Countdown to a Published Book: One Year in the Life of an Indie Author

Countdown to a Published Novel

What does it look like behind the scenes for an indie author on a countdown to a published book?

Well, like this, of course:

young girl with laptop on the grass (1)

Okay, so I’m lying a little. Or actually a lottle. It’s more like this:

Frustrated Businessman Pulling Out His Hair

As we inch to within less than three months of the release of my next novel Storming, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at what my year-long schedule looks like during the countdown to a published book.

Countdown to a Published Book: January-April

This is the part of the year where my life does look a little bit like that first picture. Except, you know, it’s winter, and the outdoors around here actually looks more like this:

K.M. Weiland Snow

I spent this period going over the last round of suggestions from my critique partners and doing one last big edit of Storming. I got super-duper-über lucky this time around, since Storming actually came off the launch pad with its first draft in really good shape. It’s the first book I’ve written that hasn’t required a single big plot change. So mostly I was concentrating on correcting impossibilities in regard to the aviation facts, answering questions my critters raised, and beefing up the awesome parts. Then I did a few more passes to smooth things out.

Countdown to a Published Book: May-June

Now we come to the part where I’m pulling out my hair, starting to hyperventilate (just a little), and running around screaming. This is the part where I hand over my manuscript to my awesome editor Cathi-Lyn Dyck and sit around trying to be productive while I wait for her to get back to me.

This year, I filled the time presenting a new webinar for Writer’s Digest University (which is available exclusively on-demand as a free extra with purchase of Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market 2016), speaking to the awesome RWA chapter in Tucson, and transcribing my full 150-page outline for Storming, so I can share it later on with any of you who are interested in a hardcore look behind the scenes of my writing.

Storming Outline - 8-12

Countdown to a Published Book: July-August

Manuscript comes back from editor. She says, “Here is your lovely book back to you–wow. What a thing you’ve done here.” Commence much Snoopy dancing. Still, there’s work to be done, so it’s back to the computer for one last big edit and one last clean-up edit.

Storming Edits

Countdown to a Published Book: September

And now here we are! September is proofreading month. The manuscript went out to my official proofreader Steve Mathisen of Odd Sock Proofreading and Copyediting, as well as one last round of awesome beta readers.

Meanwhile, I got busy using Scrivener to format the digital edition. In the past, I would hire this out. But Scrivener makes it so easy (and better yet, easy to edit), that I can do it myself in less than an hour’s time. I also (with the help of all you fabulous people) got the back cover copy hammered out. And, as we speak, the magnificent designers at Damonza are cranking out cover options (which I will share with you all in a future post).

As soon as I finish writing this post, I will sit down with my old Kindle Keyboard and listen to it read to me as I read along–which is the best way to catch typos ev-ah.

Here I am:

Proofreading Storming Kindle Keyboard

Countdown to a Published Book: October

Next month, the digital proofreading will be complete, and the book will head over to my assistant for typesetting. Once I get a paperback proof back from CreateSpace, we’ll go another round of proofreading. I’ll also be working with Circle of Seven on a book trailer, figuring out the details of the launch party (giveaway! giveaway! giveaway!), and putting together a bunch of fun “extras” exclusively for all of Storming‘s readers.

Countdown to a Published Book: November

By now the hard work is (mostly) finished, and we get to start counting down the days to the launch with lots of fun posts, random giveaways, and other good stuff.

Countdown to a Published Book: December

And… we made it! The book will officially launch in early December. Be there or be square. 😉

And that, my friends, is the crazy year in the life an indie author on a collision course with a published book!

Let’s chat! How can I make this countdown to a published book launch your favorite ever? What would you like to see? Giveaways, live chats, previews, extras, something else? Tell me in the comments!

Enjoy this post?

MainAvatar-1Want to make sure you never miss a post? Sign up for K.M. Weiland's mailing list to hear all the latest tidbits, get updates about new releases, and receive a free copy of her epic medieval novel Behold the Dawn.


  1. Previews, give-aways and chats all sound really great!

  2. I’m curious about the cost of self publishing, using the sources you listed here. Looks like you got this thing down like a pro.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Editing is the biggest expense–depending, obviously, on the length of your book. But most editors charge between $.01-$.03 cents per word. The book cover package I get from Damonza runs about $600.

  3. Here’s my question: How long did it take you to get to that first step? Did you start that first draft in January or did you already have months under your belt before then?

    I love these timelines, but find that few match my own. I struggle to know whether the difference is the fact that I have a day job (two, actually) and a family, both very good at distracting me, or if it’s my lack of discipline (perhaps more to blame, but not as much fun).

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      The first draft of this book was finished back in 2013. It’s been making the rounds of critique partners and editors since then.

      Just as with the writing process itself, timelines like this are all about each author figuring out what works for her. I’m single and write full-time, so that’s a totally different spin from someone with a day job or a family. So don’t be hard on yourself!


  1. […] Then, Katie shares what this past year preparing for publication has been like. […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.