Creating a Realistic Timeline For Your Book

If I plan to write a book, how much time will it take?

That question is one of the most frequent ones submitted on my website. Since new authors have never written a book, it is almost impossible for them to determine a good timeline.

Use these general guidelines to help you get started. Note: I based these suggested timelines on the assumption that you are busy with your family, your business, and having a life. While you can always go faster, most people have limited time available to devote to full time writing.

Planning stage: 30-90 days. Use this time to determine your vision for your book, a marketing plan, and the main points you will cover. The most time you spend planning, the more successful your book will be. Most authors find an outline essential in this phase.

Writing stage: 90-240 days. Many authors can write their book in six months, even with a busy schedule. The key to success: proper planning and a committed writing appointment in your schedule at least 5 days each week.

Editing stage: 30-60 days. After you have finished your manuscript, you will spend time editing it. Then, you will work with a professional editor to further polish and perfect your manuscript. You will go back and forth several times with your editor until you both agree that your manuscript represents you professionally.

Cover design: 30 days. I suggest you do work with your cover designer in the while you are writing. You will finalize the cover during the editing phase.

Production phase: 60-120 days. After editing and cover design, your publisher will complete the legalities, create the internal design, and send your book to the printer. However, if you go with a traditional publisher, the production phase can take up to 24 months. That is why I recommend self-publishing or working with an independent publisher who works under the contemporary publishing model.

Marketing phase: Actually, marketing starts in the planning phase. It continues for 3-5 years after your book is printed. Marketing is fun, sharing your passion and excitement with potential readers.

There you have it. In roughly 9 months, you can write and publish your book. Mentoring and education will help you streamline the process.

Once you have your book, you can use it for the rest of your life, to attract media attention, highlight your expertise, and attract new clients. In fact, you can use your book as the foundation of a very successful business, the ultimate goal of many authors.

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