How to Create Your Self-Publishing Plan and Timeline, + a FREE Template!

hi guys I have something exciting for you okay so you can probably tell from the title of this video that I am giving you guys the template for my publishing plans so I get asked all the time like how do you know like what are the stages first of all for your publishing plan like there's you know first drafts and outlines technically before that and your editor and Vedas and self edits I don't know you name it there's so many stages and I actually did do a video on this topic by the way it's kind of older it's in the past but you can go look it up and I will link it in the cards and below if you want to watch because it's like very thorough it's like 17 minutes long it's my full publishing plan from start to finish like outline all the way through the publishing date and everything in between literally I covered all of it so go watch that if you're curious but this template is based on that like I use all those steps and what I did is I put it into a format which I'll show you in a second here and I I did it so that you could fill in your own dates but I'm gonna show you how I fill it in and the funniest part is like I've done this for my novels like I will jot down all the you know like the dates and like this month I want to get this done blah blah blah but I did it kind of like chicken scratch and now I have this beautiful template that I wish I'd used all the time because I'm literally I'm gonna put it on my wall it looks so good and I just I can't wait to show you so this video is gonna be super short and quick I'm basically just gonna walk you through it and then the way that you can get this is to sign up for my newsletter and it'll be I'll be putting this on my Members Only page so when you sign up for my newsletter you get the password to the Members Only page on my website which has a lot of other cool stuff too but this is gonna be the main thing that I'm excited about now it'll have that members only section also has like character interviews and it has Penny's puppy pack for writers and a bunch of other stuff but this what-do-you-call-it publishing plan template is like I wrote out a very very very detailed explanation of how I use it and I kind of gave you like a rough idea of the time frame so that when you go and you can use it like every novel you can just reprint it out when you go in you can put all the dates like from start to finish and as you plot it out it will lead you up to a projected release date so anyway I'm gonna stop explaining it here and I'm gonna actually show you I'm gonna like actually fill it out for one of my novels and then I also do have a version for a series like three books and so anyway I want to do all that but just as a reminder the way that you get this template is you sign up for my newsletter and that will give you a password into the members only section on my website so awesome and if you're already signed up for my newsletter which a lot of you are then I am just gonna send out a newsletter today or tomorrow with the template included and a reminder of that pass or in case you forgot so you will be able to get it no matter what I'm gonna make sure that you guys get it and let's take a look at it and see what you guys think okay so this is my publishing plan template and basically I'm just gonna fill it out for you and kind of show you how I do it so for the title of your work you if you have one awesome for me I'm just gonna put princesses and castles this is the code name that I used to talk about my book on Instagram because I don't have a name for it yet and then you're going to have the stage that you're in and then the other column you're gonna fill in the dates that you want and this is a guideline this is your roadmap the idea is for you to feel like you have something to shoot for it's flexible if things change that's fine until you actually down here announce your release date this isn't its permanent like you can change this but this is giving you something to shoot for I think I said this on my site but I'll say it again here because it's important if you have a goal you're much more likely to actually finish because you know what you're aiming for so for the first draft my first draft and my very first book took me quite a bit longer than it takes me now and you need to be very realistic for how long it takes you so what I like to do is get an idea of like the typical word count for a novel in your genre so for example sci-fi fantasy I want to say I want to say seventy thousand words is average but like up to ninety thousand I could be wrong on that please don't quote me but anyway I'm just gonna pretend right now that for our first draft we want to do seventy thousand and and depending on how many words per day you want to write if you are capable of writing a thousand words per day awesome if you're capable of writing 1500 per day awesome whatever you do figure out what your general daily word count is and divide the overall word count by that number and you're gonna find out how many days you need to fully do your first draft and then really quick I'll mention this I go on to detail again on my website like very lengthy explanation on how I like to do this but basically you're gonna want to I don't know let's just do it here so seventy thousand oops 70 K divided by C I already wrecked it a thousand words a day equals seventy days okay so if you know that that's how much time you need you could think that they're all consecutive but really you want to plan out strategically so I would take out a calendar like actually use my phone or whatever and plot this out and I would not count the dates where I know that I'm not going to be writing for example if I went on vacation if there's a holiday or a family event you name it or for me I don't work on Sunday so I never count Sundays as a writing day and then I like to count Saturday's as my ketchup day and you might write on the weekends and not during the week so you need to pick what works for you and so what you're going to do is calendar and you're gonna write every single day that is an actual writing day you're gonna chart that through and then I have an example of this on the website where I plotted out every single writing day and it was October 1st