The Traditional Publishing Process: Conclusion and Overview

typewriterOver the past several months, I’ve described various steps in the traditional publishing process. Now that the series has concluded, I’d like to compile an overview of these steps, in order, along with estimated* timelines for each. I hope this will serve as a useful conclusion/overview of this series and also prove to be a helpful resource in the future. To those of you pursuing traditional publishing, I’d suggest bookmarking this page and returning to it as you progress through the steps in the process, so you can refer back to all of these steps in one post.

*Note that when I say timelines are estimated, I mean very, very estimated. This is based solely on my own experiences in publishing, and no two authors will have the same experience. Don’t worry if your own publishing process doesn’t follow what I’ve outlined here. This is intended merely as a starting point for those who are completely unfamiliar with the process, and these estimations should be considered educated guesses at best.

Step One: Writing Your Book

Includes: writing your manuscript, revising, finding critique partners, revising again, revising again, finding beta readers, revising again…

Estimated Time: Impossible to predict; depends on your writing speed!

For more info:

Step Two: Research and Querying

Includes: Researching the industry, researching agents, writing a query letter, and sending query letters

Estimated Time: Anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, depending on how many queries you send and how quickly agents respond

For more info:

Step Three: Working with an Agent

Includes: Revising your manuscript, compiling a submission list, writing a pitch letter

Estimated Time: Depends on how much revision is required and how your agent prefers to work, but most likely a few months to a year

For more info:

Step Four: Submission

Includes: The submission process and potential outcomes, including a letter of interest, R&R, or rejection

Estimated Time: Depends on a hundred different factors, but probably a few months to a year

For more info:

Step Five: Getting an Offer

Includes: Receiving an offer or multiple offers, auctions and pre-empts, negotiation, and contracts

Estimated Time: Depends entirely on the circumstances. Accepting an offer can happen fairly quickly (even within a week or two), but plan for at least a few months of contract negotiations and delays.

For more info:

Step Six: Working with an Editor

Includes: Editorial revision and edit letters, line edits, delivery and acceptance, and more

Estimated Time: 6 months to a year on average

For more info:

Step Seven: Copyedits and Beyond

Includes: Copyedits, cover design, first and second pass pages, ARCs, and more in the production process

Estimated Time: A year to 18 months on average

For more info:


Have any questions? Any advice or insights on the traditional publishing process to share? Let me know in the comments!

Interested in professional editorial services for your manuscript? Check out my Services page for more information about what I offer.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s