If you’re thinking about self-publishing a book, one of your first questions might be, How long will it take from start to finish? At Self-Publishing Relief, we know many factors can affect the amount of time it takes to successfully complete your project. However, it is possible to create an estimated timeline by looking closely at where your manuscript is when you begin and what steps you must include to self-publish a book that you’ll be proud to put your name on. Here’s the best way to determine your own answer to the question, How long does it take when self-publishing a book?
Self-Publishing A Book: How Long Does It Take?
Getting organized before you even start will help you keep moving forward while giving each self-publishing step the care and attention it deserves. Rushing through the process will result in a sloppy, amateurish book that will reflect poorly on your writing. However, taking too long will delay publication of your book when it could have been in the hands of your readers. It’s important to strike a sensible balance.
First, make a checklist. Review everything you still need to accomplish to get your book to publication. Some important questions to ask yourself: Has your manuscript been professionally proofread and formatted? Is your book cover created to the correct specifications for your genre and the self-publishing company’s requirements—or will you be hiring a professional cover designer (highly recommended)? Do you need to create an account on the self-publishing platform? Will you be showing your first proof to friends and family for their feedback?
Once you’ve included all the steps you still need to take, this checklist will form the basis for estimating how long the process might take. Following your custom checklist will also help you keep track of your progress and ensure you don’t forget anything important!
Next, arrange for any publishing chores you will be outsourcing. If you’re having someone do the proofreading, formatting, book cover design, or any other steps, you should find out how long they will need to complete the job (and how much it will cost). Then you can work those time estimates into the schedule you’re building. Keep in mind that there may be some back-and-forth as you approve cover designs and review other work outsourced, so be sure to include some buffers in your publishing timeline.
Many tasks can be worked on simultaneously. You can have a designer creating your book cover at the same time someone else is formatting your book, all while you’re setting up your account on your chosen self-publishing platform, researching marketing ideas, purchasing your ISBN—or any of the many other tasks that need to be completed.
Keep in mind your personality. Now is the time to make an honest assessment of how you typically work. Are you a perfectionist who will spend hours checking and rechecking your proof (again!) for any possible overlooked mistakes, or will you read through once and approve if everything seems good? Are you going to have multiple back-and-forth revisions with your designer to get the cover exactly how you’ve imagined it, or will you offer a general outline of what you’re looking for and let the experts create their best interpretation? Will you respond promptly to inquiries and deadlines, or are you easily distracted? Knowing how you will handle these phases of the self-publishing process will help you create a more accurate timeline.
Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. One of the benefits of self-publishing is that you get to decide how quickly or slowly to take each step! But having a realistic view will help you plan your schedule accordingly.
A good rule of thumb is to start with an estimate of about three months to complete your self-publishing journey. At Self-Publishing Relief, we have years of experience self-publishing books and assign a team of experts to work with each client—so we know what to expect and how to move efficiently through each step of the process. If you’ll be managing the entire project on your own, it may take you longer than three months.
If you’re aiming for a specific publication date, consider adding an additional month to your schedule. Unexpected delays almost always come up, so adding some wiggle room to your schedule will make it easier to complete your project on time and meet your target date.
You don’t have to go it alone! If you find you’re overwhelmed trying to manage the process by yourself, or if you’d prefer to hand over the reins to a team of self-publishing experts, schedule a free consultation with Self-Publishing Relief today! We’d be happy to discuss your book with you and determine which self-publishing package best suits your needs—with no hard sell, ever!
Question: How long did you expect the self-publishing process would take?