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How Long Does It Take To Self Publish A Book?

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  • October 30, 2023
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  • 8 min read


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So, you have poured your heart and soul into crafting your book, and now you are eager to release it to the world. After all, you’ve conquered the challenging task of writing your masterpiece, so there can’t be much more to it, right? 

Well, for first-time authors, the road to publishing may hold a few surprises as the best book publishers in the USA in general aren’t very welcoming. There are a lot of hurdles and struggles due to which many people opt to self-publish a book. However, there’s still a significant amount of work to be done to ensure your book is perfect to be released.

Self-publishing a book is an exciting way to turn that dream into reality. But you might be wondering, “How long does it take to self-publish a book?” Well, don’t worry; it typically takes 3 to 6 months or more, depending on the author’s readiness and the complexity of the project.

How Long Does It Take To Self Publish A Book

Now, once you have your book fully written, then comes the part to think about how to self-publish a book, and here is how long does it take with all process: 

1- Developmental Edit (If Required): 1 to 4 Week

The first step in self-publishing your book is making sure the story is as good as it can be, and this step is called a “developmental edit.

It’s like polishing a rough diamond to make it shine. This editing process can take about two to four weeks for a book that’s around 30,000 to 40,000 words long.

2- First Edit: 1 to 2 Week

After the developmental edit, it’s time for the first edit. This is where grammar and spelling are checked, and any little mistakes are fixed. 

You can expect the first edit to take about three to four weeks for a book of this length.

3- Internal Design and Layout: 3 to 5 Week

Now that your book’s content is in great shape, it’s time to make it look good on the inside. 

This step involves designing the cover, formatting the interior, and choosing fonts and layouts. A well-designed book is more likely to attract readers.

Designing your book can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on your book’s complexity and your book designer’s availability. 

Not rushing, this step is crucial because a polished appearance can make a big difference in how your book is received.

This step is all about the layout and design of the pages, and internal design and layout usually take about two to three weeks.

4- Second Edit (If Required): 1 to 2 Week

Sometimes, after the first edit, there might still be a few things that need fixing. That’s where the second edit comes in. This step takes another look at the book to make sure it’s perfect. For a book of this length, the second edit can take about one to two weeks.

5- Cover Design: 2 Days

While all the inside stuff is happening, it’s time to work on the outside—the cover of your book. This is the first thing people see, so it’s essential to get it right. 

Cover design usually takes about two to four weeks and often happens at the same time as the edit and layout steps.

6- Proofreading: 2 to 4 Week

Once your book is all polished and dressed up, it’s time for one final check, called proofreading. 

This step is like searching for any last crumbs before serving a delicious meal. Proofreading usually takes about one to two weeks.

You can edit your book yourself, but hiring a professional ebook editor is highly recommended. They will help you improve the quality of your writing and catch mistakes you might have missed. 

Depending on the length of your book and the editor’s schedule, this step can take a few weeks to a couple of months.

7- Formatting: 3 to 4 Week

Now, it’s time to prepare your book for digital and print-on-demand versions. This step involves getting your book ready for e-readers and printing individual copies when someone orders them. Formatting usually takes about one to two weeks.

8- Publishing Your Book: 2 to 5 Week

Once your book is formatted, it’s ready to go out into the world. You’ll need to upload it to platforms like Amazon for e-books and print-on-demand services. This step typically takes about one to two weeks at max. You may also hire the best book publishing companies for your publishing needs. The best self-publishing companies offer two primary options for authors; traditional self-publishing and print-on-demand (POD) publishing.

  • Traditional Self-Publishing: 1 to 2 Week

Traditional self-publishing involves a more traditional approach where you print a batch of books upfront and then take on the responsibility of selling and distributing them yourself.

This method can be quite time-consuming, often stretching over several months. The extended timeline arises because you need to undertake several steps. 

These steps include finding a suitable book printer, placing an order for the desired number of copies, and managing the storage and distribution logistics. 

While traditional self-publishing offers more control over the printing process, it requires a substantial upfront investment in terms of both time and money.

  • Print-on-Demand (POD) Publishing: 1 to 3 Week

In contrast, print-on-demand (POD) publishing offers a more streamlined and efficient approach. 

With POD, your book gets printed only when someone places an order for a copy. This innovative printing technology eliminates the need for authors to worry about upfront printing costs or the challenges of storing a large inventory of books. 

Consequently, the time required to publish your book using the POD method is significantly shorter. 

 8- Marketing Your Book: 4 to 6 Week

Congratulations! Your book has made its way onto the shelves, virtual or physical, and it’s now available for eager readers to purchase. However, don’t be mistaken; this isn’t the finish line but rather a starting point for another crucial aspect of your book’s journey—marketing.

Marketing is the powerful engine that drives your book’s visibility and popularity. It’s not enough to have a fantastic book; you need to ensure that people know about it.

Creating a buzz can be achieved through various means, including:

  • Social Media: 1 to 2 Week

Use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with your audience. Share teasers, snippets, and behind-the-scenes insights about your book’s creation. 

  • Online Advertisements: 1 to 2 Week

Consider targeted online ads on platforms like Google Ads, Amazon Ads, or social media advertising. These can help you reach a broader audience and attract potential readers who might not have otherwise discovered your book.

  • Book Reviews: 1 to 2 Week

 Send copies of your book to reputable book reviewers and bloggers in your genre. Positive reviews can significantly boost your book’s credibility and attract more readers.

  • Author Website: 1 to 2 Week

A professional author website serves as a central hub for your work. It provides information about your books, your biography, and a blog where you can share your thoughts, book-related news, and more.

  • Audio Books: 1 Week

Another great way of attracting more people to your book who cannot afford copies of it is to offer an audio version of your book. For that, you would first need to submit your book to convert it into an audiobook and then wait for audiobook publishers to accept submissions. Once that is done, you would need to create an amazing audiobook and release it for your audience.

Copyright and LCCN Registration: Timelines for Authors

Registering your copyright and obtaining an LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) are crucial steps in the book publishing process. These steps help protect your work and ensure it’s accessible to libraries and readers. Let’s explore the timelines for these registrations and how they impact your book publishing journey.

Copyright Registration

When it comes to copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office, the process typically takes around 1 to 2 weeks. However, receiving the official copyright certificate can take much longer, usually about 1 year. It’s important to note that these timeframes can vary, and they depend on various factors.

LCCN Registration

In contrast, obtaining an LCCN from the Library of Congress is generally a quicker process. Most authors receive their LCCNs within just 2 weeks. This number may be shorter compared to the copyright registration timeline, making it a more efficient step in your publishing journey.

Expedited Services

Some expedited services are available if you’re in a hurry to get your book published and want to speed up the registration process. These services allow you to pay extra to get your copyright or LCCN registration processed more quickly.


So, how long does it take to self-publish a book? In simple terms, it can take anywhere from several months to a couple of years, depending on various factors. 

The time it takes to self-publish a book can vary depending on the size of your book, the complexity of the editing and design, and where and how it’s printed. So, start writing, and best of luck on your self-publishing journey!

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