Keeping It All Organized – Seasoned Authors Series

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Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles

If you saw my writing space, you would weep for me. It’s crammed into a corner where the kitchen counter meets the dining room archway. I can almost touch the electric kettle, where my husband goes for tea at least a hundred times a day.

Stacks of writing magazines teeter on the dining table behind me. I’ve been meaning to read those. For, like, a year. At the far end of the room, a box of shipping supplies remains on the floor from my last launch party. I can see no part of my desk’s surface, thanks to schedules, bills (Oh, crap, I forgot to pay the post office box fee!), enough Post-Its to host my own ticker tape parade, and notebooks of every size and color.

It’s enough to make me want to strike a match.

The thing is, I’m an extremely organized person in all other areas of my life. If you ask my boss and coworkers at my day job to name my best professional quality, I’m pretty sure most would say, “Her organizational skills.” (We know it’s not going to be my positive outlook and go-getter attitude!)

So why is my writing space so disorganized? Because I’m a super busy writer with a tight schedule there’s no one holding me accountable. Most of the mess is marketing stuff, since that task seems to be taking over my life these days.

Am I the only author losing the battle will to stay organized? What’s the best way to track what works (or doesn’t), other than reams of paper scattered all over the house? I asked our seasoned authors how they keep it all together. In this digital world, you would think most would use computer calendars and spreadsheets, wouldn’t you? Yes, well, you’d be wrong.

Here’s the lineup and what they have to say about staying organized. Please feel free to click on their names to learn more about them.

Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.

Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.

Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.

Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.

Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at http://www.summersrye.wordpress.com

Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.

Jessica Jefferson is a bestselling author of historical romance. Her fifth novel is about to hit the market.

Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.

Petie McCarty is the author of five books, with the sixth coming in December. She writes contemporary paranormal romance for Desert Breeze and Soul Mate Publishing.


Today’s authors must do at least some of their own marketing. How do you keep everything organized? Spreadsheets? Word documents? Paper calendar?


Collette: I simply keep a list in a file for each of my books on my computer detailing what promotion I’ve used and whether it’s been worthwhile or not.

Tema: I kind of market by the seat of my pants, but I spend an hour or more every day on marketing. I keep folders filled with suggestions, how-to’s, websites, etc. If I had my way I’d do none of it. I much prefer being in my cave with my laptop filling pages.

Tina: I can honestly say, I still feel like I’m floundering with this. Because I write under two names, for two publishers, I have two FB accounts, two Twitter accounts, two websites, and two blogs. I’m hoping to pass some of this over to my assistant. I do feel like if I have her do more, I may lose personal contact with readers, which is an issue for me. Guess I may be a control freak.

Catherine: I like a paper calendar to keep me abreast of what’s coming up next, because one glance shows me everything. Color coding it helps, too. But I keep all my files about the blogs tours, review sites and such as Word documents. I’m trying to conquer the paper tiger, which prowls freely in my office.

Ryan Jo: Paper calendar for sure! I am old school Paper organized. Folders, calendar, notebooks. Everything has a name and a place. And I still manage to slip up once in a while.

Stacy: Paper calendar. I jot notes on my Dunkin’ Donuts calendar to keep myself on track. As an extra bonus prize, it comes with coffee coupons, which is far as I’m concerned is a gift for writers everywhere.

Samanthya: Being an accountant, I have pretty good organization skills and record keeping. I keep a calendar for blog posts and other appointments, I have a record book with a list of authors, blog spots, Facebook parties, but it is still difficult to keep up with so many when I need to work on a deadline.

Petie: I use all of the above. If you aren’t tracking your investments and public relations spreads, you are wasting your time. Not all advertising sites work the same. Some are successful and some just collect your money and bury you on a backlist or page. You have to keep track of where your efforts worked and resulted in sales and where they didn’t, so you know how to plot your future marketing strategies. And never overlap your advertising efforts on the same day or you will never know how each individual ploy worked out.

How do you stay organized? Do you prefer computer programs or old-fashioned paper?

Up Next Week: Throwing a Facebook Launch Party

Fiction That's Plaid to the Bone

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13 comments on “Keeping It All Organized – Seasoned Authors Series
  1. summersrye says:

    Julie, another great and helpful article. Keep them coming!

  2. Petie McCarty says:

    I loved this post, Julie! I laughed all the way through, especially the part about no one holding me accountable. I mean, holding you accountable! LOL

  3. Beth Carter says:

    OMG. Julie, you and I must have been separated at birth. I’ve found my long-lost twin. I can so identify with the piles surrounding my writing space, crap you mean to get to, good stuff you want to read but never do, interruptions by hubby, boxes of swag, launch party stuff, and not being held accountable at home while being uber organized at work.

    Thanks for the much-needed Monday chuckle! I’m very happy to hear I’m not the only old-school paper calendar and file person. Yippee. I feel ten years younger. Another great post. Thanks, all.

    • In truth, I’m ready to snap. I can’t handle any more piles of STUFF. Oh, and I just bought a paper desk blotter for 2016. Here’s the beauty of that, though: when I can no longer afford to pay my internet bill, I still have my calendar.

  4. The painful truth of being an author, MARKETING, ADVERTISING, ORGANIZING!!! Thanks Julie!

  5. MJ Compton says:

    Interesting mix of tips. I’m in the process of revamping my way of organizing things, so this is timely! Thanks.

  6. This is fabulous, Julie!! Thank you 🙂

  7. This series has been fun and helpful! Love hearing about how everyone does the basics.

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