenge objective assertion

Your objective assertion consists of why you’re writing your ebook. It’ll tackle what you anticipate to achieve personally and professionally as a results of writing your e-book and what are you in a position and prepared to make investments to get your guide revealed (money and time).

When you’ve got already created a function assertion, add it to your ebook venture plan. You’ll be reminded of your objective every time you replace your plan. Once you hit a tough patch, or develop into overwhelmed, having your function assertion proper up entrance in your e-book venture plan will allow you to reply the query, “Why am doing this, and why now?”

  1. Huge-picture process listing

What you add to your process record will rely upon what stage you’re at in getting your e-book revealed. Your activity listing may be affected by the topic and style of your guide. If in case you have a lot of writing to do to end the primary draft of your manuscript, you may break down your writing duties by chapter. It’s going to additionally rely a bit on what allow you to are planning to acquire from others:

  • Are you hiring a cowl designer?
  • Editor?
  • Advertising specialist?

If in case you have a lot of analysis to do, for instance, which may make its means onto the duty record.

Typically, although, the big-picture duties shall be comparable for many authors and most books.  Right here is an instance of a partial listing of starting-point duties we add to our plans to get your e-book revealed:

✓    Project begin

✓    Project function

✓    Advertising plan

✓    Manuscript improvement

✓    Advertising implementation

✓    Distribution prep

✓    Pre-Launch advertising

✓    Launch week

✓    Submit-launch advertising

In fact, underneath any of those high-level duties, you will want to add subtasks. Including these subtasks to the venture plan in your e-book has professional and con implications, particularly associated to manageability and readability.

With extra element comes extra effort. There shall be extra comply with up and extra reporting, BUT you’re much less apt to miss out on the little issues.

With much less element, the method is far simpler to handle, comply with, and report on. However you may miss one thing necessary.

task and subtask list screenshot

  1. Assets record

Easy and straightforward. That is the place you determine who will probably be doing what. You are able to do this in considered one of two methods. Use titles, or use individuals’s names. We use titles like writer, cowl designer, editor, proofreader, formatter, and so forth. If yours is a easy plan and you’re doing a lot of the work your self, you then won’t want this. (A phrase of recommendation although, by no means underestimate the necessity for an editor. In case you rent nobody else to assist together with your e-book, at the least rent an editor!)

  1. Deliverables record

Including a deliverables record is important. It doesn’t want to be exhaustive however will assist when you’re figuring out dependencies. Assigning dependencies will assist to understand the impression of early or late supply on different duties or deliverables, akin to your launch date.

Report the deliverable and who might be chargeable for the supply. Decide the period, the fee, and what activity(s) want to be completed earlier than this will begin and which activity(s) can’t begin till it’s delivered. The results of including deliverables to your venture timeline may seem like this in your plan.

timeline screenshot


  1. Project timeline 

The undertaking timeline is a part of the system and may tackle certainly one of many varieties. It may be so simple as your Outlook or Google calendar. You should use an Excel spreadsheet or refined gantt chart software program. The essential notion is to create a view of the development of every process and the way it relates to time passing, when it must be accomplished, and the order in relation to the opposite duties. As your challenge progresses, modify the dates or place in your system to offer you a view of how the modifications have an effect on what’s to come.  Listed here are a few examples:

google calendar screenshot

Google Calendar

Excel spreadsheet screenshot

Excel spreadsheet

screenshot of a Gantt chart

Gantt chart


By getting ready a ebook undertaking plan you’ll present your self with:

  • an efficient means to monitor how your undertaking is advancing
  • a view of which duties are usually not panning out as deliberate
  • what impact which may have on the general venture

It can assist you higher handle your e-book challenge in a skilled, business-like method.

And, approaching your guide venture with a small-business perspective will repay in spades by saving money and time. Additionally, you’ll seem to be organized and professional within the eyes of your suppliers and it’ll increase your personal confidence about getting your ebook revealed. Interval.

John is co-founder of Ingenium Books, which is a companion member of ALLi. He’s additionally a serial entrepreneur and a artistic challenge producer. John’s artistic & entrepreneur accomplishments embrace skilled musician (saxophone, vocals); recording engineer with artists like Peter Frampton, Celine Dion, Pat Metheny, and Leonard Cohen; soundtrack producer for movie and tv; coach and coach to the sound mixer workforce at MSNBC when the New York-based community went stay for the primary time in 1997; producer of notable video video games resembling Prince of Persia, Myst IV-Revelation, and Splinter Cell IV-Double Agent; COO in the course of the startup part for KANDY Outside Flooring Inc., licensed realtor in two Canadian provinces; a grasp canoeist; and ASA-certified sailor. John is co-author, together with his spouse and enterprise associate Boni Wagner-Stafford, of Rock Your Enterprise: 26 Important Classes to Begin, Run, and Develop Your New Enterprise From the Floor Up.

OVER TO YOU Do you have got any additional concepts to add to John’s recommendation? We’d love to hear them.

How to use a guide challenge plan to handle the manufacturing of your self-published ebook – by John Wagner-Stafford of @IngeniumBooks #selfpublishing #indieauthors Click on To Tweet

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