How Long Does it Take to Publish a Book?

Whether you are publishing with a hybrid publisher or self-publishing, bringing your book into your reader’s hands takes time. How long this process takes depends on a number of things—from how long it takes for you to write your manuscript—to the editing of your book. In our experience at PYP, this is an average estimated timeline of the publishing process. Other paths will vary in regards to how fast or slow it will take to get your book published. Below are some of the major components of the book publishing process and their respective timelines

Writing and Editing

The first thing you need to do is finish writing your manuscript. The writing process takes as long as you need it to, so sticking to a schedule for writing will keep you on track and make sure that meet your deadlines and complete your manuscript. One tip that can help you keep on track is using journaling to keep the creativity flowing. Another tip that will help you push through the writing phase is thinking beyond your publication date and knowing at the end that it will be worth it.

The first month is typically spent on the developmental editing stage. This means having an editor look over your manuscript looking from a 30,000-foot view. At this stage they will help you with identifying any gaps holes in the framework of your manuscript. They will look to ensure the chapters you currently have are in the right order, if new chapters needed to be added, or even if a whole chapter should be deleted (ask our founder, Jenn, about having had chapter 7 deleted from her last book).

The second month is when you begin planning your larger marketing campaign. While this is happening you are still editing your manuscript. This is the line editing phase. A line editor is reviewing your manuscript paragraph by paragraph and line by line. They are ensuring that all of your thoughts within each chapter are in the right order, that you are making your points, and that you are ultimately delivering on the promise of your book to your readers.

The third month is when you begin working with a copy editor. A copy editor reviews your manuscript for the nitty-gritty details of grammar and punctuation. Additionally,  this is also where you would start collecting testimonials and a forward for your book. These items lead into ways in which you can market your book before it is available to your readers. These tasks include—setting up a website, logo, social media, headshots, and email marketing. These are things that will help you effectively market your book and get your audience hyped about it before your book launch. Another tip is taking your readers along for the ride updating them about the progress of your book.

The final phase of editing, often occurring within months three or four, is proofreading. This is that final set of eyes on your manuscript to ensure all Is are dotted and Ts are crossed before it moves into the interior layout phase.

Social media

Publishing Logistics & Marketing Strategy

Once the proofreading phase is finished and your marketing foundation has been set, months four and five will be designing your book cover and additional work on your marketing strategy.

The design of your book includes the front and back cover design, internal layout (typesetting), any illustrations, charts, graphs, or pictures that are included, and the title/subtitle of your book. If you do not have a designer already in mind and aren’t a graphic designer, do not try to do your own design. The saying don’t judge a book by its cover, unfortunately, doesn’t apply to actual books. Many people decide whether or not they will read a book based on the front cover.

As your book continues to be developed and closer to the finished product, you want to continue to update your website and social media about the progress. Taking your audience along for the ride will generate hype about your book and keep your audience engaged. This also updates them on a timeline of when your book is expected to be released. A marketing tactic could be putting out a chapter of your book for free if they sign up for your email list or follow you on social media, as one example.

During this time you want to consider where your audience is and how you are going to reach them, i.e. what social media platforms they are on, what they listen to, where they shop, etc. Blindly marketing on every platform you can name may get you results but focusing your marketing and advertising efforts will make more people aware and hyped up about your book. For example, if you are writing a book about health and wellness and your readers are also listeners of podcasts, then finding wellness podcasts and getting on those podcasts as a guest will be more effective then promoting tweets on twitter.

Planning marketing

Marketing Execution

Month six should be focusing on all of the marketing plans that you have been making. Make sure that you are sticking to a schedule for emails, social media posts, and appearing on all relevant (social) media platforms. You want to make connections and schedule time as a guest to appear on podcasts, radio shows, guest blogs, etc. The more you can leverage the connections you have to engage your audience directly the better.

Month seven continues to get people hyped up about your book launch. Ideally, your book should be complete or just about complete. Sticking to the schedule that you made for yourself and continuing to leverage the connections that you’ve built up during the publishing process to promote your book.

Month eight is your book launch! Take a moment to relish in the work that you’ve put in and the people that will read your book. This doesn’t mean that everything just stops at this point. You want to continue to promote and advertise your book for the next few months riding the momentum from your book launch and making new connections with businesses, people, and readers. The day of your book launch isn’t the finish line, it’s actually the starting line. This is where the fun begins—creating impact and changing the world, with your book!

Originally published in Publish Your Purpose Press.

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