2017-01-22

How Long Does it Take to Publish a Book?

Update
Lee Dilkie (my content editor) has finished reading Peacekeeper Pathogen (AKA PK3) and has provided a plethora of useful feedback. Now that I've been away from the novel for several weeks, I can begin editing with a fresh mind. I started that process yesterday and have gotten up to chapter 5. If all goes well, I hope to have the book edited and ready for proofing in a couple of months. My wife does the proofing and she usually takes a couple months to work her way through the book. She is not a fan of science fiction. She also doesn't really "read" the story. She looks more at the sentence level looking for grammatical errors and sentence structure. I have a content editor precisely because my wife is not a fan of science fiction and because she is so focused on the structure of the individual sentences. After I input all of her changes, I send the manuscript off to Germany (email delivery time of about 17.9 milliseconds) and let Ekkehard Flessa (a German engineer) have a look at it for additional proofing suggestions.

If the timetable works out as predicted, I should have a new book up on Amazon in about 5 months. FIVE MONTHS!???? Let's talk about this time-frame for just a moment because it's important.

Timing
Five months is actually quite aggressive. Years ago, back when I didn't know all that much about publishing, I wondered why it took a year or more for a major publishing house to get a book published. Now that I have a small team to help me in my own publishing process, I understand why. If you're an author, you will want your book to be in the best shape possible when it is released to the world. It should have a good cover because a book is still sold by its cover to anyone who is not searching for your book by name. The manuscript should not have any grammatical mistakes (okay, a couple are fine because even major publishing houses miss a few). The sentences should flow and sound natural and entertaining. The interior of a printed book should be properly formatted following industry standards. If your book is an ebook, the interior should follow the standards set forth by the distributor.

All of this takes time. None of it will matter though if your story is not one that people will want to read. Put it all together and you have a book that will bring you an income for many years. If you try to rush any part of this, you will end up with a product that does not sell and all your effort will have been wasted.

I am exceptionally lucky to have the team I have. Lee Dilkie and Ekkehard Flessa are people who've read my books and were vocal in pointing out flaws in the content as well as the grammar. As a self-published author, I believe it is my duty to listen to what my readers are saying and I read every review. If someone emails me direct, I will reply. Lee's and Ekkehard's comments were always right on the mark so I asked if they would like to become beta readers. I am very grateful they've accepted and my books are better because of their feedback.

Another member of the team is Heather Zak. She is the wife of my best friend from high school and is my preferred cover artist. She reads the first draft of the manuscript and starts working on a cover early in the process. Her covers reflect what happens in the story and are beautiful works of art.

Publishing a book is a team effort. If you are looking to self-publish, look around at the people you know and assess their talents. If you can find a cover artist, content editor, and at least one proofing editor, then you have your team. If not, you might want to look into having your book looked at by a reputable editor. It will not be cheap and you must do your research before signing an agreement, but you will not regret doing so. If you think you can do this all on your own, you're wrong. Even editors use other editors to check their own work.

You spent months or perhaps years working on your book. Now that it's finished, take the time to put the polish on it. If you don't, if you try to rush to the finish line and get your work published, the only thing the world will see is a book full of errors, bad sentences, and poor design. How do you want the world to see you? As a professional author who's written a wonderful story that's a pleasure to read or as someone who slapped a story together and blasted it out to the public without any thought as to what it looks like?

Finally, readers of this blog should know that I'm a huge supporter of Launch Pad. I've started a GoFundMe campaign to help support this year's workshop. Please consider donating. Even a small amount helps. I would also like to ask if you would take a moment to help promote this workshop by putting out a shout for the GoFundMe campaign on your own social media accounts. The link is:

https://www.gofundme.com/launch-pad-workshop

Thank you!