Book Writing Timeline

When my advanced students asked me for a timeline for writing a book, I gave it a lot of thought. Naturally, when it comes to writing, each author writes at their own pace. However, like I said...I gave it a lot of thought. There is pretty much a range of time for each of the processes that your go through to write, edit, format, publish, and market your book.

Because each book that you write is your pride and joy, much like giving birth, you want it to be "perfect." Well, "perfect" needs to turn to "good enough" at some point. Otherwise you will never finish the book. There is probably not a published book that is "perfect." Errors sneak in no matter how much time you spend on getting it "perfect!" That said, let me tell you about the timeline, which is more like a series of timelines.


The writing process can take anywhere between a month to 36 months! There are people who can write a book in a day or a weekend, but they may not be writing the same sort of book, so don't let that intimidate you. Writing a book using blogs that you've already written or other material that you've previously written can definitely shorten the time frame. If you take longer, that too, is not the end of the world. Everyone works at different paces. However, if you are taking a lot of time over the 36 month time frame, you might want to look at what  your obstacles are. If they are legitimate reasons and you are okay with it, then keep on plugging away! If there are obstacles, see how you can get around these obstacles.


The editing process can be an obstacle, because some people get into the editing mode and start rewriting. The content editing where you reorganize your book is often necessary, but sometimes writers just get caught in the "it's got to be perfect" syndrome. The editing process is two fold. The first round needs to be you re-reading and editing your manuscript. You get it into the best shape that you can. The next round is when you send it to a professional editor, who will "line" edit or "copy-edit" your manuscript. No matter how good you can pay attention to details, it's a fact that most writers miss glaring mistakes, because they see it as the way they intended not as it actually is.

The process by the Professional Editor may feel out of your hands, but believe me when I tell you...this is the best investment you can make for your book. Saying that, you need to have done your job well in order to keep the cost down. If price is not an issue, then let your editor do whatever you want them to do. When hiring an editor, make sure you have a discussion about what you are eecting them to do. Editors usually charge about $55 per hour. This process normally takes anywhere between a day and a month. Because it takes awhile, does not mean that you won't be able to pay your editor. Most of the time, editors have numerous projects they are editing.

Your editor may ask for the first 10 pages. They will edit those pages and give you an estimate based on the time it took them to edit your first 10 pages.


These are two different processes that go together. Before you can publish your book as an Independently or Indie published book, you'll need to format the manuscript. When I begin a book project, I usually decide at that point what "trim" size (the finished size of your book) and the main body text font, as well as the first three levels of headings. If you don't choose it to begin with, you simple go back through and apply the formatting.

Choosing the "trim size" is one of the bigger choices. This majorly affects things like picture placement and page breaks. To set the page size in your word processing software, go to layout design and choose page settings. You will most likely have to choose more choices on the menu twice (you do in Word)  to choose a custom size.  The page you want will show the number value of the page size you have selected now, which is the default of 8 1/2 inches wide and 11 inches long. This makes formatting for the correct "trim" size easy. Simply use the arrow box to alter the size or highlight and replace the value.

Now that we've discussed the choices, let's look at the timeline. This is one of the shortest timelines. Although you will have to go through your manuscript to make sure all the heads level 1-3 have been applied appropriately and that you body text is the same throughout your manuscript, this usually doesn't take that long. Of course, the longer the manuscript, the longer your time will be for this process.

The  Timeline for Formatting and Publishing is one hour to four weeks. If you've started the formatting process when you began writing, then you might be able to check the formatting in an hour or up to a day, depending on how long your manuscript and if you run into any formatting issues that cause you difficulty. Sometimes a chunk of text just won't change to the correct format. When this happens, it is usually because there is a wrong tag associated with it. You can delete the formatting and choose new formatting in some word processors. That usually fixes the problem. However, there are times that the easiest choice is to manually select the right font and font size.

Other placement issues can show up, as well. These are again due to the wrong tag being attached to the text. This is usually easily fixed by changing the tag associated with the text. However, if all else fails, override the tag formatting and fix the formatting manually.

The Publishing Process is mostly following the menu on your on-demand printer/publisher.. You will need an ISBN number, which is available through most of the on-demand publisher/printers. If you choose to get your own, places such as CreateSpace,com (cost is only $10), will allow you to get it through them at a reduced price. If you need to buy one, then you can go to The cost currently is  $125 for one or you can get a blocknth of 10 for $250.


The marketing process can be huge both in time and money. So it is good to begin a dialog about it early on. You need to know who your audience is and how to reach them. These will be your fans!

This process will take between one month to 36 months or even longer. The marketing process is too detailed for this article. There are many ways to market include a "Virtual Blog Tour" or "Virtual Book Tour." These are the same, just two names for the same thing. For more information, read other marketing articles, such as How to Market a Book.


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