How to Become an Organized Author

Being an author is no joke, and being an indie author is really no joke. Yes, you have a lot of control over your business, and this can be so rewarding, but it also means that you are responsible for everything in your business. From marketing, to ISBNs, to bookkeeping, and ugh—paying those dreaded taxes. It can become overwhelming very quickly.

You didn’t get into this business to figure out Instagram's constantly shifting algorithm or to become a world class marketer. You got into this business to do one thing—write good books! 

Fear not: you can do this. There are a couple of tactics that successful entrepreneurs swear by, and I’m going to share them with you in this article. Many indie authors have come before you and figured out this rhythm and dance without losing their sanity. (Unless we’re talking about psychological thriller authors. Those guys lost their minds years ago.) I’m going to share their discoveries with you so that you can avoid some of the headaches they definitely had. 

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As someone who's been an Executive Assistant to entrepreneurs for 9 years now, with 4 of those years spent assisting Dave Chesson himself, I’ve also been able to identify the commonalities amongst indie authors who are out there making it all happen. 

Before we dig in, I want to mention that I’m hosting a free training on 5 proven strategies that boost your efficiency and effectiveness as an author. Sign up using the button below! 

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The Common Struggles of Every Indie Author

Let's start by acknowledging the pain points that plague many indie authors on their quests for literary stardom. 

Time, that precious commodity, is often in short supply. Between writing, editing, marketing, and everything in between, authors often find themselves stretched thin, struggling to meet deadlines and fulfill obligations. Oh, and having a full-time day job and a family, too? Forget about friends and hobbies. Not having enough time can feel like an impossible problem to solve for many indie authors.

But time isn't our only adversary—overwhelm lurks around every corner. From managing social media accounts to shipping signed copies of books, the to-do list never seems to end. . . It often feels like all the plates are spinning and it’s only a matter of time before they all drop. The sheer volume of tasks on an indie author’s desk can leave even the most seasoned author feeling like they're drowning in a sea of responsibilities. 

And let's not forget about inefficiency—the silent killer of productivity. Manual processes, redundant tasks, and disorganized workflows sap both our time and energy. Inefficiency can leave any author feeling like they're spinning their wheels without making any real progress. 

Building Efficient Systems & Processes

Fear not, my author friends, for there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a three-pronged approach that promises to revolutionize the way you do business. This is the secret sauce that I’ve seen many successful authors build empires with. It’s what keeps their business running and their time freed up to write books that they love. 

Implementing Systems & Processes

You hear about systems and processes all day long when it comes to scaling and organizing your author business. But what does it actually mean? Let me break it down for you. 

  • A system is a series of steps taken to accomplish a goal or to run part of your business. 
  • A process is the steps taken within that system. 

Within an indie author business, you might have a system for your social media. The process might look like this: 

1. You take a hook or memorable quote from your book and create a TikTok out of it.

2. You research or have a bank of hashtags to pull from, select the ideal hashtags, and write a caption for your post. (Don’t forget to use Kindlepreneurs Hashtag Generator!)

3. You add a trending sound to it.

4. You post the TikTok.

5. You (or someone on your team) then repurpose the TikTok by posting it on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube Shorts with the appropriate caption and hashtags for each platform.

See? The terms “system” and “process” sound quite fancy, but you probably already have these repeatable, consistent systems in your business without even realizing it. And if you don’t, you should definitely start to document your processes and begin creating systems in your indie author business that will help you reduce the amount of decisions you have to make on a daily basis. 

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Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, are the backbone of all business operations. Basically, it’s a documented way of getting something done. When you create your systems and processes, the next step is to document any repeatable system and process that you have. That way, when you go to format your book next time you will remember all the exact steps you need to take, and you won’t become so focused on getting your print book right that you completely forget to format your ebook. (Yes, this happened before to a dear client of mine! Luckily they were able to get it sorted out in time before the launch. Phew.) 

If I haven’t already convinced you to implement systems, processes, and SOPs in your indie author business, consider this: decision fatigue. 

Decision fatigue is extremely common among authors and business owners alike. On average, we make 35,000 decisions a day. What t-shirt will you wear? What should you eat for lunch? What bills need to be paid? How much time should I book for that meeting? These decisions may seem like small ones, but their magnitude adds up to seriously affect our well-being. It’s no wonder you’re exhausted. 

