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How Long it Takes to Traditionally Publish a Book

5 Jun

My editing clients often come to me saying they want to find a traditional publisher for their book and hope it will be published within a few months or a year. Buckle up, I tell them. If you want to publish a book quickly, in the vast majority of cases, self publishing is the way to go. (And most people’s self publishing timelines are far too ambitious, too.)

To educate those who have big dreams of getting a book published, here is a rough sketch of just how long it takes to get a traditional publishing deal (if you’re lucky), and then how long it takes for the book to be published after that. Of course, there are exceptions in both directions. Right now with Covid-19, I am hearing of launch dates getting pushed back left and right. Books can also be rushed, which is called “crashing,” if they are extremely timely (but this would likely not involve a first-time/not-famous author).