through December 4th – if you write 1,500 words a day five days a week you could write a novel in that timeframe so for me I want princesses and castles it's honestly it's basically done right now I started it on June 25th normally oops i procrastinate so not normally I procrastinate I do normally procrastinate but normally I aim to write a novel in two months but I've been procrastinating so now my end date is actually gonna be I put the 15th which is coming up so that is the end date I gave myself because I know I am super super close to the end I just need to do it things have come up with pearls number so I did not plot it out this way for this novel but I want to for future novels and then the next step is to take a break so I know from the 15th so September 16th my break begins and for me personally I I'm gonna kind of do this a little differently I say to generally do anywhere between two to six weeks for me I have I haven't really been super super into this book so I feel like I only need a two-week break but if you have been spending so so so much time on your your first draft I talked about something I like to call writers blindness where basically you're going to you're going to how do I say this you're not going to see the errors that are super super obvious so this break is just to give your brain time to kind of forget this story so however much time you need you will know and then the fast read-through is what I like to do next and again I talked about all of these steps in my what do you call it my step-by-step publishing plan video which I have linked below so do take a look at that because I don't want to go super in detail on all these steps which I'm trying to catch myself or I'm gonna do that anyway but the fast read-through I try to give myself a week so I put October 1st through October I think I put this six so I give myself six days and then I go straight into the developmental edit so starting on the seventh and I like to give myself roughly a month but I kind of include the fast read through in that month so this is like a month total from the 1st to the 31st again this is just me I need you guys to definitely just take this as a template make it your own pick dates that work for you definitely plot this entire thing out on a calendar so that you can see you know oh gosh I might have vacation in October so actually this should go another week or something like that and then the next step is requesting beta readers so this stage actually I like to do roughly I don't know around when I begin at the second draft so I know I have a full story I kind of have in my head an idea of how long it'll take me so I'm going to say I want to request beta readers October 1st ish and that's just again this is my template this is giving me a time frame so if that doesn't work out exactly that's okay but I like to ask about oh let's see I don't know one to two months in advance so that's what I like to do there and then editing editing for betas for me often I will actually edit for betas as I send it out to them so I'll edit a round of chapters or pages and send it out and then I'll go and edit the next round and so on so I often will write during here but for this particular book I actually want to use November NaNoWriMo oops first gosh you guys this is very messy I apologize most of you will probably be more type-a than me make it pretty but November 1st through 30th so I'm gonna use NaNoWriMo to edit because actually decide no I'm really seeing pearls number during November so the first two weeks of November up till November 13th are going to be massively busy I don't think I'll have time to write a full novel but I do think I'll have time to edit four betas and then actual beta reader process I'm hoping to start this on December 1st and because it's a shorter novel my last beta processes have been really big books like a hundred a hundred thousand ish words both times so I needed about five weeks to do that I broke that down into a five week process but this time it's shorter so I'm hoping this is very hopeful to fit it into one month so four weeks and then I'm going to put one week buffer because of the holidays because honestly I would never ever expect them to read over Christmas so or over New Year's so honestly like I will leave that very flexible for them maybe they'll want to read it all up front I'm gonna have less beta so maybe they'll want to do that but if they don't want to and any more time I'm gonna make room for that so actually when we get to the editing based on beta feedback I'm going to guesstimate that I won't get it back and for a little bit so actually January 8th I'm gonna give that extra week to even get it back and then I typically want to have about a month for beta so January to February 8th this is very loose you might want to actually go plot it out on a calendar and give yourself even more specific time frame I didn't even look at what dates these were so if they're like a Sunday or something then that's not accurate but then the next step is editing for my editor and I broke this down on my website guys the difference to me is this one is very developmental it's very much big picture whereas editing for my editor I start to go on to the line edits I start to get way more picky so I'm going in sentence by sentence here and I gave myself about a week I think yeah six days and that's basically like I have been editing here so again this is sort of it's really a month in a week that I'm giving myself to edit for the editor but this one in particular this week is going to be really particular with the editor in mind then when I send it to my editor she has my new editor has a two rounds process so she does actually a first round which I'll just put first round here and I'm gonna split this box and second round so for her first round she does three weeks so let's see here where is my map February for my calendar February 18th through I think it was March 9 and that's the first round and then of course for me it's a first round in a second round as well so for the my first round I try to complete her edits within a week so March 10th through 16th and I send it right back to her she gets another three weeks and this was for the bigger book so maybe she won't use as much time but I'm trying to plot out I'm trying