Kelt, my Lhasa Apso who kept me moving whilst writing my book Walaahi

Kelt, my fur baby Lhasa Apso who kept me walking whilst writing my book Walaahi

One of the questions I get asked most is “How long does it take to publish a book?” and the second most asked question is “What kind of timeline should I be looking at to get my book published?”.

Some people cannot believe that I wrote my second book Walaahi in 7 days and had it as an international bestseller 7 days later on 3 continents – “It’s just impossible!” they say, or “Must have been one of those 10 pager books” or “shit quality”.

Except it was possible, and it was 77,000 words, and a high quality book – as all my books are.

So how did I do it, and how long will it take you to publish?

Well, that depends on so many variables and has a lot to do with you, your team and finances.

If you do not have a manuscript ready, and by that I mean fully written, post editing and proofread, the whole process of uploading to publishing sites such as Amazon’s KDP (or to your own website) can take less than an hour and anywhere as long as 48 hours.

If you are using a system such as IngramSpark, then it will take a little longer as their system is more complex due to the quality of the publishing platform itself, and the library systems they use.

Both of those timeframes also depend on whether you know what you are doing, have your book cover art designed correctly to spec, and all your metadata and book descriptions all in place (and a lot more content such as author profile, bank account details, ISBN, legal fees, registration fees etc all sorted).

Yep, there’s a lot more to publishing a book than just uploading a word document and an artwork file up on Amazon!

If you do not have your manuscript edited or proofread, then depending on how much time your editor has, and the kind of editing you want doing, will depend on whether the editing is going to take a few weeks or a few months with the back and forth between you both.

Then you have the proof reading to make sure all the fine tuning is done after the editing process has been completed. Some people ask why this stage is needed, and the simple answer if this:

Editors and writers when developing a manuscript get too close to the work, so to have a fresh set of eyes go over the edited version of the manuscript to make sure all the punctuation, tenses, as well as any copyright issues are not missed is essential.

If you do not have the artwork ready, then getting the cover design just right, with all the social media graphics for promotional purposes, this can take in and of itself around a month. Then uploading the artwork to the platforms can take anything from an hour to 48 hours depending on your own technical experiences – if you are self publishing, that is.

So how on earth, with all of these aspects involved did I go from telling my fur baby Kelt that I was going to write a book on life in Egypt during the Egyptian Uprising one minute and then just 14 days later having it as an international bestseller on 3 continents?

Well, I just sat my arse down and wrote it for a start. I had lived it and so writing it came as a release and I switched off all notifications on my phone (and have never switched them back on again either!) and got to work arranging my support system (I.e. arranging with my ex-husband to have the boys for the next week).

The night I came up with the idea of Walaahi, I sent an email to Jerry, my book cover designer and developer of this site, told him the brief, gave him the book blurb (which flowed out of me in a pure genius moment!) and 24 hours later we had the cover. Jerry had known me a long time, and he nailed the design first time, and offered a tweak here and there on the blurb, and the cover was ready to go.

I had also posted on social media what I was about to do and told everyone not to expect an answer to phone calls, emails or comments as I was about to write a book in 7 days to hit the January 25th deadline of the Egyptian Uprising.

I will be honest, I didn’t do the editing or proofreading for this book. At the time I didn’t have the funds available, but I did run my manuscript through Grammarly and through my own editing software. I have been writing for a long time, and have been an English teacher, so I was pretty confident what I had written would be of a high enough standard. Plus I write in my own voice, so that also helps.

The book was written in 7 days – each day sat there writing, writing, writing with my fur bay Kelt making sure I got up and took a break with a good walk in the woods around Sheffield. From the moment I woke up, walked Kelt, made coffee and sat down, I just did not stop. I smashed out about 11,000 words per day, stretching my hands and fingers, rolling my shoulders, wiggling my backside for circulation and doing head rolls regularly.

At the end of each day of writing, I gave everyone on social media a word count and update, and ignored everything else.

Once the manuscript was sent to Linda, my publishing consultant, who had been working with Jerry on the artwork submission to the various publishing platforms, I started on getting the 4000 character and 350 character descriptions sorted, along with the metadata, sent that to Linda who had also been working on the legalities, metadata, and all the other aspects of the publication whilst I had been writing.

Linda organised the typesetting of the internal pages (which can take up to 2 weeks to get right) an whilst I got on with the social media and emailing campaign.

After the writing was completed I then wrote a press release and got that sent out about how I had written a book in 7 days on life in Egypt during the Arab Spring and Uprising. It was picked up by the media, and as it was a narrative by a white, English woman who was also walking away from the Islamic faith, it had news appeal.

As the days counted down to launch day, I was responding to messages and giving people updates on the tense and exciting progress. Would we do it? Would we make the January 25th deadline? Or would the publishing platforms be against us? Only time would tell.

Unbeknownst to me, the pre-orders were coming in thick and fast, people wanted to get their hands on this book, and so when I woke up on January 25th to an email from Linda telling me we have done it and made the international bestsellers list on multiple continents, I burst into tears of joy, relief and tiredness.

We had done it! We had written and published a book in just 14 days! Holy Shit!

Now as we are about to re-release the book, having invested in having the manuscript structurally and copy edited, with proofreading being done, giving me a chance to include so many requests and answer questions from my readers, I have been able to see how I have grown as a woman, a mother, a writer and as a business woman in the coaching and publishing world.

Having spent more almost 25 years in the world of publishing in one way or another, I have learnt a lot about the media, the press and what makes a great story.

Add into the mix the number of books I read, around 70 a year, sometimes more, sometimes less, and I know what makes a great book.

You can go on the journey of writing and publishing your book alone, and many do, but as you can see, to have it done properly, you need a team of experts on hand to help with all the aspects of the book.

I would never have been able to achieve the success I have had as an author, business woman or publisher without a great team behind me, working with me, encouraging me and standing by me in some of the toughest times of my life. None of us can achieve successful alone, and no-one is a self-made millionaire.

So, if you want to succeed in getting your book written and published, achieving great results, then get a team in place – and FOCUS!

If you wish for me and my team to be your team, then book a call with me and let’s see where this journey takes us.

And remember, when people say something is impossible, always question that, because if you put your mind to something, and you have a great team around you, anything is possible.

*If you are are someone who likes to learn at your own pace, and by yourself, then I invite you to check out my Author Academy where new courses are being uploaded all the time, along with group coaching session memberships.