The decisions you make as a writer should be the important ones! Like which character to kill off next, and how else you might torment your poor readers. 

How to Become More Organized

As much as we like to romanticize the unorganized, mysterious author and creative, the truth is that organization is the backbone to every successful author business. But being an organized author doesn’t mean you have to become some stiff-necked, rigid, boring creative. You have to grow your mindset as an author and realize that organization and discipline = freedom. 

Having a Dedicated Workspace

If you don’t already, you need to have some kind of workspace that is dedicated to your writing practice and your business tasks. It doesn’t need to be fancy. (Did you know Emily Dickinson wrote all her incredible books and poems with just a small, mediocre desk that looked out a window?) The following are essentials: 

  • A sturdy desk or table 
  • A decent chair (your kaboose is going to be spending a lot of time in it, so don’t skimp on this!) 
  • A reliable computer – even if you don’t have a big budget, nowadays you can find decent, inexpensive Chromebooks and laptops without much trouble
  • A good lamp for those late night writing sessions

Don’t underestimate investing in a good machine. You don’t have time to fiddle with glitchy software updates and charging cords not working. Make sure that your workspace is quiet and comfortable; you should be able to enjoy hiding away from the world so that you can focus on creating worlds of your own. 

Removing Distractions 

Put away your phone or put it in do not disturb mode. I repeat. Put it away! Don’t let it be allowed in your workspace. Every time a notification dings or you get a text message and you check it, it takes us on average 23 minutes to refocus. That is a lot of time! 

If you need to, you can even make it so your writing laptop isn’t connected to the internet. Famed author Sarah J. Maas does this. Her workspace is in her attic and her computer isn’t connected to the internet. This allows her to write undistracted. So, don’t be afraid to lock down when you’re in your writing space. 

Managing Your Time

When you feel overwhelmed as an author, you need to focus on carving out time for two things daily: writing and marketing. You have to keep writing your books and you have to keep marketing those books. When all else fails, remind yourself that these are the two essentials. When you feel like you’re falling behind, ask yourself these two questions: 

  1. When can I get some words down today?
  2. What do I need to do to market my books today?

My favorite way of accomplishing this is to encourage authors to carve out time in their calendar and call it “sacred time”. Your sacred time is for your writing and your writing only. Remember, this writing is sacred! Sacred means it’s dedicated, set apart, and respected. You (and those around you) have to respect this time in your calendar as such. If you can, try carving out an hour for writing and then half an hour for marketing.

Time management looks different for every author. Some authors are stay-at-home moms and their sacred time might be at night when the kids are finally in bed. For busy corporate leaders, this might mean getting to the office an hour early before everyone else and writing just a page a day (ahem, John Grisham did this). Remember, the pain of having to get up early now means someday you won’t have to! 

One day you will have more control over your schedule. But until then, you have to squeeze in the words and marketing where you can. Don’t give up! Every author has to start somewhere, and very few authors start out with wide-open schedules and little to no responsibilities. 

Pomodoro Method

No author can truly focus throughout their entire writing time. Your brain needs a break after a while! My suggestion for this is a favorite of many creatives: the Pomodoro method. 

The Pomodoro method involves working in sprints and giving yourself a short break between them. So you write for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. Then you come back and write for another 25 minutes,then take another 5 minute break. Some people like to do 50 minute sprints and 10 minute breaks. You can play around with different sprint/break times and find what feels best for you. I love using YouTube videos like these to help me keep track of my sprints and give me some background music that helps me focus. 

Keeping Track of Tasks

Part of what causes authors to feel overwhelmed is not having visibility of their tasks and deadlines. This is why I encourage authors to use a project management system whenever they can. There are tons of amazing options out there. Here are some of my personal favorites and why I love them:


To me, Notion is like a big binder with tabs in it. I love Notion because of its versatility and functionality. There’s no fuss about it, and you can make things as straightforward or as in-depth as you’d like. When I work with authors as an assistant or perform a systems overhaul, I love creating templates within Notion for authors to use again and again, whether it’s for launches, marketing, or even a formatting checklist. The possibilities are really endless. I also have a Notion template available that I’ve created just for authors here. 