to plot out more the generous timeframe because if she doesn't take that long something else in here will like it's always better to give yourself buffer time than not enough so for the second round another three weeks I'm gonna put let's see here starting March 16th when I send it to her through April 6 and that's the second round then my second round again I wrote this in my website when I explain everything but I typically don't need the full week I really only need a couple days to complete edits because I'm excited I'm ready to get it done but I always give myself a week because again better too better to give yourself extra than not enough so 7 through 13 is what I gave myself there and then we come to the formatting section I really only need one day because I've been and my experience I write in a template already so I'm formatted I just need to fix it up I usually need to just tighten up a few things and prettify so the formatting though if you're brand new to it it could take you a bit longer it's complicated I have a whole video on that which I'll link below that I just did recently but formatting is kind of a beast if you don't know what you're doing so give yourself a few days to do that or even a week but for me I just need one day at this point so I'm going to use April 14th right before tax day and then ordering proofs now CreateSpace is going away sadly so I don't know if this will stay the same but right now oops it takes me about 24 hours to submit a proof I've figured out what they won't accept and what they will so I don't usually have my proof rejected they usually approve it and then I can order a copy so if it takes me let's see it takes me about two days to submit total for the 24 hours so April 15 16 plus I'm gonna say 10 days shipping because they say 7 to 10 days business days for shipping but often CreateSpace is really really fast but I like to again go with the longer end of things in case it does take 10 days you don't want to plan and then fail you guys get the idea and then for proofreading proofreading is typically when it's arrived I start immediately so it'll arrive probably around April 26th and I give myself typically a week for this so May 3rd that's just because it's another fast read through just like this so I did a week up there if that worked out this should work fine oops I'm really messing up this copy sorry guys and if you feel like it will take you longer then that's fine but really at this point you shouldn't be changing too much you're just looking for errors you're looking for formatting issues and you're just final proofreading and I like to actually have other people proofread too so you might need more time for them if they are not quick readers you might want to make sure that they have a little extra time to proofread okay and then this section right here I'm gonna skip past this and come back to it because I want to talk about the buffer time or the last minute to do is I give myself and this is from experience a full month of buffer time okay because I have run into issues in these stages and not had enough time and it gets very stressful if you find that shoot I did not leave myself enough time for you know maybe you needed to do three proofs or something like that maybe the first two proofs didn't work out so you actually had to add another 20 days because you had to go through the submission and ten days shipping two more times so that's going to add actually twenty twenty four more days possibly so this month of buffer time is really to ease your mind I recommend it but you don't have to you can definitely skip this if you want or you could actually cross it out and write something else in there if you wanted to and use that time frame and so now this is awesome because the projected release date is so easy you've written all this out your projected release date could be as soon as the next day so June 4th 2019 that's my projected release date this is I think it's a Tuesday I'll have to look it up I forget but June 4th I typically like to publish on a Tuesday just because that's in the publishing world a common day to release a book and I think that there's a lot of studies behind that but they also see a lot of releases throughout the week I think Wednesday is the second best Thursday and Friday work Monday works I would recommend not doing Saturday and Sunday because just people aren't really online on the weekend so much and same thing for holidays I really would would recommend avoiding holidays and yeah and I think that's it but you know I have a lot more detail on my website again so I really encourage you guys to sign up for my newsletter so that you can read through this entire process you can see my different calendar examples and then let's really quick talk about this before I forget so for the coverage designer stage my preference is to hire a cover designer somewhere around this stage because I I know that cover designers they tend to be booked really far out in advance and so you don't want to get to you know somewhere around here and then find out that your cover designer couldn't be available until I don't know say September because you waited too long so if they're a good cover designer they're going to probably have a wait list so my preference for this is higher around second draft or second to third draft and then hire them for to actually do the work around beta edits is what I'll say because I feel like this stage right here when you're editing based on beta feedback and editing for your editor the story is a lot more it's a lot more nailed down it's a lot more finalized probably a lot has changed and so you're gonna find that if you wait to actually create the cover with them and work with them until here you'll be able to give them a lot more info on the story and what is actually the final final story so even closer to this round because by the time you send to your editor hopefully it'll be the best you can possibly make it at that point besides their changes and you could even wait for here if you wanted if you wanted to give yourself more time when you were okay pushing this date back potentially release date so then hiring the editor for this stage again same thing they're going to have if they're a good editor they're probably gonna have a waitlist