I wanted to help plan my wedding. OK, not the flowers or colors. I didn’t pick the bridesmaid dresses. With some things, I asked “how much?” and passed off to my future bride. But I had a hand in the important things.
Planning your book release is a similar process. Start with choosing a relevant date. For example, I donate a portion of the proceeds from my first book to Relay for Life, which occurs in April. That enables me to push it in September (Prostate Awareness month — which is when I released it), October (Breast Cancer Awareness month), and April.
If your novel is a beach read or page-turning romance, release it prior to summer. Coffee table book? How about the holiday season? Coffee table books fit in stockings and taste better than fruitcake.
Next, have a launch party coincide with your release. You can do something as small as an intimate gathering at a library with small refreshments, or rent out a facility and cater it. Invite the media, book club members, and those who will support you.
With those in place, plan your deadlines backwards. According to Michelle Johnson at Lightning Source (the printing company for indies like me and about 30 POD publishing companies), books take up to six weeks to trickle down through online distribution channels (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.) Give yourself an extra week, just in case.
You will need a proof (an example of what your book will look like when it’s finished) to examine for errors. This is like the final fitting of a wedding dress — something you don’t want to skip. Take a week for this, which gives you time to receive it in the mail, read it, and correct errors, if necessary.
Unless you design book covers for yourself, lead times for cover design are a month, adding four weeks to your timeline. You can do this simultaneously with your editing, which takes a month as well. Interior design takes two weeks; when it’s finished, the spine of your cover will have to be adjusted.
Interior design (2 weeks) + editing and book cover design (4 weeks) + proofing (1 week) + distribution (7 weeks) = 14 weeks total. If you have a finished manuscript in hand that you intend to self-publish or indie publish, you’re looking at April.
Maybe you’re like a relative of mine who does not want to wait 14 weeks to get married (he’s wedding a woman, not a paperback). A shorter timeline means he will have to pay out the nose to do things quickly. You have the same options; most vendors and some self-publishing companies offer expedited services, but they’ll cost you.
Hope this helps!
Brian Thompson’s passion is motivating and encouraging others to write and to pursue Do-It-Yourself publishing. He is also author of acclaimed Christian fiction thrillers The Lost Testament, and The Revelation Gate. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site.