Blogger: Rachel Kent
I received an email from a potential client asking me if I would have an answer for him about representation soon so that he could be sure to get his book traditionally published in six months. He felt that was plenty of time for an agent to shop the project and for it to go through the publishing steps. This kind of question isn’t uncommon, so I would like to take today to give you an idea of the publishing timeline after you find an agent. Remember, these time-frames are all estimates. Every book project is different.
Revamping the proposal with your agent for submission to editors: 1-4 months (This can take much longer! We have had some projects take 2 years to get ready to shop.)
Agent pitching and selling the project: 2 months- 2 years (sometimes longer and there’s no guarantee of a sale)
Contract negotiation: 2 weeks-4 months
If the publishing house sends out the contract to the agent right away, the process can move quickly, but contracts departments can experience a pile-up and agents can, too. And sometimes certain negotiations take longer and require many emails and phone calls between the agent and contracts administrator.
The contract negotiation can overlap with other steps. You can be working on your final draft during the time the contract is negotiated.
Final book is due: 0 to 18 months after contract
Editorial revision letter back to author: Approximately 2 months after book is turned in.
Revisions done by author and sent back to publishing house: 7-30 days from the time the revision letter is received.
Galleys to author: 4-6 months after revisions
Galley corrections back to publisher: 7-14 days after receipt of galleys.
Book goes to the printer: 1-14 days after galleys are finalized.
Book ships to stores: 1 to 2 months after it is sent to printer.
Book officially releases: 1 to 2 weeks after stores receive the product.
Time that is likely to pass from receiving a publishing contract until your book is published: Between 9 months and 2 years. Books can be produced faster than that, but that is considered a rushed project. And I’ve seen contracts for books that won’t be published for more than two years.
The traditional publishing world moves slowly. It’s one of the first lessons I had to learn when I started working at Books & Such as an intern. I was shocked when I learned how long it takes for a book to come out after the contract.
When did you first learn how slowly the publishing world can move?
How has patience paid off for you in your publishing journey?