July 18

How long does it take to create and launch a successful self-published book?

    You’ve got a great idea for a book that you’re passionate about.

    You want to have more creative control and financial rewards, so you decide to self-publish … but how long does it REALLY take to self-publish a high-quality, best-selling book?

    Let’s break it down together.


    Phase 1: Writing

    Let’s be honest, most of us get stuck in this phase, overthinking every sentence and comma. If you’re like me, you have more than a few projects that you haven’t finished.

    While it may seem counterproductive, tracking your writing progress is the best way to continue making progress and, ultimately, finish writing your book. We use this snazzy spreadsheet with our coaching clients to help them write the entire first draft of their book within 4 months / 12 weeks, with 3 check-in calls per month and a 2-week detailed manuscript review after your 12 weeks of writing.

    Worried that you need time for your ideas to simmer?

    Worried that you don’t have enough time for research or writing?

    No matter what your schedule looks like, you CAN get your book written in less than 6 months.


    Phase 2: Editing

    After 4-6 months of writing, diving into the editing phase right away will help you continue to make progress while also getting the manuscript out of your hands.

    Once you’ve written your entire first draft, the sooner you get it out of your hands, the better. Let someone else get their professional eyes on it.

    In one of our previous posts, we talked about the three different editors to hire to whip your manuscript into shape.

    When we work with publishing clients, we use the following timeline for the editing phase:

    • 3 weeks for developmental editing
    • 2 weeks for author revisions
    • 1 week for developmental editor review
    • 3 weeks for copyediting
    • 1 week for author revisions
    • 2 weeks for proofreading
    • 1 weeks for author review and manuscript finalization

    In total, you’ll need at least 13 weeks, or 4 more months to complete all of the editing steps, while also giving yourself time to review all of the editor’s suggestions, changes, and additions to improve your manuscript.

    If you’re hiring editors on your own (versus working with Paper Raven Books), the timeline may take even longer, depending on your various editor’s schedules, vacation time, and overall organization.


    Phase 3: Design + Launch Prep

    After editing – after the book’s content is solidified – it’s time to start designing the cover, formatting the interior manuscript, and preparing to launch the book.

    With our authors, we start this phase during the copyediting part of the previous phase to keep the momentum going.

    There’s a lot more going on during this phase that will force you to switch your focus for the content of the book to HOW to share the book, such as:

    • Finalizing the book title and preparing metadata on what categories to list the book in on Amazon
    • Running the book cover contest and deciding on the final cover
    • Preparing the back-of-the-book description and your author bio
    • Having new author headshot photos taken for the back of the book cover, if necessary
    • Having a professional formatter prepare the print and ebook files for the interior and the cover
    • Drafting and designing a press kit to promote your book to media outlets
    • Drafting and designing templates for images to share on social media, including quotes from the book and any advanced reviews you have
    • Drafting and designing the content for your freebie to include in your ebook to encourage people to signup for your newsletter list, whether they buy your book or not
    • Doing market research on podcasts, blogs, Youtube channels, influencers, and local media that may be interested in featuring you and your book
    • Compiling a “launch team” that’s willing to read your book before launch and prepared to write a review on Amazon during launch week
    • Writing and scheduling emails for your main newsletter list, your launch team, and to automatically deliver your ebook freebie content
    • Uploading your print book files 1 month before launch and reviewing the printed proofs, having your formatter make changes, if needed
    • Uploading your ebook 1 week before launch
    • Setting up any additional paid 3rd party promotional services you want to use, including for downloads, book reviews, social media ads … etc.

    Suddenly the process of actually writing the book seems a lot less stressful than it was!

    At Paper Raven Books, this process begins during copyediting and takes a total of 12 weeks, leading right up to a 5-day launch period, running from Tuesday to Saturday.


    Phase 4: Launching

    It’s finally here – LAUNCH WEEK! For the past 8-12 months, this book has been a massive investment of your time, energy, knowledge, and finances. Now, it’s time to share it with the world so it can help countless people.

    During launch week, we recommend promoting the ebook specifically, offering the book for free on Amazon during the 5-day launch period.

    This will make it easier for your book to gain bestselling status on Amazon, earn more reviews, and cause more people to signup for your email list, thanks to your freebie offering in the front of your ebook.

    During the 5-day launch week, you’ll be on social media often, including doing live videos, to promote the book, show people some behind-the-scenes of all the work you’ve been doing (if you haven’t been doing this already).

    Remember: the ebook is FREE on Amazon during those 5 days, so asking people to download it and review it is a pretty easy thing to ask.

    We support our authors during launch week with check-ins two times a day during all 5 days of the launch week, keeping track of their category rankings on Amazon, as well as how many downloads the ebook gets while it’s free on Amazon. We take screenshots as well, making it easy for you to share how much people are loving the book (which helps others to love it too!)


    Phase 5: Post-Launch

    If you haven’t already celebrated the release of your book, NOW’S THE TIME!

    Putting in the hard work and hiring qualified professional editors, formatters, and designers helped take your book launch from average to incredible … but this is just the beginning.

    With your book released, you have a fantastic promotional tool that is full of your knowledge. Ongoing promotion is vital to make the book truly useful for you and for others.

    That means spending at least 2-3 hours per week, researching marketing opportunities, as well as doing interviews, local book signings, and holding workshops based on the content of your book.


    You’re a published author now, and that’s something worth bragging about.

    From writing to actually launching the book, it can take a solid year of hard work and dedication, but for many, it takes multiple years because they get hung up at any one of the 3 phases before launching.

    Our entire team here at Paper Raven Books is dedicated to bringing your book to life, through one-on-one coaching to write your first draft and taking you through editing, designing, launch prep, and launch promotion with our publishing packages.

    Whether you work with us or with your own team of contractors, having a solid yet realistic timeline to take you from writing to launching will help make your dream of being a publishing author a shining reality before you know it.


    Bio: Victoria Klein is a two-time published author and the VP of Productions for Paper Raven Books. Formerly PRB’s Book Project Manager, Victoria has helped numerous authors through the book publishing process from start to finish. Through her monthly posts, she’ll reveal the biggest concerns and mistakes of self-publishing authors, and how to solve them.


    You may also like

    ‘Tis the Season

    ‘Tis the Season

    Which "Publishing Path" is right for your book?

    There are FOUR different publishing paths for the modern author. Ready to discover which one's right for YOUR book?