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  Timeline of a Book As this timeline illustrates, there are many steps — and presumably players — involved in the creation of a professionally published book. A self-publishing (also known as independent) author effectively plays the role of general contractor when it comes to putting their book together, in that they assemble the team that will fulfill all the jobs mentioned on this timeline.

This is not an absolute timeline for every book. Some will involve more steps. Those cutting corners may try to eliminate steps, which we HIGHLY discourage. Again, these are the steps for the creation of a professionally published book. If you want your book to look haphazard and unprofessional, go ahead and start eliminating steps.

In addition, there are little, in-between steps we didn't add to this infographic, like obtaining blurbs for the cover, purchasing an ISBN, and copyrighting your book. A professional book consultant like Write | Market | Design can help you navigate every step of the publishing process.

The duration of the timeline is flexible, according to the needs of the author. Things that can add to the timeframe include research, complicated graphics, getting endorsements from busy people, and submitting your book to reviewers. You've likely seen the super-speedy release of books after a momentous event like 9/11 or a celebrity scandal. Those books virtually always come out of large publishing houses with unlimited staff who can speed the timeline along to completion in a matter of a few weeks, so as to capitalize on the immediacy of the event.

A more realistic timeline for a first-time self-publishing author is 6 to 9 months, depending on your writing speed and the skill and schedules of the professionals you hire to help you create your book. As self-publishing authors are generally footing the bill for producing the book, your own financial situation may also play a role in determining the length of the process.

It's probably never too early to bring your graphic designer into the picture, although he or she won't be able to do much more than the cover design until the manuscript is complete and fully edited. At that point, he or she will design templates for the interior pages of the book. These templates will be handed over to the typesetter who will use them to format the book in a design program like QuarkXPress or InDesign.

Although it's a good idea to put your book through two rounds of proofreading (both after the editor finishes with it and after it's been typeset), the most essential time is after the typesetting. This is your last chance to catch misspellings, errant commas, double spaces, and other goofs that could cause you grief if they show up in print.

The only step on this entire timeline that should be eliminated for a book that will only be published as an eBook is the printing. A professional eBook will undergo all the other steps in this process. Formatting for specific eReaders may also be necessary.

Depending on where/how you choose to do your printing, you may be able to combine your printing and distribution into a single two-part step. If you plan to sell your book on Amazon, you might want to consider their POD (print-on-demand) company, CreateSpace, for your printed books. If distribution into bookstores is still important to you, you might want to print with Lightning Source, as they have a strong relationship with bookstore distributor. A third option is a low-cost printer like Author2Market, which works with the Magento interface to allow you to sell and distribute books straight from your website. Call them BEFORE setting up your account and mention that you were referred by Laura Orsini of Write | Market | Design to receive a discount on your printing services.

Lastly, you will notice that the word MARKETING runs along the whole left side of the timeline. The reason is simple: it's essential that you begin building your platform and marketing your book from the moment you start writing it. The first consideration is knowing WHO will buy your book. The next thing to think about is HOW you will reach those people.

Start early by blogging, employing social media, writing articles, sending out media releases as you bring each professional onto your team. Marketing is a nonstop job that should begin as soon as you know you want to write this book. If the thought is overwhelming, hire a company like Write | Market | Design to help you create a marketing strategy, schedule, and structure.

Yep — there's a lot to writing a book. It can be stressful, harrowing, time consuming, and energy draining. It's also likely going to be one of the most rewarding things you ever do in your life. If you've been thinking about it, there's no time like now to begin. And if the thought of having to do it all on your own feels too overwhelming, that's why we're here! Call us at 602.518.5376 or email us today to schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation. Better yet, fill out our Client Intake Form so we can have a better idea of your book project before we speak. We look forward to working with you.

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