With the new year, I love to re-organize myself. I create a new calendar (modified from Audrey Hughey’s fantastic author planner) and take a good look at my computer filing system to make sure that all my books and pictures are well backed up and everything is easily accessible and, more importantly, easily found.

A little over two years ago, I bought myself a new computer which I love except for a few caveats. Somehow, I didn’t think it would be a problem, but I saved money by buying a computer with very little onboard memory: 128 gigs. Little did I realize that most of that space would be taken up by my programs alone! I’ve got almost no space for actual files. Ugh!

What this means is that I make excellent use of a little flash drive (with the same amount of memory as the internal disk drive) and storage in “the cloud”, ie Microsoft’s OneDrive (I get 1 terabyte free with my Office 365 subscription). It also means that I have to be super-vigilant about what and how much I store on my actual computer and make sure that I know where to find what I’m looking for since it can be in one of three places.

On top of all this, I also have to make sure that my work is backed up elsewhere because flash drives fail, sometimes I don’t have access to the internet, and goodness knows computers aren’t failsafe either! So, I’ve got a separate external hard drive I back up to every month and a service which automatically backs up the files (at least, the ones on my computer) every day.

So, how do I keep track of where everything is? Well, I keep all my books in a descriptive folder system on my flash drive which looks like this:

My Books

Series Title

Book Title

All book files are named “book title” and then brief descriptor like “final”, “thoughts”, or “cover copy”. I do all my own formatting (naturally, since I do it professionally for others) so I also have in there the “clean” version (that’s the version that’s ready to be formatted after being thoroughly cleaned of all extraneous Microsoft Word codes which accidentally get in there when we’re writing our books), as well as the POD version and the ebook files. With everything in one place, I’m sure to find what I’m looking for.

Because I sometimes go out to a café to work and don’t always take my computer with me, I also always keep a file folder for each book on OneDrive which contains the latest or final version. Anywhere I am, so long as I have internet access, I have access to all my books, and—bonus—it’s a backup.

I used to keep a paper copy of each book as well but realized that that was really a waste of both paper and precious space in my home. Strangely enough, I also kept all of the notes I’d write when I wrote the book too, but then realized that no one was ever going to look at them since I was never going to become so famous that anyone would want to see my trail of thoughts as I wrote each of my books. I’ve now recycled them all, as painful as that was—so many memories!

So, how do you organize your books? Do you keep paper copies? How many places do you back up your work (please tell me it’s at least two: one on a physical drive, one in the cloud). Oh, and here’s a bonus my formatting clients receive—I keep all of their books on my OneDrive too! Should anything ever happen to their computer or backups, I’ve got the files they sent to me to format. You can never have too many backups of your work!