Plan a book

Plan a book – in 5 steps to a successful book project

Editing, cover design, book typesetting – if you want to publish your book in self-publishing, you should organize your processes in advance so that the publication can run smoothly.
To plan your book, a schedule that covers all the steps up to publication is especially important. With an elaborate schedule, you avoid chaos, time pressure, and stress! Publishing a book is a big project, and if you don’t do it in a structured way, you’ll quickly lose track.

In this blog article, we will explain how to create the perfect schedule for your book project in 7 steps.

My Book Project – How do I get started?
Don’t wait to plan until you’re done writing. It’s better to start several months before the planned release – we recommend debut authors even more in advance.

First, you determine which work on your book project you want to carry out yourself and which you would like to outsource to external service providers. The following work is common (marketing not included):

  1. Editing
  2. Proofreading
  3. Cover design (eBook + Print)
  4. Book typesetting (print)
  5. eBook Creation (eBook)
  6. Metadata (title, genre, sales price, etc.)
  7. Blurb
  8. Illustrations, if applicable

Additional content (imprint, preface/epilogue, acknowledgment, dedication, author’s vita, and miscellaneous)
Depending on the project, of course, other work may also be required, such as sensitivity reading.

Tip #1: If you do not have the necessary financial resources at your disposal and you want to take over as much as possible yourself, we recommend that you at least have the cover made by a professional. The cover is a crucial purchase criterion, and if you design it yourself, even though you are not a professional, you are giving away a lot of potentials.

Tip #2: Basically, we recommend commissioning a professional editor. Proofreading should be done by third parties, as the view from the outside is indispensable, and good editing makes any text better. However, proofreading is also the most expensive service.

As soon as you have decided which work you want to outsource, you should immediately look for appropriate service providers. Finding the right people for your own book project takes time. You have to search and you have to communicate a lot. In addition, sought-after service providers are often fully booked for months. So the sooner you start the search, the better.

Tip #3: Suitable service providers can be found among our book professionals. These are freelancers with whom we have already had good experiences and are therefore happy to recommend.

How do I create a schedule?
The distribution of tasks for your book project is done? Then create a schedule now! To do this, they need to know two things:

  1. How long are the processing times of the individual tasks?
  2. In what order do the tasks have to be processed?

We will examine both questions in detail in the following sections.

How long do external services last?
These are typical values for the duration of services:

Service Total duration
Editing 4-8 weeks
Proofreading 2-3 weeks
Cover design 2-3 weeks
Book set 1-2 weeks
eBook Creation 1-2 weeks

These are average values based on the statements of various service providers and authors that we have interviewed. You can use these values to guide you in planning your book. However, you should keep in mind that the duration of service can vary greatly – especially editing and proofreading, which depend on the length, quality, and type of text.

The times indicated include not only the processing time of the service providers themselves but also the time you need to enter all changes in the case of editing and proofreading. Revisions are also taken into account.

Example: A book is usually edited within 1-2 weeks. But since you still have to familiarize yourself with the editing and there may still be questions and revisions, the time is given as 4-8 weeks.

What order do I have to follow for my book project?
Many works on the book project can only be done when others have been completed.


  1. Errors also occur in blurb, acknowledgment, and dedication. To formulate these additional texts before proofreading and have them proofread as well.
  2. Before you enter your text into proofreading, it must be final in terms of content. If you make changes again after proofreading, only add errors again.
  3. Do not have your book put down until you have finished everything that should be included in the book. Illustrations and additional content (such as acknowledgment and dedication) should also be ready by then.

How do I create a schedule for my book project?
With your considerations from Section 2, the table from Section 3, and the graph from Section 4, you can now plan your book and create a schedule for your publication. You can even estimate a release date for your book project. But beware: If you want to work with a fixed date, you should definitely discuss this with your service providers accordingly. Clear communication is crucial here!

Tip: Plan for a sufficient buffer. In the specified times of the table, a certain buffer is already included, but you should still add at least 1-2 months in total. Something always goes differently than you had planned

More tips
Many take over book typesetting and eBook creation themselves.
But while the eBook creation is comparatively simple, the result of book typesetting is often not pretty if it has been made by a layman. The book set is not only important for readability but also a decisive argument when buying.

  • ➡ Helpful tips for design can be found in our free whitepaper Design Book. We recommend that you create a test print before publication. Many errors (especially in the layout) are only noticeable when you hold the printed copy in your hands. Be sure to think about the metadata in good time, as it is important for the visibility of your book.
  • ➡ Keyword research and metadata are covered in detail in our free whitepaper Publish Book.
    Please also keep in mind for your schedule that it may take 1-2 weeks after publication until your work can be ordered anywhere.
  1. How can I save time?
    You can only create the final print cover when you know the page number of your book. But you can already work on a pre-release version with an estimated number of pages. You can create the eBook cover whenever you want anyway.
  2. Some work on the book can be done independently of the rest and thus at any time (for example, blurb and dedication) – even while writing. Check off these works if there is still time for them then sink into stress just before publication.+
  3. The better your briefing, the better service providers can work and the less time the process takes. This also minimizes the risk of a nasty surprise.
  4. Enter the best possible text into the editing and no error-prone rough version. This not only saves time but also money.

We hope you have now got a good overview of how to plan your book and work with a schedule. We wish you every success in your book project!