Why Publishing Takes So Long

I think we all had that dream at one time: our book is accepted by a major publishing company, it receives amazing artwork, garners top-notch cover quotes, we love our editor, and it hits the NYT bestseller list within weeks of our explosive launch party.

But it’s a DREAM! Not reality.

I’m not going to take time here to go into the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing, but it’s an extensive list on both sides. I just want to focus on one factor: time.

Assuming you get your book in with a major publisher, they have a LOT of books that they’re putting together and that cycle never stops. Once accepted, they’re not likely to start working on your book for months. By the time they have the cover art squared away, the editing, the formatting and the printing, you’re looking at a book release that could take up to a year or more from the book’s acceptance. Considering how many books they put together in a year, that’s pretty amazing. And if you self-publish, you can throw that book out there in a month, right? Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Let me use my recently released book, Noble Ark, as an example.

There are a number of factors that went into my decision to self-publish Noble Ark. Though many professionals told me it met the quality test, they weren’t sure where to place a New Adult, science fiction, romance. So I decided to put it in the readers’ hands and let them decide.

The one thing every publishing company has that a self-publishing author usually doesn’t: funding. Your first novel isn’t something you want to throw up on Kickstarter or Indiegogo in a couple of days. Between making sure I had all of my avenues, potential costs, and necessary awards covered, and putting together a video for the project, I spent a solid month getting everything ready. The Kickstarter ran for another month and received full funding.

Then you hurry up and wait. Wait for the artist, wait for the editor, and do a lot of writing.

When I went through my editor’s advice, making changes, that took another month. And a month later, the artwork was finished. Depending on the kind of art you’d like for your book, that time may vary, but I suggest you make it look professional or you will blend in with most self-publishing authors.

Ready to publish? Nope. Time for cover design, book formatting, and ordering all that awesome merchandise you promised your Kickstarter supporters. If you want cool chapter headings, break graphics, and everything to fit just so, plus have your book available on every platform, then there goes another month.

Then you have to order proof copies of the book, wait for their arrival, proof them, and repeat, until you have a finished product. Finally, you’re sending all the rewards, gathering up your books, and planning the launch party.

Let me say, I’m grateful for all the work I had to do previous to my successful launch. I decided to self-publish in September and had my book release party on May 1st. Having a finished, professional product took time, but it was time worth spending.

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When Colette Black isn't caring for her family, dogs, and a mischievous cat, she spends her time writing. Colette also loves to travel. Born and raised in the United States, she has also lived in the Philippines and Switzerland. Currently, she resides in the far outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona, where she loves the warm weather and the cotton fields.

Her novel, Noble Ark, is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords (use code: WZ89M) and all major retailers.

You can find Colette at:


2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the comment, Michael. I’m sure my timeline doesn’t correspond with everyone else’s, but I’m glad I padded my schedule with “in-case” leeway since I ended up needing every minute of it. Good luck with your writing goals.

  2. Michael says:

    Yeah, a lot of work, but like many other things, ultimately worth it. Congratulations on the achievement, and thanks for a look at the timeline.

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