Friday, October 23, 2009

Book publication timeline

Here’s a real-life timeline for a mainstream, agented book (thanks to @KOKEdit by way of @krishvenkatesh for the link).

In my experience, self-publishing is a more compressed process. It typically takes about six months from the time I receive a draft manuscript from an author until ARCs are printed (if the marketing plan for the book includes ARCs) or until finished books are printed. Some books go faster than that. Some go slower. The variable is usually the author’s turnaround time on revisions. The reason I can turn out a book faster than the traditional trade publishing industry is that I can focus on just a few projects at a time rather than having to fill a pipeline with dozens or hundreds of titles. Their process takes as long as it takes. For particularly time-critical books (occasioned by the death of a celebrity, for example), a large publisher can put a team together and knock out a book in three days. That’s not a process I can compete with.

Many first-time authors have unrealistic expectations about how long it takes to publish a book. Go ahead and click the link.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

And it takes a lot longer than most think!

JFBookman said...

Fascinating to have it laid out so succinctly. Two and a half years? I don't think I'm that patient!

Bob Spear said...

I chuckled as I read this post. The most common question I get asked is how fast can I turn around an edit or a design job. As I provide an answer, I know that it will almost take longer because the authors weren't truly ready. They don't have an ISBN yet. They want to make multiple changes once the book is in the design process. They can't decide which way they want to go on the design elements. And so on. The worst enemy to the book production process is the author himself.