Friday, March 29, 2013

Behind the Scenes: A Publishing Timeline

“Publishing is one of the slowest businesses in the world.”

This is what my cousin said at the latest family wedding, when hordes of friends and distant relatives started hounding me with the dreaded question: “Why isn’t your book out yet?” My cousin said this, gave me a knowing smirk and handed me an adult beverage.

It’s true. Publishing seems to be something of the tortoise of the entertainment industry. It’s a hard thing to see on the outside. After all, readers usually only hear about books after they’re out. Or at least, present on a bunch of Goodreads lists.

To help my many relatives and friends (and you guys) understand what’s going on behind the scenes, I decided to map out my own personal experience with the publishing process.

Here’s the timeline of my debut novel ALL THAT GLOWS. I hope this helps people understand that publishing a novel in the traditional way takes time. There are lots of huge gaps (months and months), between steps. This time is spent working on other projects. And living life.

March 7th 2010: I start to write a short story about a faery in a night-club protecting a partying prince from predatory spirits. It becomes the second chapter of All That Glows.

May 22nd 2010: I finish the rough draft. A whopping 304 pages in 3.5 months.

August 14th 2010: I finished my first run through edit! It’s ready to send off to my critique partners!

October 2010: My critique partners have torn it to shreds and I must fix it!

November 2010: After ripping my precious child to pieces for the second time, I finally decide to start querying. I get my first full request.

December 2010: The full request turned into a revise and resubmit. Back to revisions I go!

February 2011: Third round of revisions finished! More partial and full requests trickle in.

April 2011: I sign with my agent and start on another round of revisions before we go on submission to editors.

July 12th 2011: My novel is out in the wide, scary world of submission.

August 3rd 2011: HarperCollins makes an offer on my book! Yay!

December 2011: I get the dreaded official “edit letter.” Commence chocolate eating and tears.

February 2012: My edits are done and my book is shiny. Yippee!

June 2012: Oh but wait. It’s not so shiny. There’s a second round of edits.

July 2012: Second official edits are finished and complete!! Phew.

December 2012: My book officially goes into the “production” phase (where they format it into an actual book and start designing the cover. Etc.

February 2013: I get my very first glimpse at the cover designs. And print them out and put them on my desk so I can drool and stare for days (don’t judge!).

March 2013: I do my copy edits for ALL THAT GLOWS and see the final version of the cover.

May or June 2013: I’ll receive my ARCs (Advance Review Copy). People will start reading and reviewing. I’ll be hiding under my bed. (And you think I’m kidding…)

February 11th 2014: My official release date! ALL THAT GLOWS finally hits the shelves!

Total time from book deal to book release: 2 years and 6 months.
Total time from first sentence to book shelves: 3 years and 11 months.

Phew. This is kind of exhausting just looking at. But there you go. A glimpse into the timeline of my “book pregnancy.” Sometimes it feels like the waiting will never end. But one day it will. My book will be out in the world as red-faced and squealing as any newborn. And you can be sure I’ll be there celebrating.


Ryan Graudin grew up by the sea, surrounded by oaks draped in Spanish moss. She was perfectly content there until her mother dragged her on a trip to London.  Wanderlust has plagued her ever since; an ailment she sates with heavy doses of traveling and writing. Her first novel, All That Glows, is the direct recipe of both. Ryan currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, and is always searching for the next adventure. You can visit her online at or on Twitter (@ryangraudin).


  1. That's a long timeline, but that seems what getting published is about. Waiting. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Ryan, I'm asked the same question all the time--I think we all are! "Why's it taking so long?!" Mine was a somewhat shorter schedule at the publisher, but longer in the initial writing phase, so my timeline from first word on the page to printed book is about 5 years. Eek!

  3. Mine was even longer, Ryan!! And I'm terrible at being patient.