Publishing a book is a process that requires careful planning and execution, so whether you’re a planner or a pantser, having a solid publishing schedule is a must. From writing to editing, designing, and marketing, there are numerous steps involved in bringing a book to the market. One of the most critical aspects of the publishing process is timing. Here, we will discuss publishing timelines, including sections on understanding publishing seasons, potentially running a Kickstarter for your book, how much time to give an editor to work on your book, and ultimately how to build the best publishing schedule you can.
Understanding Publishing Seasons
Publishing seasons refer to the periods in which publishers release books. There isn’t really any rhyme or reason why certain books have historically been released during specific periods of time, but readers and buyers have become used to the seasons that have been established. As a new writer, it’s best to follow the trends that are set by major publishing companies so you can better reach your audience. The publishing industry operates on a seasonal cycle, with the majority of books released during specific times of the year. The two primary publishing seasons are spring/summer and fall/winter.
Spring/Summer Season: The spring/summer season runs from April to September. During this time, publishers release the majority of their fiction books, as well as some non-fiction titles. This is because people tend to have more free time to read during the summer months, so if you write YA, Children’s Fiction, or any kind of Literary Fiction, now is a great time to release your book.
Fall/Winter Season: The fall/winter season runs from October to March. During this time, publishers release most of their non-fiction titles, as well as some fiction books. This is because people tend to read more serious and educational books during the colder months. I personally would not recommend releasing any books after October, as people are looking to buy holiday gifts in November and December, and you don’t want to publish your title too late. Early in the year is also a bad time unless you’re publishing self-help books, and those are the only types of titles I would recommend releasing in January through March.
Running a Kickstarter for Your Book
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that allows creators to raise funds for their projects. Kickstarter campaigns can be an excellent way to raise money to self-publish your book. However, running a Kickstarter campaign takes time and effort, and it is not a guaranteed success. Before launching a Kickstarter campaign, there are several factors to consider:
- Goal Setting: You will need to set a realistic funding goal for your campaign. I typically include costs of book tours, ads and other marketing costs, and reviews. I do not cover the cost of editing in my Kickstarters, but every author runs Kickstarters differently. Some authors just use Kickstarter as a preorder platform for their titles.
- Rewards: You will need to create compelling rewards for your backers. These can include signed copies of your book, early access to your manuscript, or exclusive merchandise related to your book.
- Campaign Length: You will need to determine the length of your campaign. Kickstarter campaigns can run from 30 to 60 days. It is recommended that you aim for a 30-day campaign, as shorter campaigns tend to have a higher success rate.
- Promotion: You will need to promote your campaign to your network and beyond. This can include social media posts, email newsletters, and reaching out to influencers in your niche. Give yourself plenty of time to plan for this!
How Much Time to Give an Editor to Work on Your Book
Editing is a critical part of the publishing process. It is essential to give your editor enough time to work on your manuscript thoroughly, and you may need several types of editors. The amount of time you should give your editor depends on the length of your manuscript:
- 50,000 words or less: If your manuscript is 50,000 words or less, you should give your editor at least one month to work on it. This will give them enough time to read through your manuscript, provide feedback, and make any necessary edits.
- More than 50,000 words: If your manuscript is more than 50,000 words, you should give your editor at least three months to work on it. Longer manuscripts require more time to edit.
When in doubt, give your editors as much time as you possibly can. They, too, are human, and if you can stress them out as little as possible, your work is ultimately going to look as best as it possibly can in the end.
So now what?
Now that you’ve taken all of this into account, you’ll need to come up with your marketing schedule. To do this, I start with my desired publishing date and then work backward. I like to give myself lots of breathing room. Remember, people are human and anything can happen. Be prepared for delays, hiccups, and the universe’s wrath. I know you’re excited to release your book to the world, but trust me – you’re going to want to make sure you have a solid flight plan before you take off.
So how do I go about publishing one or two books a year? Because I typically write fiction, my target publishing months are May, June, and July. This is especially important because Kickstarters do best in the month of May and June. I want to have enough time between my Kickstarter and the launch of my book, so I plan accordingly. Some things I include in my publishing schedule are:
- Beginning and ending the writing process for my manuscript
- Author Headshot
- Any necessary editing
- Cover design
- Book interior design
- Book trailers, sales pages, press releases, and other marketing strategies
- The Kickstarter
- Book tours
- Launch day
There are many, many more possible things to include on this schedule, and it’s really up to you and what you choose to handle on your own. I’m a crazy person and I do everything myself from start to finish, all except the editing, but many authors outsource the illustrations, book design, and marketing of the book. Knowing where you’re going to put your energy and when you need things to be in your inbox can really save you a lot of headaches. Once you’ve created your default publishing schedule and tested it a few times, you can copy and paste this schedule for every title you plan on publishing in the future.
Give yourself plenty of time! Some authors can write a book in a year. Some authors have this process perfected to the point where they can write three books a year. Some authors don’t write a book even every other year. Do what works best for you. Most importantly, keep your chin up! You’ve done all the work of writing a killer story, so as soon as you can get into the groove of mastering these types of schedules, you’re going to be unstoppable.
Need help and aren’t sure where to start? I can help with that! I offer consultation resources, which you can find on my website. Send me an email, and I can get you started on your self-publishing journey.