You can customize Notion to your hearts delight! 

Or you can keep it incredibly simple and user-friendly. 


If you love lists, Asana is your best friend. With the ability to create tasks, give them due dates, and assign them to team members in a flash, it’s incredibly easy to use and manage. The feeling of checking off a task is like no other! In Asana you can also create templates that you can reuse for launches, and you can create recurring tasks for things you need to do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 


Trello is great if you’re someone who needs a comprehensive visual of everything that you have going on. With it having a kanban board view, it’s sort of like having a giant bulletin board with sticky notes that you can move from one column to another. With Trello, you can also assign tasks due dates, create templates, and invite members of your team to collaborate on each different book or launch. 

Sound Like Too Much?

Ok, so now you have your systems in place and your shiny new SOPs, but how do you scale your author business when there is just no time left in the day? The answer is the third prong: virtual teams. By enlisting the support of virtual assistants, formatters, editors, cover designers, and more, authors can offload non-essential tasks and delegate responsibilities with confidence. 

Whether it's managing social media accounts, scheduling book signings, formatting your book, or conducting market research, virtual team members offer a cost-effective solution to the perennial problem of time scarcity. With the right virtual team supporting them, authors can reclaim their time, reduce stress, and unlock their full potential.

How to Begin Building a Team

Start with this exercise. 

  1. Write down everything you do in a week for your author business. And I mean everything. Answering emails. Plotting. Writing. Ordering covers. Responding to reader comments. Checking Goodreads. Everything. 
  1. From all these tasks, identify the ones that only you can do. For authors, this is pretty obvious—writing! From there, identify the tasks that you hate doing. The ones that take up way too much time and energy because you procrastinate them, or the ones that take way longer than they should because you’re just not great at doing them. 
  1. Once you identify the tasks that are bogging you down, begin outsourcing those ones first. Document your systems and processes using something simple and then create SOPs for them.You can create an author biz training manual in just one Google Doc to start with, play around in Notion, or even use a spreadsheet. Maybe you don’t have a set “system” necessarily, but you do have templates that you’ve created. For example, maybe you’ve created a template for your book series within Atticus. You can document this process so an assistant can start helping you with formatting.  Perhaps you frequently stack book promotion deals and cycle through promoting your different books. Write this process down and note the rhythm you follow, how you decide what to promote where. The goal is to get all of this stuff out of your head and onto paper.

Finding the Right Teammates

Finding someone you can outsource tasks to is less about competency and more about trust. You could hire the world's greatest editor, but do you trust them to get the job done in a timely manner so you can stay on track with your launch schedule?

Oftentimes other authors will have trusted editors, formatters, assistants, cover designers, etc. that they like working with and can refer to you. Ask around and see who your author friends recommend, or try asking in author groups on Facebook. You can hire many different freelancers by using a marketplace like Reedsy

A word of caution: be sure to vet potential hires thoroughly before sending them any money. You can always ask for references and do some quick research on Google, Facebook, etc. to see reviews from others who have worked with them before. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s common for folks like editors, formatters, or virtual assistants to ask for a partial payment up front. This isn’t shady business; they are professionals who are trying to protect themselves, too. 

No matter what, always, always have a contract or working agreement in place when you begin outsourcing. This protects both you and the person that you’re hiring for the job. 


In the fast-paced world of indie authorship, success favors the bold—those willing to embrace change, adapt to new technologies, and leverage the power of strategic partnerships. By building efficient systems, refining processes, and assembling virtual teams, indie authors like you can navigate the complexities of self-publishing with confidence and clarity.

So, fellow authors, I leave you with a challenge. Dare to dream big, but also dare to invest in an infrastructure that will turn those dreams into reality. By mastering the art of systems, processes, and virtual teams, you'll not only survive in the competitive world of indie authorship—you'll thrive.

Let's go write our success stories, one chapter at a time.

And don’t forget that I’m hosting a free training on 5 proven strategies that boost your efficiency and effectiveness as an author! You can sign up using the button below. 

Register for the May 15th Webinar

Register Now

Register for the May 16th Webinar

Register Now

Ready to revolutionize your indie author business? Start by implementing one new system, refining one process, or exploring the possibility of hiring a virtual assistant. Your future self will thank you for it! 

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