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How Long Does it Take to Self-Publish Your Book?

Updated: Jun 19

The answer to this question is completely dependent on the author, their schedule, their book goals and many other aspects. But, it's a good idea to put together a rough publishing timeline before you start the process. This way, you will ensure there is enough time to complete each step (to a high standard) before your desired publication date, tie in your launch day with any relevant personal or business milestones you might have, and simply ensure your book does not miss it's go-live date!

AI generated image of a woman creating a timeline
Get Ahead of the Game With a Publishing Timeline

Create a Publishing Timeline

Creating a publishing timeline is especially important when using your book to market your business; you may need to consider business forecasting to make sure you have the right amount of money available at the right time. It’s also important if you have a specific time at which you want to launch your book.

For example, if your book is a mental health self-help guide, you may want to launch your book during National Mental Health Week. This event may be two months away or it may be four months away, so plan your timeline accordingly. Or maybe you want to plan the launch of your book with the promotion of a new service you’re offering so, again, organisation is key.

When thinking about your publishing timeline, you’ll need to take your own personal workload into consideration. So, if you know that, three weeks from now, you are going away for a week-long business event or a holiday and won’t be doing any work on your book during this time, plan around this. The timeframes in this section will be based on self-publishing your book around a part-time/flexible work schedule.

Once you’ve mapped out the publishing process and know when your book launch is going to be, you can then work backwards and slot the key book marketing aspects into your plan. Book marketing ought to fit in around other aspects of book publishing, as marketing is an ongoing task. You may have software you can use to map out your book-publishing timeline; you may want to use trusty Excel; or, you could even stick to good old-fashioned pen and paper and create an aesthetically pleasing graph that you can stick on your office wall.

Aspects of Self-Publishing to Consider

  • Book marketing

  • Cover design

  • Beta-readers

  • Re-read and edits

  • Proofreading

  • Formatting

  • POD (print on demand) platform management

How Long Does it Take to Self-Publish Your Book?

Here are some approximate time frames to bear in mind when planning out your book publishing timeline:

  • Book marketing: Ongoing (ideally start this at least 12 weeks before launch day)

  • Cover design: 1-8 weeks

  • Beta-readers: 2-3 weeks

  • Re-reads and edits: 1-4 weeks

  • Proofreading: 1-2 weeks

  • Formatting: 1-2 weeks

  • POD (print on demand) platform management: 1-4 weeks (including time to check and amend proof copies)

This should give you a good foundation to work from. For a full self-publishing step by step schedule, grab my new book, 'Self-Publish Your Book Like a Pro' now from Amazon for a full breakdown!

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