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How Long Does It Take To Self-Publish A Book?


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With the rise of Amazon and social media, there are now better and faster publishing timelines to get your message out than going through a standard publishing house. 

This is especially true for people with a message to share and a group they want to share it with. Companies often turn down authors who are just starting. 

Most want you to have an agent, which can take time and money. Publishing companies also need to make money, which is why, for new writers, profits from book sales are usually not worth as much as the money they can make by self-publishing

A Sample Schedule for Publishing

When using the conventional method, publishing your book might take longer than writing it. It may take a long time to publish your novel, between searching for an agency, finding the perfect publisher, and navigating the publishing process.

One of the benefits of self-publishing is that you can skip over many of these problems and speed up the whole process.

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

Although the time to publish is often shorter than with traditional publishers, it still depends on whether revisions are required. For example, your work is already perfect, or it needs to be edited and reviewed.

To give you an idea of how long the process of becoming an author could take, let’s break it down into its parts and how long each tends to take on average.

1. Editing:

Checking for spelling, grammar, and typos by a copyeditor can take up to four weeks for manuscripts with 100,000 words or more. The editing process can take three weeks for manuscripts with 25,000 words or less.

Understand the below-mentioned factors:

  • Content type and level of difficulty. Editing fiction requires more time than editing nonfiction. Editing a biography or how-to book takes less time than editing a nonfiction book with many cross-references, copyrighted information, or advanced/technical content.
  • The necessary degree of editing. Your book may undergo one of three different editing processes, from a basic proofread, progressing through line editing in the middle to intensive developmental editing in the conclusion. Publishing timeline on each task steadily rises.
  • Editors workload. The editing industry is much like any other, and editors have their clientele and interests. They may not be able to start editing your work immediately, or they need to split their time between you and another author. And since editing a book takes so much time and expertise, many editors focus on only one at a time.

2- Revision During Development:

This more in-depth rewriting process can take two weeks for a manuscript with about 25,000 words or two months for a manuscript with 100,000 words. Of course, this can change based on the length, the quality of the writing, and how hard the subject is.

If your book is less than 50,000 words, it should take a reviewer about one to two weeks to finish the job.

3-EBook Formatting and Publication:

Formatting for publishing an eBook requires several steps to ensure a polished and professional final product. It begins with writing or editing your content, ensuring it is free of errors and well-organized. Once the eBook is ready, it can be published on various platforms.

Choosing a service like urban book publishers in New York will probably take about 4 weeks, but this will make your eBook available to more people because of their amazing service.

4- Layout and Design 

It will take about 5 weeks to prepare and lay out the inside of a print book in the usual way. Remember that this time frame could get a lot longer if there are a lot of requests for edits and/or organization.

5- Cover Layout

Depending on how complicated the cover requests are, this can take 4 to 5 weeks to finish for a print book. Covers with illustrations can take longer than this to finish, based on how complicated the drawing is.

6- Illustrations

This can be very different based on how many self-publishing photos you need, how thorough they must be, how many versions you go through with the artist, and so on. If you need a digital design quickly, you might be able to find an artist online who can do it in a couple of days but don’t expect very good or beautiful art.. 

Also, remember that you need to give the artist a lot of information, like cuts, borders, alignment, etc., so that the illustration(s) you get will work in your book, and you won’t have to make changes that could seriously slow down your timeline.


Many first-time writers grossly underestimate the necessary procedures involved in the publication process. Most stages are straightforward and don’t need too much time, but since they must be completed sequentially, they may add up the publishing timeline.  

Here’s a high-level breakdown of what needs to happen:

  • Submitting a Publication Registration One day for imprinting and buying ISBNs
  • Metadata creation for a book: 1–2 days to draft
  • “Ingram Spark and Amazon KDP account setup time – 1 day
  • IngramSpark submission turnaround time is 3 days (including Ingram’s artwork inspection).
  • Author-approved print book to eBook conversion time: 3–5 days.
  • One day for Amazon KDP to print and ship your authorized book.
  • Converting eBook and distributing it via Ingram Spark and Amazon KDP — 1 day
  • Three to fourteen days before general availability (when book listings should appear across all retail channels)

Follow These Self-Publishing Success Tips for Your Book: 

Before you sign up with book publishing services or other service providers, make sure they can fit your wants by telling them about your plan. Here are some self-publishing success tips:

  • If you’re not using a self-publishing service that does everything for you, ensure your plan is organized and agreed upon with all of your providers. Also, let them know right away if there are any delays. 
  • A very short amount of time will make problems more likely and could hurt the quality of your work. Give your marketing team the time they need to do their jobs right if you want to make a great book. 
  • Finding out when you need books and then working backward is often the best way to make a plan for your book. 
  • Plan your publishing timeline. In case of delays (Everyone wants it not to happen, but they all know it does.) It might help to make a plan and then add a couple of weeks on top of that. 

Critical Elements Dissected

Step Description Time Frame
Manuscript Preparation Editing, proofreading, and finalizing manuscript content. 2-4 weeks
Formatting & Design Interior layout, cover design, and ebook formatting. 4-6 weeks
Revision & Development In-depth rewriting and content refinement. 1-2 months
Publication Registration ISBN acquisition, metadata creation, and account setup on platforms like Amazon KDP and IngramSpark. 1 week
Illustrations & Graphics Creating custom illustrations, graphics, and cover art. 3-5 weeks
Printing & Conversion Print book preparation and ebook conversion. 1-2 weeks
Distribution & Availability Publishing on platforms and making the book available across retail channels. 1-3 weeks

Final Verdict:

Self-publishing provides greater independence and risk but also ensures that the author keeps all the money made from book sales.

More steps are involved in traditional printing, but there is little to no financial risk. You split profits with the publisher and let them make the final decisions about the publishing timeline and other factors like the title and cover design. 

Consider which path will work best for you as you turn your idea into a book. 

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