We recently had the pleasure of attending a client's lifestyle/design book launch, where she pulled out all the stops: food, crafts, music – straight out of the book – were all on offer. But, tucked in a corner, another table featuring a timeline of the book was also grabbing a lot of attention. Wow, three years in the making! And yes, a whole lot of work went into the creation of this book.
One of the much-touted benefits of self-publishing is that you can get your book to market quickly. And, it's true. It can take upwards of a year to get an agent or publisher, and if you're lucky enough to accomplish that, it'll take at least another year until the book gets published. If you've written a timely non-fiction book, that kind of timeline can be deadly.
All of that said, it doesn't mean you should use self-publishing as a means to push out your book at breakneck speed. As publishing consultant Jane Friedman says, "the success of most books that are evergreen moneymakers has nothing to do with getting to market quickly.... The faster the production, the more the quality will suffer. And, if the book doesn't suffer in terms of editorial quality, then it may suffer from poor marketing."
The proof is in our client's visual timeline: it can take quite a while from when you first come up with your book idea to the day the files are finally uploaded to the printer (especially if you still have a day job!). But building a strong publishing team, ensuring your editorial, design, and production are top-notch, and taking the time to thoughtfully and intentionally promote your book in advance of its launch, will all pay off in positive reviews and strong sales.
In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert maintains that it's better to have something completed than something immaculate. From a creative standpoint, there's some truth to that. But from a practical one, we like to say: if you're going to do it, take the time to do it right.
P.S. The product of this timeline, and all of this hard work, is Inspire: From the Art Part of My Heart, by Mary Chernoff. Visit Mary's website to learn more about the book.