Friday, February 20, 2009

Info for writers & publishers:
How long does it take?

These numbers are based on my personal experience, in late 2008 and early 2009. Your mileage may vary.

Time to write a book: a week to a lifetime

Time to design a cover: a few hours to a few weeks

Time to copy-edit: a few days

Time for major editing: a few weeks

Time for Lightning Source to process your files and ship out a proof: four business days

Time to receive a proof from Lightning Source: one business day

Time for Lightning Source to ship a case of 20 books: two days

Time for Lightning Source to ship one book: two days

Time for a book to be listed on after a proof is approved: one or two days

Time for a book to be received after ordering on (with no special shipping, and book is in stock): two or three business days.

Time to be listed on Barnes & and other online booksellers' websites after a proof is approved: two to five days

Time for a book to change from being drop-shipped by Lightning Source to being stocked by Amazon: a few days to a few weeks, or maybe forever

Time for a book to be discounted by Amazon: a few weeks to a few months, or maybe forever

Time until you get your first money from Lightning Source: I'm not sure yet, but I think it's three months. Then you get money monthly, if your book sells.

Time for a book to be noticed by Google: one day

Time for a popular blog (like this one) to be noticed by Google: one hour

Time for press releases distributed by PR Newswire or PR Web to start appearing on other websites: a few minutes

Time for Google to notice your news on those websites: a few minutes to a few days


  1. Thanks very much for the timelines. This info is not available anywhere else and will be very helpful. I didn't realize how quickly Amazon will start selling a book.

  2. Interesting numbers, Michael. Thanks.

    Why does it take Outskirts Press so friggin' long to get a book listed on Amazon?

    You've given me the amunition I need to complain.

  3. Hi, Michael, you left a comment on my blog; iauthorbooks, thanks. Nice blog here. I checked out POD but here in Thailand it's so cheap to get a book printed (300 copies for less than $1,000 USD)that I'm going for it. There's a huge book fair here in March, so I'll take some there and see what happens. I can relate about errors and my wife found many (she's my editor)even after I read and reread it 10 times, LOL. My second book will be coming soon. It's "finished" but my wife hasn't proofed it yet. Good luck to you.
    Verne Arnold

  4. Addendum; one can print 500 books for less than $1,000 USD.