This recent blizzard on the East Coast (which will delay my return to Portland by almost a week) has reminded me that sometimes you’re just going to get caught off guard. So when it comes to planning for important things like the release of your new album, expect the unexpected. Plan way ahead.

1) Schedule extra rehearsals before recording. Don’t be surprised by what you hear coming back through studio monitors.

2) Schedule extra studio time. Frustration, multiple takes, experimentation, recording alternate versions of songs, and deliberation can eat up studio time very quickly. Make sure you’re not feeling “the squeeze.”

3) Make sure you’ve discussed a backup plan with your engineer and producer in case any complications arise (computer failures, family emergencies, travel disruptions, etc.). You’ll want to be sure that, within a reasonable time-frame, they can make up for any delays their unforeseen situations may have caused.

4) Leave enough wiggle room between tracking and mixing dates. You never know who is going to second-guess what at the last minute, or who will want to get back into the studio to redo a background harmony.

5) Leave enough wiggle room between mixing dates and mastering. Once you’ve spent so much time on a recording project, you don’t want to rush it at this point just to meet a closing deadline.

6) Leave enough wiggle room between mastering and your target date for artwork completion and submission for duplication. You might not be thrilled with the first pass of the master and want to try a few rounds of revisions.

7) Don’t book your release party until your discs are in your hands! You never know what act of nature, act of God, or act of man will cause delays at the pressing plant or in the mail. Plus, what if your duplication company put the wrong color blue on your discs? What if they put a different artists’ discs in your jewel cases? What if? What if? What if?

8) Once you know your CD is golden, book your release show. Most talent-buyers book at least 3 months out anyway, so that will give you just the right amount of time to launch your promo campaign. Oh, and with your promo campaign too… plan ahead. Expect the unexpected.

-Chris R. at CD Baby