so you don't want to hit this stage and not have anyone hired so I typically will also hire an editor right around here so I actually use my break to do these two steps I take the break and I work on hiring the cover designer and the editor and also on my synopsis and just planning in general so for the editor I like to I like to use read Z oops sorry my handwriting is horrible but read Z is a company I can talk more about this in another video this video is getting really long they basically they connect and help authors and editors connect with each other so you can reach out to many many different editors and ask them for a sample edit on your work you can get different quotes for how much they would charge for your book and you can hire an editor based on that and so I at this point again I like to have a first draft so that I know what my actual word count is gonna be and you can write in your goal word count here or you can write in your final word count up here if you like and the editors typically will go based on word counts so higher from raid-z around also second or third draft okay oops and typically I will ask them I will have plotted this out and I will give them an idea of hey I expect to send this to around you know February 18th of 2019 and this is coming back in hiring them around October so I'll say hey you know I want to hire I want to hire you coming from October 4 February ish and then we can talk about deadlines with them they may be booked out and not be able to start until March and so then you would of course change your whole timeframe here based around them so again this is really good to know and let's see here so hire them around the second or third draft and then obviously use your outline here to figure out the date where you will need them synopsis and back blurb by the way none of these things in this section are nailed down you can do these at any point this is just my general when I prefer to do them and so I'm gonna be really quick because this videos getting really long the synopsis or back blurb I think it's really good to start figuring it out around this stage and get it really fleshed out for your beta reader so that when you request beta readers you can use a draft of it it doesn't have to be perfect but a draft of it to ask them to read because you want to be able to give them something so I would say first draft for requesting betas but then working on the final draft you need it for your cover design so the cover designer is going to need it for the back of the book typically if you are hiring them to which we haven't even talked about the dates that they would do it but around beta edits here if let's see and it based on beta feedback if they're actually completing the work within this time frame and maybe let's just guesstimate that it takes them like a full two months versus some are really fast and could do it in two weeks you might be getting your cover design somewhere around here around the March let's see yeah March early March or maybe even early April okay so what I would say is if you expect you're gonna have to go based on what they tell you but if you expect to say get your final cover design somewhere around say the 16th I would actually say and it takes them say two weeks to edit so March 1st they start I would say go back a couple weeks and decide to give them your blurb final draft by give that to them or have it done a couple weeks before they will meet it so that you have time to work on it and focus on it but by the time you have your cover designer needs it is really the goal here so I like to give myself buffer time but if you're working on right up to when your cover designer needs it I did that last time it happens and then the cover reveal a cover reveal can be done at any time there is no right or wrong way to do this I probably will change it every single time but in my mind right now I will both announced the release date and the cover reveal together and also announced the blurb all three in a book trailer and typically I like to do this right about three months before release so if June 4th is the release date then I will go back you know May April March let's say somewhere around March 4th and I'm just gonna put a question mark because I'm not looking at a calendar for this and I think that's accurate but that's a general time frame all of this can change this is probably the most flexible of anything on the list this entire list here is just to give you a sense of a road map so be flexible if things change if you find that especially if you find like with the first draft and all the editing if it's your first book this can take a lot longer just to figure out what works for you what's your process so give yourself some extra time for that give yourself some grace feel free to just reprint this off and refill it out whenever you need to this is for you guys just to encourage you give you something to aim for and give you an idea of when you can tell readers to expect your book so that's everything thank you guys for sticking with me for this super long video I thought it was gonna be short I was crazy my videos are never short and I just I really appreciate you guys hanging out with me today I hope this helps you again just a reminder for how you can get it sign up for the newsletter the newsletter gives you a password into my website for the members only section and it will be there available to download along with other awesome things and again I will send out any newsletter today or tomorrow for those of you already signed up with the password so I'll talk to you guys again soon I hope you enjoyed this video I hope you enjoyed this publishing plan oh and one more thing I almost forgot I also have a publishing plan for a series book 1 book 2 up 2 book 3 so if you have a series and you want to kind of roadmap the whole thing and see how they all relate to each other which I do and did write here then you can and this is very scribbly so I'm gonna make a much prettier version for myself but you get the idea I'm gonna put these on my website for you guys so you can see my process and my plan but make it your own enjoy and doing this and I would love it if you would tag me if you decide to use this so I can see how it works for you okay guys I'll talk to you later bye

