One of the easiest and the hardest aspects of self-publishing is having no one to report to. You are the organizer, the lead, the boss. When you publish your own books, you are the one who calls the shots. This can be a wonderful gift as well as be frustratingly difficult, especially when it comes to deadlines.
To successfully publish a book, you have to eventually have deadlines. Sooner or later, the book will need to go to the printer and for marketing purposes, you’ll have to decide when that will be. From then on, you’re working under deadline and it’s up to you to get yourself and everyone else working with you on your book there on time.
To meet your final deadline, decide when you want your book to be published and in your hands then work back from there. Giving yourself extra time at every step, start working your way backwards on the calendar. How long will it take the printer to produce the book? For you to look at final proofs? Make final edits? Let beta readers examine the book? By working your way backwards, you’ll be able to come up with all the smaller deadlines you’ll need to meet in order to make your final and most important deadline.
Remember to give yourself lots of time at every stage. Things will always come up in the publishing process you did not expect and you’ll want to be sure to have time for them. Also, remember the people reading your manuscript as beta readers are volunteers and things will come up in their lives as well. It takes a certain finesse to manage the work of volunteers, a generous and steady hand. Make sure deadlines are met while also understanding they have a lot going on as well and are giving you a huge gift of their time and effort. No matter what, make sure they know you appreciate it.
In the end, it’s going to be you and only you who gets the book to the printer on time. Stay organized, keep at it, and enjoy the process.