But that does not mean I flit randomly between planning and seat-of-the-pants actions. There is some structure there.
For starters, I tend to work in layers. No matter what the endeavor, I need to see the big picture, at least in outline. I need to see how the detail fits together. From there, how much I plan depends a lot on my level of confidence. The less familiar I am with the terrain, or the bigger the risk of something going horribly wrong, the more painstakingly I plan ahead.
When it comes to the business of publishing, I am on entirely unknown territory and the stakes (in my own mind, anyway) are high. So it's no surprise that I'm planning the heck out of this publishing lark like an assault on the Normandy beachhead.
Start off with lots of research: The legal aspects of running a business (like registration, tax and accounting), publishing and distribution channels, things other than the story itself that go into a book (like internal book design, formatting, cover art, ISBNs, CIP, and LCCN), marketing, website, etc.
From all of this murk an outline plan is emerging, driven largely by what obstacles stand in the way of completing any given task and working backwards from there.
- Look into publishing/distribution options and decide how I'm actually going to publish this puppy.
- Determine the formatting requirements for the chosen outlets.
- Research and choose a book designer.
- Set up business and tax registration.
- Work with book designer to sort out the required content, including book blurb, author photo, ISBN etc.
- Create web site.
Of course, each of these steps has lots more detail beneath it, but I'm happy now that I've planned out the big picture.
Sounds simple, no? What can possibly go wrong...