(publishing) timeline

my attempt to pinpoint when stuff will happen in your publication process

Is this timeline bound to vary widely?

Why yes, yes it is. But here’s my best shot:


Month 0: You accept a deal to publish your debut novel. Much celebrating.

Month 2-3: You sign your contract. Your first installment of your advance is on the way.

Month 6: You receive your edit letter.

12 months before publication: You see your cover art. Book goes up on Amazon for pre-order.

6-9 months before publication: ARCs go out. Cover art might start to appear online.

6 months before publication: You book a venue for your book’s launch party. You sign up for blog tours if your publisher isn’t arranging that.

0-3 months before publication: Trade reviews of your book start to go up online.

1 month before publication: The brunt of your book’s promo begins. You send out postcards, if you want to.

0-3 months after publication: More promo. You might do some bookstore/library/school visits.

3 months+ after publication: The spotlight shifts to the next season of novels. You are are too busy writing your next book to care.

6-9 months after publication: You receive your first royalty statement.



(book) tour

when you travel to make appearances to promote your book

What does a book tour entail?

Some publishers send authors on pre-publication tours to talk up their book with librarians and/or booksellers. Some publishers send authors on post-pub tours to appear at bookstores, libraries, and/or schools in order to promote their books directly to readers. Publishers often send authors in groups so that they can cross-promote; in this case, most of your appearances will be on a panel, where all of the authors will discuss their books together. Publishers can also send authors to book festivals, conferences, and conventions.

Will my publisher send me on a tour?

Probably not, unless you’re a lead title, and sometimes not even then. In the case of debut novels, publishers usually reserve their money for setting up tours for those debut books that are getting a lot of buzz, either because they’ve already put a lot of money into promoting the book, because readers are responding well to the book, or because the book has been chosen for a list like Indies Introduce.

Can I arrange my own tour?

Sure, but you will have to pay all of your own expenses. You can try to reach out to schools or libraries and ask them to pay your travel expenses so that you can visit their location to make an appearance. You can also join with other authors to share expenses and cross promote. If you share your tour ideas with your editor, you might be able to get your publisher to either help schedule visits/appearances or even (if you’re really lucky) cover some of your expenses. As an alternative, you might try booking visits in your own area or in areas where you can stay with friends/family in order to cut down on expenses.

See also: Visits.