Self Publishing Timetable

by Jan King on August 5, 2012

Once a manuscript is completed, the self publishing process will take about 2 months until you could have printed copies of the book. There are a number of tasks in the self publishing process that can be handled simultaneously. For instance, the next step after manuscript completion is the editing process. While the editor works on the manuscript, as long as the title is finalized, the cover designer can begin work on the front cover, which is very important for marketing purposes and web site development.

This past week, I introduced Susan to someone I highly recommend as an editor (and ghostwriter), Kim Pearson. Susan and Kim met by phone and discussed the editing process, what Kim will do, how long she will take to do it and what if Susan doesn’t agree with Kim’s suggestions. They will each be blogging about the experience this week.

This is roughly August 1, so given the 2 months it will take the team to bring Susan’s book to life, she can expect to have printed copies by mid-October. We will set a publication date, the “official” date the book will be for sale sometime in late January.

This is for a couple of reasons. First, we would like for her book to carry a 2013 copyright date so it will seem newer longer. Second, it is very important to try to get industry reviews. There are a few leading publications, such as Publisher’s Weekly that is a print magazine, where the literary world goes to see what books to buy for retail stores like bookstores and libraries. If you get a great review it will serve to boost sales for the life of the book. These magazines are news magazines, meaning they don’t want to talk about old books, just books with a publication date that is the current month. So here’s the catch. You need to send your book to these industry reviewers at least 2-3 months prior to the date of publication of the book so they will have time to read it, assign it to a reviewer, have the review written and get it into the magazine for the publication month.

So in Susan’s case, if we have books October 15, we will send them (or send a PDF which is preferred by some) to the reviewers ASAP. If we let them know the publication date is January 28, then they will have enough time to review the book.

The final caveat is that there is a tradeoff for a later publication date: Amazon won’t sell your book until its publication date. But you can sell your book on your site or at events prior to the publication date. So Susan can sell her books whenever they are printed and ready, but Amazon won’t until the January publication date. This is a worthwhile trade-off because the leading industry reviews really do improve sales and are considered very prestigious.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra Novacek September 12, 2012 at 6:19 am

Great subject! Which reviewing publications will review self-published books and with no fee?


jan September 12, 2012 at 7:03 am

Midwest Book Review, Library Journal Book Review, Booklist


Leanne October 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Will publications review books that are published as eBooks only?


Jan King October 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm


Some do, some don’t. The New York Times reviews ebooks and has a list just for books published as ebooks. There are lots of websites that do reviews of ebooks. Jan


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