Timeline to Publication (updated)

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Blog, clockwork crown, clockwork dagger, publication process | 8 comments

How long does it take to traditionally publish a book? Almost three years to the day, in my case. I first posted a version of this back in May but I’ve updated it with more info. If you have any questions on this whole process, just ask.

A note to start: I signed with my agent in March 2011 with another book–one that, unfortunately, did not sell.

September 12th: started writing The Clockwork Dagger
October 27th: completed rough draft

January – July: back and forth dialogue as I worked on major revisions with my agent
Late in year: book goes on submission to publishers
January: first publisher offer on The Clockwork Dagger, soon followed by a second offer
February 22nd: verbal contract with Harper Voyager
not allowed to discuss the book deal in public at all; told very few people
July 3rd: received two-book contract to sign.
July 16th: deal announced in Publisher’s Marketplace. I then shouted it from rooftops.
September 6th: revision letter arrived. Deadline of October 31st.
the big edits; in my case, deleted 10k of 100,000 word book
October 15th: edits mailed in.
November 11th: editor accepted my edits.
December 10th: copyedits arrived, due 23rd.
these are nitpicky edits to clarify things, correct typos and inconsistencies
December 17th: turned in copyedits
Through December and January: back and forth regarding book cover details

January 1-31st: wrote 83k book 2 rough draft
January 29th: page proofs arrived for book 1, due Feb 11th
page proofs are the book formatted for the actual book, but printed on standard computer paper. Only small changes allowed; mostly for typos and formatting, making sure italics are right, etc.
February 4th: mailed page proofs
February: edited book 2 draft, add another 10k
February 20th: found my back cover copy on Goodreads
February 21st: sent in dedication and acknowledgment for book 1
March 3rd: cover posted online

Clockwork Dagger
March-April: book 2 critiques, followed by more rounds of revision
April 14th: submitted book 2 to my editor (deadline was June 1st)
July 21st: revision letter for book 2 arrived; deadline of September 1st
August 15th: submitted revised book 2 to editor
also August 15th: two final copies of The Clockwork Dagger delivered to my house

September 16th: The Clockwork Dagger to be released
September 2015: book two, The Clockwork Crown to be released


  1. It’s interesting to see that ‘catching an agent’ was either already done before this timeline or not included. I had to find an agent in the middle of mine, which lengthened the time quite a bit (plus writing book 2 first didn’t help, either.)

    • Yes, I signed with my agent in March 2011. She was unable to sell that first book, passed on the second one I was working on, and worked with me through the whole process on Clockwork Dagger.

  2. Very cool, Beth! Thanks for sharing. It’s fun to see the behind the scenes, and, even though it was only three years, I bet the eaiting sometimes felt longer. 🙂 Congrats – it’s almost here!

    • *waiting. Good grief!

      • Thanks, Nicole! The worst period of waiting was when I had to keep the book deal a secret for five months. That just about killed me. I don’t like holding back happy news!

        (Don’t you wish comments were easier to edit on these things?! It drives me bonkers, especially when I typo on Twitter.)

  3. Thank you for sharing that info, Beth. Very informative and enlightening. 🙂

    • You’re very welcome!