Analogue v Digital - Book stuff

by Amanda Fleet

I've already talked about how I plan/write books here and here. And it will come as no surprise to learn that I will be using the Page One book for planning upcoming novels. But what about 'other stuff' around writing?

What 'other stuff'?

Well... notes on marketing for a start. Also, character notes. Records of which ISBNs I've used. Notes/records on how each book is faring...

Now, don't choke with amazement, but not all of these notes are analogue.

1. Marketing Notes

Marketing is the bane of my life. I loathe it! But it's a necessary evil. Nonetheless, I have no desire to spend time on anything that doesn't actually work marketing-wise. I have a background in science and so like data. Thankfully, I can get largely real-time information on sales so I can see what's working and what isn't.

The book I'm using for marketing notes is an A5 dot-grid Leuchtturm. Why? Well, I like to be able to draw tables and charts, so the dot-grid is useful for that, without being hugely intrusive, and for once, I'm using the table of contents at the start, for finding my notes quickly, so the in-built TOC and page-numbering is helpful. A5 is a good size - it doesn't fill my desk, but has enough space for copious notes.

2. Character Notes

At the moment, these are on index cards. I know, how very, um, retro of me... I keep having dreams of putting them all into a database, and maybe one day I will, so I can search them for books/name/attributes etc. Right now, there is a set of cards for each book, sorted alphabetically for that book, and filed in an old, plastic index card box I acquired while teaching. Ultimately, I really will need to do something more searchable for them. (I don't actually have quite as many as are shown in the image!)

3. ISBNs

Digital!!! Don't die of shock! I bought 10 ISBNs for my publishing imprint and I need to keep track of which one is used for which book. This record is kept in an Excel file (with a paper back-up, natch!).

4. How a book is faring

Again, this is an Excel file. Just as torture, really, I decided to keep an account of how each book has done - how much I have spent on it (editing, cover design, marketing, etc.) and how much it has made through sales. This is a very depressing file. I don't look at it often. But it's an Excel spreadsheet with a sheet for each book, to make the maths easier.

Of course, for the actual writing of a book, I use a gazillion notebooks, before writing/editing on my laptop in Scrivener.


Leuchtturm 1917 A5 dot-grid (other colours available)

Page One (other colours available)