Workcation, it has to be said, is a grim-sounding word. Why would anyone run those two concepts together? However, I read an interview with Holly Worton on the Creative Penn website which mentioned the concept, and decided that it might be worth a go.
I have a project which I’ve been meaning to get on with for ages – does this sound familiar yet? Briefly, I’ve been meaning to sort out new covers and a bit of a rebrand for my Pippa Parker Mysteries series, and it just hasn’t happened. The reason for the change of covers is that the current ones, while they were OK at the time, now seem a bit old fashioned, and they skew a bit too young and cute for the content of the books, in my opinion.
Anyway, I’d scoped out some darker photo covers, but when I put them in front of people, opinion was mixed. Some people liked them while others found them ordinary, and lots of people said that sticking with vector graphics was the way to go. And looking at comparable books on Amazon, I found myself agreeing.
I tried working with a cover design company, but it just didn’t work out. So there I was, with a stalled project, having already invested some time and got nowhere – except for finding out what didn’t work, which I suppose is progress of a kind.
So my thoughts turned to the workcation. Could this be an opportunity to try out the idea? Well, there was one way to find out.
I didn’t go full-scale workcation. For one thing, it wasn’t at the weekend and I didn’t book myself into a hotel. However, I did do these things:
- I set myself goals – a minimum goal and some stretch goals.
- I wrote a rough plan for each of the two days.
- I finished off other commitments owing so that I didn’t have to worry about them.
- I worked in a different place in the house.
- I used social media only in breaks.
- I bought two nice lunches, to try and kid myself that I was having a special treat.
So did it work? I believe it did.
My minimum goal was to get the covers for the 6 main books finalised over two days. However, I also wanted to do lots of other things: review blurbs, check the books’ categories were right, and update the interiors of both ebooks and paperbacks. The difficulty was that I didn’t know how much I would be able to do in two days of focused work, because I’m so used to fitting this stuff in around everything else.
What I found was that having a plan and permission to concentrate on just one thing really helped me focus. Even not checking in on social media except in breaks felt liberating. By the end of day 1, I had 6 covers I was pretty happy with. To be fair, I had been working on one cover beforehand, but having the luxury of a chunk of time helped me get through the others at speed.
And what about day 2?
I admit that I was tired at first after the focus of day 1. But as I settled to revamp blurbs and taglines, doing something different from the previous day – but still part of the project – kept me interested.
I’d realised part-way through day 1 that doing the ebooks and the paperbacks would be too much for two days – changing the cover design also meant changing all the chapter headings in the paperbacks. Therefore part of my work on day 2 was dividing the work into three parts – ebook novels, paperbacks, and the two ebook omnibuses (which may be joined by paperback versions, but that’s for another day).
By the end of the two days, I’d done 6 ebook covers, tweaked blurbs and added taglines, updated all the Amazon book categories for each book, and updated all my ePubs ready to upload to Amazon with the new covers.
What went well?
- Limiting social media to breaks
- Having a ‘special’ lunch
- Taking breaks away from my desk
- Working in a different location (though the cats were annoyed)
Would I do it again?
Definitely! In fact, I’m thinking of doing a couple of workcations per month, because there are always projects I never get round to and I think this approach would really help me tackle them. Plus, you know, special lunches… 😉
Want to see the new book covers?
Here you go!
And if you’d like to read more about the workcation idea, here is Holly Worton’s blog post on the subject.