We all give in to the temptation of a fast food meal every once in a while. Most of them look tasty, are marketed exactly to trigger our cravings, and they’re quick to get and consume. They’re convenient — but lacking the nutrients we need to be healthy.
Believe it or not, the above description has a few parallels with rapidly produced-to-market books. How many times have you been tempted to buy a seemingly flawless self-help book, only to realize that it lacks something, or that it has plenty of flaws that you didn’t notice before the purchase?
Publishing a book is a process — one that can’t be rushed. While the concept of only needing a weekend or two to put all your expertise in a short nonfiction book may sound tempting, it’s not as simple as that if a quality product is your desired end result. And it should be, if you want a book that reflects positively on you and your business.
Taking It Slow
A 30,000-word nonfiction book may be relatively easy to write in a short amount of time, especially if it focuses on your business and core areas of expertise. However, the work does not end with the writing. While the content is obviously the main ingredient, the publishing recipe includes several other ingredients as well, such as editing and cover design. Some of these book production phases can overlap, of course, so the process is not necessarily linear.
Like a slow cooker meal that becomes more delicious the longer it simmers, the more time you give yourself for the after-writing work, the better the results will be. For example, allow time to assemble your ingredients (production team) and for the learning curve that comes with following a recipe for the first time. You may also need to add a pinch of patience for bumps along the way. And remember to build some breathing room into your publishing schedule, so you can savor the process and adjust as needed, rather than cut corners in a rush to market.
General Book Production Timeline
Unless you’re a skilled graphic designer, cover design, as well as the design of the interior layout, is best left to professionals. Then there is also the editing and formatting of a book. For most of these tasks, authors hire service providers, and it can be a challenge to line them all up. Availability can be an issue, as designers and editors may be booked weeks or months in advance.
In any case, it’s good to keep in mind the general timelines of post-writing book production. Depending on the length of the manuscript, type of editing, and efficiency of communication, editing takes an average of 3 to 6 weeks. Finalizing a cover design can take between 2 and 4 weeks, and the same goes for the interior layout.
If you’re planning to have an ebook version created from the print layout, that adds another 1 to 2 weeks to the process. Then the proofing, ordering, and delivery of print copies can take 2 to 3 weeks.
You can likely rearrange and overlap these tasks to some degree, but be aware that producing a book, even a short one, is likely to take weeks. Keep that in mind when you go looking for professional cover designers, formatters, and editors who know how to follow the recipe for publishing success.