How Long Does It Take To Self Publish A Book

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Blog Image: How Long Does it Take to Self Publish a Book

Without my fabulous behind-the-scenes team, I doubt my books would get published at all. When it comes to self-publishing, there are a few factors that can speed up or slow down your path to authoring brilliance.


In this blog, I want to cover the following:

  • How long it takes to self-publish a book
  • Steps in self-publishing two different types of book, including their word-count
  • My self-publishing essential fabulous behind-the-scenes team.


On my journey to being creative, and owning my creativity, I've learned that there are some skillsets that are worth saving and investing in, and I wanted to highlight two remarkable women who have been right alongside for both of my books, Linda Diggle of Book Boffin and Kelsey Garlick of Kelsey Edits.


This is not to downplay the importance of friends and family in the process, but when it gets to the cheese and wine of it all, a team makes all the difference.


So, how long does it take to self-publish a book?


That really depends on the type and quality of work you are wanting to put out into the world, how much time you can commit to writing or speaking your story out, and the investment you are prepared to make in either educating yourself on the different steps in self-publishing or hiring a superstar team who bring their A-game.


What are the steps in self-publishing a book?

At the time of writing this, I have one unpublished children's book, a published memoir and a personal development book that is currently being type-set.

The writing of a children's book (say a picture book) for me, can be completed in an afternoon. The layout, illustration, formatting etc, for me, can not. Illustrators are expensive, I value the creative process, and I can not draw to save myself, so therefore, that style of book for me, is still unpublished.


I would also love to write fiction at some point, most likely under a delicious pen name and let my creativity run completely wild (with plot and character development of, course) so for now, I will focus on what I currently know - memoir and personal development.


How long did it take me to self-publish a memoir?

In the first book, a memoir, which came in at just under 80,000 words, I went through the more traditional process which looks like this:

  • find book expert Linda & connect
  • ruminate on book idea for two years
  • find an editor
  • write the manuscript
  • put it forward for structural editing*
  • receive feedback
  • digest feedback (this was a long process for a first-time writer)
  • lick ego wounds, build resilience and write the second draft
  • the second round of structural editing*
  • implement feedback
  • submit for copy edit*
  • submit for proofread*
  • typeset*
  • book blurb*
  • author bio
  • cover design*
  • Keyword Optimisation on Amazon*
  • upload to platforms*
  • book launch
  • book pr and promotion
  • Author website
  • book related offers
  • seek out reviews

*all asterisked parts I handed off.


There's a fair few steps to self-publish your book!


Be Realistic With your Life and Time Commitments To Self-Publish


I gave myself permission to write a crappy first draft, and it was pretty terrible.

This first draft took me about three months, and I write best in the mornings.


I tend to hit creative fatigue around lunchtime, and often, will get a second wind in the evening. I can type relatively fast (around 750 words in 10 minutes), however, my thinking speed slows me down, so a more realistic output would be around 1500 - 2000 words per day.


For the first book, I was a single mother running a business, so be realistic with the time you can allocate to writing your first draft, and be consistent in sitting down or using opportunities to write.


I would write in cafe's whilst my daughter was at ballet college, I would hot spot and write while my son was at soccer practice from the back of my car, and when I had deadlines, I would write at the kitchen bench and my beautiful kids would organise Uber Eats to help out.


Once you have your first draft, be emotionally prepared for feedback


Taking on feedback builds your character and resilience. It is important to remember that an Editor's role is not to poo-poo your story or your author's voice but to polish your creativity to a high standard.


This involves looking at the structural elements of the book, and you will need to book your editor in.


If you are a first-time author, feedback can be hard. It does not mean you are a terrible writer and have wasted your time, and you have no creative pizazz, so once the feedback settles, pick up that manuscript and give her the makeover she deserves with a second draft.


From start to freshly produced copy in my hands, this took around 18 months. The longest part of this was me getting over myself and basically rewriting the entire book.


I would encourage you to book any editorial or publishing support well in advance and work backwards from your launch date.


These skills are a time for money trade, and the fabulous people book out fast.


How Long Did It Take Me To Self-Publish My Personal Development Book?


The process for this book was very different.


I hired Kelsey and we entered into book coaching. The book went on preorder due to my TEDx talk, and then we worked backwards with a six-month window.


Our timelines were tight, so the process looked like this:

  • Book planning (chapter outlines/title/premise) - 4 weeks
  • Writing and editing of drafts - 6 weeks to produce just over 50,000 words
  • Copyediting - 4 weeks
  • Everything from Proof to Paperback on Pre-Order - 4 Weeks
  • Pre-Order to Live - 6 weeks
  • Cover design happened in the background.


I actually like writing at this level of intensity, and would plan to do this again; I would however make adjustments to the launch team element (which I am looking at now) when it comes to PR and also the back-end offers in the business.


My self-publishing essential fabulous behind-the-scenes team.


If you do want to hire experts and enjoy the time it takes you to self-publish, then I would highly recommend you start here, in particular, if you are writing personal development or memoir.


Linda Diggle, of Book Boffin is an absolute star of a human being. Her role is as a publishing consultant, and she basically removes elements of self-publishing that I consider stressful, and that are so far from my skill set, it would be silly for me to entertain doing it.


If you feel you need her on your self-publishing journey, tell her Belle sent you.


Linda project manages everything once the manuscript is done to when the manuscript goes live.


This includes cover design, typesetting, proofreading, organising print proofs, and uploading to distribution platforms.



Kelsey, of Kelsey Edits, is the Editor who keeps me in check, and I hope we work on many more book projects together. She asks me to "Bellify things" which is code for "use my writing voice", she book coaches, structural edits and copy edits.


Basically, she loves the detail, the grammar, and all the intricacies, and I have no doubt has read this blog and seen many grammatical errors 😉.


Both these women are absolute stars, and I would encourage you to reach out, especially if writing a book is on the list of your personal goals.


I'll be back to reveal the results of the book launch.


You're invited to drop any questions or comments below & stay connected on my email list.


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