How long does it take to publish a book?

For the past few weeks I’ve been posting things about the publishing industry, things I found interesting. And since the internet is vast (maybe not as vast as the universe) and things tend to be quite hard to find sometimes, I figured I might help another fellow writer by reblogging some of the little treasures I have found.

So a few years back, when I started writing, and decided I didn’t want to write just for myself, I found an infographic called Book’s Life Cycle. I don’t mean how long a book stays a book before it’s turned into pulp, but what are the steps between an idea sparked in our brains and the end result; a published story (traditionally or electronically), comfortably resting in a reader’s hands.

At the time, wet behind the ears as I was, I googled “How to write a book.” After sieving through the hundreds of results there, I found this infographic


You can find the original source from

You see, back then all I knew was that if I wanted to get traditionally published, all I had to do was get an agent, and then voilĂ ! The magic wand would do its magic and I’d have a book on a bookstore’s shelf. Yay me! I draw your attention to where the step with the agent is on that image. That’s right; way up there. Right after the step where the writer actually writes and edits. And where’s publication? Waaaay down, with several other steps in between.

I’m not going to lie to you; there was a moment where I thought to myself, “what have I gotten myself into?!”

So, for all of you new writers like me, take a good look at this image. Don’t ever assume your story is ready, or wonder why your favourite authors takes so long to publish the next book (I can think of at least once I’ve foolishly complained about it. Hint: It’s a he, wears glasses, currently writes Dark Fantasy, allegedly indulged in pizza crawl at least once, and likes to kill almost all his characters… Yeah, him!). Look at all the steps between the writer writing up the book, and it actually hitting the shelves. Granted, for big-shot writers like the one I vaguely outlined, the time the process takes is sped up, BUT the fact remains: LOOK AT ALL THE STEPS!


Dark clouds over heaven?

Reminder: for those of you who missed it last week, there’s a poll I’d really like you to take part. The target group is published authors (self-published, trad-published, and hybrid), so if you have writer friends who wouldn’t mind spending a few minutes answering a couple of questions, please let them know about it.

I was going over some of the results from last week, even though it’s still too early to jump to any conclusions, but the first thing that struck me was the small number of traditionally published authors that answered the poll. Which got me thinking.

I searched a bit online about the reasons why a writer would choose a path outside that of traditional publishing, or if there’s something else wrong with it, particularly if there was anything off-putting outside it being hard to get noticed by publishers and agents. I was looking for something outside what most people have heard about. I thought it would be a wild goose chase. I thought it should be bright sunshine over heaven.

And then I stumbled on this article.

Now, I have no knowledge of the intricacies of contracts in general (let alone publishing contracts), but I’ve been following Susan Spann’s tweets about such things, particularly everything she tweets or writes about rights as often as I can (which admittedly is not as often as I should), and I must say that what this article describes was something I had a hard time accepting. No, not because it was far-fetched or false (apparently, it’s VERY real), but because I honestly (and gullibly, I guess) believed that every traditional publisher would shy away from. At least when it comes to payment. I was under the impression that a publishing contract is more often than not a struggle about who gets what rights, and any problems about payment would stem from that. Perhaps it’s just me and my limited knowledge of the industry. If so, mea culpa.

I don’t know if what Michael Kozlowski describes is a one-of incident or the norm. I have yet to land a contract. You’ll need an agent’s or a publisher’s opinion on that. I really hope it’s the former. I mean, you’d think that with all the pressure Amazon is putting on traditional publishing in general, traditional publishers would be more protective and respectful to their authors. Perhaps what Mr Kozlowski describes only happens to dubious and small houses. If that’s the case, then maybe not all is lost for traditional publishing. But what if it’s the norm? Has any of these publishers considered what would happen to their businesses if all the writers chose not to partner with them?

It’s things like that, that make me want an agent in my corner before I go anywhere near a contract.