Are you thinking about self-publishing a book, but don’t know where to start or what to do in what order? You’ve come to the right place.

I’ve been in the small business and entrepreneurship space for almost 20 years now and have created, maintained, and optimized business systems, marketing strategies, and deliverable timelines for businesses in a wide range of industries. From retail, to education, to technology, to personal services, to human resources, to clothing brands, to chiropractic, to pet care, to shipping, to arts organizations, and to coaching and consulting, I have supported them all.

In the last two years, I have transitioned into publishing and have self-published two novels, three planners, 12 journals, and one workbook, and, below, is the schedule that I use for publishing fiction and nonfiction books. It may seem like a lot at first glance, but every step counts.

Within three months of launching my first novel, it sold in six countries and, by the time my second novel launched a year later, the first had been picked up by three independent bookstores as well as one Barnes & Noble location. The key was to focus on quality work throughout the process, from choosing my editors, cover artists, and formatters to strategically building brand awareness ahead of time – not waiting until after the books had launched.

Do you want those kinds of results? This is exactly how I wrote, published, and sold a book in a year:

In weeks one through three, it’s all about getting super clear as to why you are embarking on this particular project at this particular time. What has led you to this decision and where do you want to end up? What is the goal of this project and what agreements must you make with yourself in order to get it done?

In weeks five through ten, we prepare our schedules and habits so that we can prioritize this project appropriately and make sure we have enough time and energy to invest in it. You will likely have to give up other activities, priorities, commitments, or goals in order to make space for this project in your schedule. We cannot say yes to everything, there is only so much time in the day. What do you have to say no to in order to say yes to this project?

Weeks 11 through 14 are about outlining, researching, and setting milestones. For outlining, what is the overall story arc? What is the narrative journey that your readers will travel? For researching, what kind of information do you need on hand in order to write it? Think in terms of names, dates, locations, and/or stories. Have them organized and easily accessible so that you don’t waste your time tracking them down once you start writing. For milestones, how do you want to track your word count or time spent writing? Do you want to write an hour a day or commit to 3,000 words a week?

In week 15, you can sit down and start writing. I recommend spending seven hours getting the book started in order to reach the 10% mark. Don’t worry about perfection here, we are simply getting words on paper.

In weeks 16 through 18, we are going to continue some writing but we are also going to start preparing the stage for our marketing efforts. This is when you will be choosing a website platform and determining your branding so that the resulting website looks polished and professional with a clear author brand.

Week 19 will be another writing week. I recommend spending 14 hours writing in order to reach the 30% mark. Then week 20 will be a self check-in week where you will take some time to pause and scale back to the thousand-foot perspective of the project as a whole. What is going well so far? What is not going well? And what do you need to do to get things back on track?

In weeks 21 through 23, you will be tackling your social media profiles. This means identifying your target audience base and choosing the platforms that they are most likely to hang out on, figuring out what kind of content to post and when, as well as setting up the backend systems to track it all so that you can stay sane. This includes content calendars and content schedulers.

Week 24 is another writing week. Again, the recommendation is 14 hours of writing to reach the 55% mark as well as a self-check in week 25.

In week 26, you are going to begin building your community to prepare for the launch of your book. This means reaching out to them in your social media DMs, networking with them either online or in-person, and growing your email list. The better you know your people, the better you’ll be able to sell to them. Become best friends.

Week 27 is for writing, week 28 is for a self check-in, then you will start looking into improving your writing skills in week 29 followed by a final writing sprint to reach the 95% mark in week 30. When you are looking into improving your writing skills, we’re talking about reading books about writing from famous authors (such as “On Writing” by Stephen King) as well as attending writing workshops, conferences, and other learning opportunities.

Because in week 31, you are going to start editing your manuscript to create your second draft. This means looking at the overarching themes of your book, bringing nuance to the emotional depth and emotional arcs throughout, as well as getting super strategic with your word choice. You are going to want to use different words if your target audience is a C-Suite executive versus a bored stay-at-home mom who wants some more spice in her life. This is where the thesaurus is your best friend.

Week 32 will be an editing week and I recommend spending seven hours editing your first draft followed by another self check-in in week 33. Then you will start researching publishing platforms in week 24. The platform that you choose will directly correlate with your end goals for the project. Do you want your book to sell in bookstores or be available in libraries? Or, do you simply want it available on Amazon? These questions will determine the platform you choose.

In week 35, you will start looking for your team. By team, I mean your cover designer, editor, formatter, and/or anyone else you might need (such as cartographers or illustrators). In week 26, you are going to interview them and, in week 37, create your NDA as well as copyright all of your materials. You need these in place before you start sharing your manuscript because you don’t want anyone leaking it before launch.

In week 38, you will onboard your cover designer and editor. During this process, you will set clear responsibilities, expectations, and deadlines so that everyone is on the same page. By taking the lead on this, you are planning ahead in order to avoid potential delays and obstacles down the road. Unclear expectations lead to unclear results. Plan accordingly.

Week 39 is all about finding your beta readers, another key part to your success team. These are the readers who are going to go over your unpublished manuscript, give you feedback, and provide reviews that you will be able to use in your promotional materials for launch. Think of this as quality control as well as market testing. You need to know that your book is attractive enough to readers before you hit the publish button.

In week 40, you will onboard your beta readers just like you did with your cover designer and editor. Then you will be receiving your first round of edits from your editor in week 41 and spending all of week 42 creating your third draft by incorporating the feedback from your editor.

You will do another self check-in during week 43, then your editor will begin their second round of edits in week 44. While they’re working on that, you will be preparing for the launch of preorders in week 45. This includes getting the book page on your website set up, figuring out the shipping supplies for fulfilling your preorders, and setting up the schedule for your beta reader reviews. Ideally, you want one review to be posted to at least one platform every week leading up to launch.

Week 46 is your final editing week where you incorporate the feedback from your editor as well as your beta readers. Week 47 is your final self check-in and, in week 48, you will onboard your formatter to create the final manuscript files.

While they’re working on the files, you will start selling preorders in week 49. This is the “soft” before the “hard” launch of the official publication date and is a time to: (1) generously pour on the love for your cheerleaders, and (2) test the backend systems of your website.

In week 50, we will begin the official launch countdown. This means generating excitement with excerpts from the book and reader reviews. Then, in week 51, you will assign and register your ISBNs and, in week 52, you will upload the final files to your publishing platform as well as order your proofs.

Your proofs should arrive in 1-2 weeks and be reviewed/approved by you prior to the official launch date. Plan accordingly and give yourself enough buffer room for mishaps. In the meantime, you can pay for paid reviews, plan a launch party, join group promotions, and contact local bookstores.

Congratulations! You started the year with a dream and now you’ve made it a reality, how does it feel?

If you don’t want to travel this path alone, I have a variety of levels of support that will guide you with compassionate efficiency. Take a look at for all of the options at your disposal.

I would be honored to join you on this journey, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time with questions. I’m always here for you.