Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

12 Things to do Before You Publish Your Book

No matter your route to publication, traditional publisher or self-publishing, there are a lot of large and small tasks that must be accomplished before you hit publish on a book. This is not a complete list, it’s a quickie cheat sheet to give you an idea of the size, scope, and timelines required to publish a book.

  1. 6 months to 3 years before your release date, finish writing your book. Before you submit to publishers or self-publish, the book must be completed. What does that mean? Here’s a handy checklist to help you determine if you’re done:
    • Completed first draft
    • Let the book rest (2 weeks – 1 month)
    • Revise and edit the book yourself
    • Send the manuscript to critique partners or beta readers
    • Revise and edit again based on feedback
    • Submit to publishers or hire a freelance editor to give you developmental edits
    • Revise and edit book again based on feedback
    • Publisher or freelance editor line edits
    • Revise and edit book again based on feedback
    • Publisher or freelance editor proofreading edits
    • Revise and edit book again based on feedback
  1. If working with a traditional publisher, you will need to provide guidance to the art department for the creation of your cover. Such as character descriptions, setting, mood, and major story events. Timeline varies. Could be 2 or 3 years away from your publication date, but no less than 6 months.

    If self-publishing, 3 to 6 months before publication date, hire a cover artist or, if you’re good with graphics, create your own cover. Cover artist examples:
  1. As early as possible, set up your author website. DIY examples:
  1. As early as possible, choose two or three social media channels to promote your book. Any more than that is going to take up too much of your time.
  • Post interesting news, writing life vignettes, recipes, and book news
  1. Create promotional images and video and post them to your social media. You can hire a graphic artist or create your own with a DIY app, such as:

Here’s an example of a graphic I created myself using the BookBrush app. This graphic is formatted for Twitter and Facebook:

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  1. As early as possible, set up a newsletter with a subscribe link on your website. Examples:
  1. 2 to 3 months before release date consider running a blog tour or hiring a promotional company to run new release promotion for you. examples:
  1. 1 month before your release date put out a call for reviewers to review your book via social media and your newsletter
  2. Format your book into .pdf, Mobi, and ePub
  3. Load your book to a book sales funnel app so you can give your reviewers a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. Examples:
  1. 2 to 4 weeks in advance of your release date (pre-order window), load your book to as many digital book retailers as desired or use a book distributor such as:
  1. 1 week before your release date, write your release day newsletter and schedule it to go out at a specific time.

Want to learn more? Join Julie for her 6-week Author Mentoring Intensive!

Julie’s latest release is Trapped with the Undercover Prince available at Amazon and other retailers

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Julie Rowe

Full-time author and workshop facilitator, Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she still resides (despite a wildfire forcing the entire city to evacuate on May 3, 2016). Julie’s debut novel, Icebound, was released by Carina Press on Nov 14, 2011. Ten novels and eight anthologies have followed. Her most recent titles are the MEN OF ACTION boxed set and VIRAL JUSTICE book #3 of the Biological Response Team series. Julie’s articles have appeared in magazines, such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent magazine and Canadian Living.

Julie facilitates communication workshops at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, and has presented writing workshops at conferences in the United States and Canada. She’s also a strong supporter of life long learning and moderates a free announcement loop for the promotion of online classes, workshops and webinars.

You can find her at, on Twitter @julieroweauthor, or at her Facebook page:


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