Why Can’t I Have My Book Out Next Month?
Dec 09, 2014
We live in a want-it-now, get-it-now culture. Cell phones, DVRs, and eBooks have put everything we want at our fingertips. Book retailers like Amazon and Smashwords have programs that allow writers to upload a manuscript and start selling it as an eBook right away. So it comes as a surprise to many first-time authors that it will take an average of six to nine months for their book to be published. Keep in mind these timeframes are for self-publishing or hybrid publishing, not for traditional publishing, which can take two or three times longer. The timeframe for your book may vary—we see some books published in four and a half to five and a half months.
Editing: The editing of the book is the most important, and also the most time-consuming, part of the publishing process. Editorial can take anywhere from one month to six months depending on the intensity of editorial needed. Proofreading and/or copyediting generally have quick turnaround times, while line and developmental editing will take much longer.
Design & Formatting: The design and formatting steps can vary greatly depending on how much design is being done and the type. Getting illustrations done for your book will add a lot of time onto the design process. Whereas just having a cover designed may only take about two weeks or so. Having the interior of your book formatted will also vary a lot depending on the elements of the book (photos, graphics, etc.), but plan on a couple of weeks.
Proofing & Advance Review Copies: You should receive a printed proof of your book to review after the design and formatting is done. Take your time and review it to make sure everything looks good, and submit any changes. After this time you’ll get a set of advance review copies for you to send to book reviewers to get early feedback on your book, submit to people you’d like to get endorsements from, or use for any advance marketing efforts. They may or may not have the final cover on the book. Plan on a month or two of getting feedback from sending out the advance review copies.
Revisions: After you have gotten feedback from sending out your advance review copies, you may work with your editor to go back and make some revisions to the book.
Marketing: Many of your marketing and promotional preparations can be done during other steps in the publishing process, such as the building of your website and setup of your social media. Marketing is an on-going task that never ends once the book is published.
You really don’t want to rush any of these steps—they’re all critical to publishing a successful book. If you rush a step such as editorial, and put out a book that has mistakes, in the long run you could create more work and lost time (and expenses) for yourself in having to go back and make corrections. So while you may be rushing to get the book out because your friends are dying to read it, tell them it will be worth the wait!