How Long Does It Take to Produce an Excellent Self-Published Book?


As a professional book doctor, one of the things I find self-publishing authors are most surprised by (besides the necessary investment) is the  timeframe needed to produce a book that rivals a traditional house publication—and what other kind should you want to produce as an author? So here’s the skinny:

As a general guideline, once the manuscript is finished—depending on the level of editing it needs, the complexity of the interior layout, and the time it takes to achieve the right cover design—six months is a realistic time frame for most books.

Seem like a long time?

Let me tell you why it’s not.

If you thought you could slap a book up on Amazon in a week or so, well … you can, if you want to:

    • put a wholly substandard book into the marketplace
    • kill your credibility as an author
    • receive bad reviews on everything from typos to lack of editing, or worse
    • spend money redoing your book the right way, and
    • be stuck with your inferior version forever listed on Amazon for sometimes ridiculous amounts of money

I’ve seen this happen MANY times to uneducated and overeager authors … and I DON’T want it to happen to you!

So why is six months a good time frame for most books?

    • If you haven’t started building your platform yet, those 6 months will be crucial for doing so
    • If you already have a strong platform, you can use the time to your advantage to build buzz
    • You must allot at least 2 months for the required rounds of proofreading
    • You ideally need 2–3 months for the editing process (sometimes less) and more if you’ve written a novel. *Many rewrites are the norm and should not be taken lightly.

The rest of the time will be dedicated to:

    • the perfection of your front cover design and full cover layout
    • your standout interior layout and design
    • setting up your account and title with your publishing company and submitting and reviewing the files
    • writing your sales materials and
    • creating and uploading the ebook version

Which leads us to …

Your Book Doctor Prescription of the Week:

Don’t even consider rushing your book’s production—give it the time and attention it deserves from one or more professionals from cover to cover. I can tell you from experience producing a wide variety of excellent books that you’ll be incredibly happy and proud you did!

Stay tuned for more fun and brief videos like these where I answer all your self-publishing questions! And I’d be most grateful if you’d share this on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media outlets with other writers you think would benefit. Thank you!

Until soon … Write from the heart …



Stacey Aaronson is a Fulfiller of Publishing Dreams who takes self-publishing authors by the hand and transforms their manuscript into the book they’ve dreamed of—from impeccable editing and proofreading to engaging, audience-targeted cover and professional interior design—rivaling or exceeding a traditional house publication.



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