Monday, October 24, 2011

Illustrating "The Ice Castle" Part 2: Production Schedule

When you're a freelancer, juggling multiple assignments can be tricky. For some reason jobs tend to come in a tangle and a rush, all clumped together. I'm sure it's some kind of cosmic law - the same one that dictates that when you drop a slice of buttered bread, it always has to fall face down.

One of the benefits of working on a long-term project like a book is that you're given a production schedule that sets out the project milestones clearly and precisely. And although the dates aren't set in stone (publishing is a lot like the army - sometimes you have to hurry up and wait) you still have a pretty good gauge of how to pace yourself and when you can accept other assignments.

It also doesn't hurt if you stick to the schedule and try not to wait until the last minute to do your work -- unless you don't mind 24 hour days and being glued to your chair somehow feels nautral to you. Sometimes you can't help that - you're thrown a last minute change or the editor or art director decides something extra is needed. There can (and most likely will) always be emergencies, so, as my old girl scout leader used to say, be prepared.

I've included a copy of the production schedule for "The Ice Castle" (above). So far things have gone smoothly and with one exception we've stuck pretty close to the schedule. As you can see, even though the pub date isn't until August 2012, a lot of the work is due way in advance so that all of the elements: editing, illustration, book design, marketing, and sales can all come together to make a great book.

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