With traditional publishing, the process of getting your book published can take even longer than the time it takes to write the book! From getting an agent to finding the right publisher to getting through an arduous publishing timeline, it could potentially take years to bring your manuscript to life.

One of the advantages of self-publishing is that it allows you to bypass many of these obstacles and accelerate the entire process.

How Long Does It Take to Self-Publish a Book?

If you have asked yourself how long does it take to self-publish a book, there isn’t a straightforward answer to that question.

It is much faster than going through a regular publisher, but the publishing timeline can vary based on factors such as whether or not. For example, your manuscript is already in perfect shape or needs proofreading and editing services.

Whether it’s an eBook, you are publishing, or a physical book will also make a significant difference in timing.

An Example Publishing Timeline

To give you a sense of what your self-publishing timeline might look like, let’s break down the elements and how long each of them typically might take.

1. Copyediting

This editing process, in which a copyeditor searches for spelling & grammatical errors and typos, can take about 3 weeks for manuscripts of 25,000 words or less, or more like 4 weeks for 100,000+ words.

2. Developmental editing

This more thorough editing process can take around 2 weeks for an approximately 25,000-word manuscript or 2 months for a 100,000-word manuscript. But obviously, this can vary depending on factors like the quality of the writing, the complexity of the subject, and the exact length.

3. eBook formatting and publishing

If you format your eBook and upload your manuscript to a publishing platform, for example, you might be able to do this in just a week. But if you go with a service like Gatekeeper Press, we will convert your book to multiple digital formats and upload it to various retailers. This makes your eBook available to a much broader audience, and will likely take about 4 weeks.

4. Print book formatting and layout

For standard formatting and layout for the interior of a print book, you can expect it to take about 5 weeks. Keep in mind, if there are a large number of editing and/or formatting requests, this timeframe could increase significantly.

5. Post-production proofread

For manuscripts 50,000 words or under, you can estimate it will take 1-2 weeks for a proofreader to do a final proofread of the book.

7. Cover design

For a print book, this can take 4-5 weeks to complete the cover design, depending on the complexity of the cover requests. Illustrated covers can take longer than this to complete, depending on the intricacies of the illustration.

8. Illustrations

This can vary widely depending on how many book illustrations are needed, how detailed, how many versions you go through with the illustrator, etc. If you are in a hurry, you could find an artist online to provide you with a digital design in a couple of days, but do not expect very high-quality or beautiful artwork. Please also keep in mind that you need to know and convey lots of direction to the artist, such as bleeds, margins, orientation, etc. so that the illustration(s) you receive will work in your book and you won’t need edits that may seriously impact your timeline.

If you are unsure of the potential risks, Gatekeeper Press has vast experience with illustrated books. Our illustrators provide the highest-quality illustrations that are ready for publication, and we can work quickly without sacrificing quality.

9. Copyright / LCCN registration

It’s usually 1 to 2 weeks to register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office and generally 1 year to receive the Copyright certificate. LCCN registration from the Library of Congress is a quicker process, with most authors receiving their LCCNs within 2 weeks.

(Bear in mind that it may be possible to pay extra to get some of these services expedited if you want to speed up the process.)

Now subtract any of those elements that don’t fit your publication needs, and you will have a pretty good sense of how long you can expect it will take before your book is published!

What to Do When It’s Time to Self-Publish

Self-publishing offers a great alternative to the time-consuming effort of getting your book to consumers through a traditional publisher. However, you never indeed publish all by yourself. From beta readers to copyeditors to the person who designs your cover, there are generally always other people involved in the process.

You now have some insight into the question of how long does it take to self-publish a book, but if you would like to get a more exact publishing timeline for your book, get a free consultation from Gatekeeper Press. You can find more details about our many publishing services here.