Full confession: I lost the Blog Events Word document on my computer. I have no idea where it is, nor do I have any hope of finding it. (Even though I need to do all sorts of authorial business, like update back matter and fix a typo or two.)
Don’t let this happen to you. Seriously. Don’t let it happen to you. It’s not a fun position to be in. Trust me!
Organize your files. And don’t politely organize: be ruthless.
I learned from my mistakes. Two components are important: 1. Specific title names and 2. Hierarchical structure.
Specific title names will never leave you guessing which file you’re looking at. Version three of draft two of chapter twenty? GOT IT. The first version of chapter four? GOT IT.
And you’ll find them easily too. If you ever need to compare past files with your current files, specific title names are your key to never losing your cool. And with publishing being stressful enough already, you definitely don’t want to create more stress for yourself.
These specific file names will also come in handy when you’re creating final files, especially those that will be sent to readers or submitted to be published. You wouldn’t want to publish your an outdated version of your book, and specific title names (like those with the word “final” in it!) will help.
A hierarchical structure becomes necessary to sort through all your files. Imagine all the files you have with just one book. Now imagine thirty books across seven series. Crazy town. Unless you create a strong hierarchical structure. Series > Book > Version might be a good start.
Ultimately, you’ve got to find what works for you.
To demonstrate, here’s a video tour of my files for The Hunted, the urban fantasy series I’m working on. (Best viewed full screen.)