Over 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!
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.