By BWC Team in 2023

self publishing timeline

Writing a book is not just about penning down your ideas and the story itself; it is much more than that. You might face some problems while writing your book as a beginner, but that is not all. If you plan to self publish, it might take a few months. However, if you decide to publish traditionally, remember that it will take approximately 9 to 18 months before your book hits your shelves. This wait is due to the setup process of preparing your book for publication.

This blog will help you understand the self publishing timeline and guide you about what it takes to get your book through publication quickly. Furthermore, every publishing company has a different timeline so this guide will give you a better idea of the book publication process. So grab a cup of coffee and keep reading!

The Self Publishing Timeline!!

self publishing timeline

12-18 Months Before Publication: Building the Dream Team

It usually takes about 12- 18 months before a book is released. The timeline may be extended with the editorial team acquiring and scheduling books for publication. The publishers follow a “Three Season Cycle,” with winter (January – April), Summer (May–August), and fall (September – December). The books for each season are presented simultaneously to the in-house sales team. Even if you submitted your book before the publication deadline, if the cycle season is already filled to the brim or you missed the sales launch by a few days, your book will be delayed to a later season, such as fall.

9-12 Months Before Publication: Countdown to Launch

Let us not stop emphasizing the importance of a good title for any book to put it into the spotlight. About 9 to 10 months before your book is published, you will have to submit a highly creative and final draft of the title/subtitle of your book and the marketing copy to your editor. The copy includes a detailed description of the book content and an author bio. This is necessary to initiate the cover design process, where the editor will put forward your book in front of the art team. They also create fact sheets, one-page documents containing essential information for the sales team to pitch to booksellers and customers. Despite being considered unavoidable, fact sheets are essential for promoting the book.

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9 Months Until Release: The Delivery!

As an author, it is important to understand and realize that sending your work to the editor does not mean receiving an immediate response. This is because they are also stacked up with other books, putting them in a triage situation. They will respond as soon as possible, but it might take a while. Your book can be circulated around all the other departments to read and gather feedback before it is ready for publication. Although it can be a nail biting procedure, it's all part of the process, so wait up!

8 Months to Go: Welcoming Editorial Feedback!

This is when you will get to know about the feedback from your editor. The feedback includes developmental edit, which focuses on global issues and requests revisions. It may also have a combo dev/line edit, which addresses big picture and line-by-line work. Once you receive the feedback, you will be left with a short period of time to complete your revisions. Once you submit your final draft, your editor will read it and hand it over to you again for another round of edits. This will not take much time because now the editor is eager and excited to move towards the production step. Despite the short turnaround, you will complete your revisions, and your book will begin production. Additionally, you will receive a cover design and jacket copy for review and approval.

7 Months Before Launch – Production Time

Congratulations! Your work as an author ends here! You did it. Now the production team will forward your book to the technical editing stage. Opening move is copyediting, where you review the book, accept or reject the changes and make the final amendments. Once you return the copy edit back to the production team, you cannot make any further changes. Sample page layouts will be provided for the interior design of the book. After completing these tasks, your book is ready for the next stage of production, bringing you closer to seeing your work published.

6 Months Before Launch: Catalogs Arrive and the Sales Team Kicks into Action!

self publishing timeline

This step is very essential in the entire publication process. This is where the sales team presents your book to different booksellers along with additional materials such as sample content and cover design. It is a misunderstanding among new authors that getting their books into the self publishing platforms requires zero effort. However, it requires a sales person of each account, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and major book distributors, to meet with the buyers each season and convince them to take a "big position" on your book. The salesperson sells a book based on its merits, resulting in orders of 1,000 or 20,000 copies, depending on the bookseller and publisher's size. If the publisher rejects the idea of "crashing" the book onto the list, it's likely that the book won't be cataloged and sold on schedule. In 99% of cases, it's in the author's best interest to publish on a schedule that ensures good cataloging and sales. Moreover, six months before publication, the PR team pitches the book to long-lead magazines and generates buzz and awareness among the readers.

4 Months Prior To Publication: Design And Proofreading!

Now that all the important and substantive edits are complete, your book is ready for typesetting. Typesetting is where the edited words are sent down into the approved page layout format. Typeset pages, also known as the proof pages, are sent together to you and the proofreader. The proofreader corrects any mistakes or typos, and you have the final minute to read and check your book before it goes to the press.

A few of the publishers also proofread the book again before sending it as ready for printing. During this period, you and your editor may send typeset pages to well-known writers for cover endorsements and receive cover proofs for approval. Uncorrected proof pages may turn into paperback-style "bound galleys" for reviewers to generate buzz for the book before publication.

3 Months Away – Sending Your Book to the Publishing Platform

Don’t lose hope yet, we are almost there… your book is on the way.

Communicate with your book publishing platform whether Amazon KDP or any other about any specific formatting or ebook requirements. Once the book is sent to the self publishing platform they will approve it and voila! It's time to earn royalties from your book sales.

Publication Day: Celebrating Your Big Achievement!

Finally, it's done. You did it. Your book is ready and now all you are left to do is to sell your book.

Key Takeaways

Self-publishing can be a challenging journey for first-time authors, but with a well-planned timeline, it can be a rewarding experience. Understanding the stages of writing, editing, formatting, design, publishing, and marketing is important. Each stage requires time, patience, and dedication, but the rewards are worth it. With the right mindset and understanding of the process, first-time authors can successfully publish their books and reach their target audience.

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