Another year older, maybe wiser
Since most of us don’t have assistants or secretaries, this seems like an additional work load. It is that. But, friends, you must set up a filing system that works the way you do, paper or computer, doesn’t matter, however you best function.
You need to keep a complete record of all communications that have to do with each project. I’m sure you keep your contracts filed, but I’m talking about the nitty grit. Stuff that seems unimportant, everyday back-and-forth, stuff that makes you go, “Who cares?” Someone does.
Writing a book can be a long process from beginning to end. You interface with a lot of different people in different positions. You’ll accumulate a lot of dribble. But that dribble could become important. You might think, when you begin the process with your book, you will remember everything and everyone. You won’t. You can’t. You’re concentrating on your writing, not on daily dribble. Everyone is working on multiple projects. No one can remember who said what when.
Your job is to write. When you’re involved in a project you are physically and emotionally connected to the work. It’s what’s important to you. It’s what you concentrate on, the part that matters. We aren’t so much interested in the business angles. We aren’t businessmen, we’re writers. But, writers, listen, whether you’re contracted or self-pubbing, you are a business.
Whatever you would ask your imaginary business manager to do, you must do for yourself. And that includes keeping communication records, all of it, for every project you do. When the book is released, been out there a year, throw it out. But while you are in the process, don’t throw out anything pertaining to that work.
Writers are tactile workers, we love the feel of paper and the smell of ink. Many don’t enjoy the e-versions of filing. It’s the part I dislike the most about working on a computer, those filing systems. They don’t make sense to me. I’m all hands on, not cerebral. I don’t read e-books; don’t file well on a computer. But, I have paper files. Lots of them. This year, one of the important lessons I learned is to actually fill those files, not with just what seems important, but all of it.
My normal behavior is print out email, read, respond, deal with it, and I’m finished. Into the recycle paper bin it goes. I’ve learned to print it, read it, respond, deal with it AND file it. It’s important. Forewarned is forearmed, dear writers. Set up a good filing system for 2016.