Sprint 3: March Edition
March 1, 2015 by David T. Allen
It’s March 1st, and you know what that means: Sprint Planning Day! We learned a lot in February and are making a few adjustments this month.
The day started like many Sundays: getting brunch with our friends. But first, we had to let out Leslie’s brother’s dogs.
Garett and Lauren will be leaving for their second farming internship, so it was important to send them off with omelets and mimosas. It was a pleasure to dine with Travis and Jeff – we haven’t seen them much since winter started.
Let’s look at what happened in February.
Sprint 2 Retrospective
We decided against publishing Dream Eater’s Carnival in sprint 1 since all beta readers pointed out similar issues. The plan for sprint 2 was for Leslie to continue submitting Echo Chamber Heist chapters to our critiquing group while Dave focused on publishing Dream Eater’s Carnival.
In short, it worked! Dream Eater’s Carnival was published February 21, 2015 on Kindle.
It was a hard month because we were essentially managing three projects: the website, publishing Dream Eater’s Carnival, and progressing with Echo Chamber Heist.
Leslie was a bit too ambitious on February 1. She did incredibly well, but there were a few obstacles.
First, she joined an intense critique group that required her to critique about 18,000 words and to post 6,000 words a week. We discovered that hard deadlines actually demotivated her. The group was a six week commitment and is over soon.
Additionally, the chapters she worked on were much rougher than the ones she edited in January. All of the Echo Chamber Heist chapters were set aside over a year ago when we took a break from them to write Dream Eater’s Carnival, so she hadn’t realized how much harder they would be to fix.
Finally, she helped me finish beta reader and proofreading edits, which we hadn’t originally planned for.
With the help of Leslie, I was able to publish Dream Eater’s Carnival to Kindle at the end of February. I would have liked to finish more but we faced a lot of issues with ebook formatting. Work also took a lot of time, and I injured my wrists. I began using Windows 8’s speech recognition software to type. I desperately need a better microphone.
We decided to not focus on publishing on other stores, such as Kobo, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble. From what I read, Kindle is the friendliest to new indie authors, and many of their best features aren’t available to authors who publish on other platforms.
I also updated the styling of our website, which was unplanned.
Do not enter entangling alliances. Leslie and I are incompatible with rigid schedules. Twice now we’ve entered strict critique groups and both times we were less productive.
- Leslie and I are a little too focused on the cork board. We need to schedule time for cleaning the house, cooking, and having fun. Once we realized this, Leslie bought groupons for a burlesque show and paragliding.
Kindle publishing tools have inconsistent formatting. I’ll write articles about the difficulties we faced later, and maybe I’ll published a sample ebook to compare how it renders across their apps.
- Finishing things feels good. Real good. Publishing Dream Eater’s Carnival has lifted a huge weight off of our shoulders.
This month, Leslie will focus on polishing the chapters we’ve written over the past five years.
I will research marketing. From what I’ve read, marketing isn’t that helpful when you only have one book, but I want to experiment, and that takes time.
I should have enough flexibility to edit a few chapters for Echo Chamber Heist and outline the later chapters. As a stretch goal, I’d like to release a book of short stories in the next year or two. I brainstormed a short story over coffee with Leslie and will try to finish a draft of it this month.
Let’s look at March’s board:
We pinned thread to divide our goals into weeks. This should help us focus on the most important goals instead of just the things we want to do, and also give us feedback on our progress at the end of each week.
Leslie also scheduled four “No Book” days. It may seem counterintuitive but we think this will increase happiness and productivity. Also, it should force us to do new things.
We added our finished tasks to the work complete jar. Zug-zug.