19 thoughts on “How to Create Your Self-Publishing Plan and Timeline, + a FREE Template!

  1. If you'd like a free template to creating a self-publishing plan and timeline, sign up for my monthly newsletter here:

    If you'd like more help with writing, make sure to check out my Patreon page! Https://

  2. Just doing myself all my new rituals for everything I do. This video will help with my publishing process. Thank you xx

  3. Bless you, I've been searching for this kind of help!! I've been so confused about what to do and when. Thank you!

  4. This is a wonderful resource, thank you for providing the timeline template and going over it for us, Bethany! I would love to get a better look at how you use the timeline for three books in a row. Do you rotate your drafting/editing phases? I haven't quite figured out how to balance writing a second book while editing a finished book, let alone getting along farther in the timeline process, haha. Thank you so much for sharing!! 😀

  5. A timeline absolutely helps me too! This is basically what I do but I have a planner and use sticky notes cause I like to move stuff around but I always estimate like this! Sweet of you to share the template! This will help others so much!

  6. Bethany, great vlog, very helpful and I will be downloading temp;ate. Thanks for it! I have a question that I haven't seen a vloger cover yet. I write my first draft, when do I copy write to orutect the work before betas start seeing it? Again, THANKS!!!

  7. I've printed it and worked my books timeline!!!! Eeeeeeeee that publishing date is eye balling me. Lol

  8. This video came at the perfect time. I was literally just writing down my year of publishing plan. Thank you!

  9. Such great tips! I wrote out a publishing plan, but it's much messier than yours lol. I'll be cleaning it up!

  10. I downloaded and printed it off this morning for me to work on! I appreciate the look into your process

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