I have to admit, that this is not something I have done to its fullest potential. As a result, it has been more than ten years since I first wrote then published my fantasy novel. How can you publish your novel within a much shorter period?
The most important thing you can do is set goals. I set good goals for editing and publishing my book, but when things fell through to a bad end, I put it all aside and did nothing for a very long time. To find out what this major pitfall was, visit this blog post – https://dawnrossauthor.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/difficulty-in-finding-a-literary-agent/.
First, set your long term and broad goals. Depending on how long your story is, give yourself a good year or two for writing your novel. The writing process for my 125,000 word fantasy novel took nearly two years. It took several more months for editing. How long to set your goal for publishing depends on how you plan to publish your novel. If you are going to go the self-publishing route like I did, you should probably only need a few months. But you will need to add several more months to that for marketing.
Once you estimate how long your broad goals are, set smaller goals within each. Make your goals realistic and make allowances for unexpected life events. Be sure to include each and every step. For writing a novel, your first step would be the outline. Then research. Finally, you would progress to writing each chapter. For editing, you will probably want to go through your fantasy novel yourself about three times. You may also want to have friends and family review it. Then you will need to allow time for finding, then hiring a professional editor. For publishing, self-publishers will have a lot of steps. You have to put your book in various formats, review guidelines for each self-publisher, build websites for marketing, and so on. A great guide for many of the steps needed to self-publish your novel is “How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free” by Jason Matthews.
If you are going to go through a publishing company like Tor Fantasy or Bantam Books, give yourself a few months to write a good synopsis, proposal, and query letter. Then make plans to research agents and/or publishers. Finally, decide on how many you will submit your manuscript to and how often.
Stick to your goals as much as possible. But remember that your goals to write, edit, and publish your fantasy novel are dynamic. Goals are guidelines to help keep you on track. If life gets in the way reset your goals without guilt. Don’t rush in writing your novel and risk its quality. You will also find your goals to be readjusted for new information. Perhaps in the editing process you realize that you had been using punctuation or grammar incorrectly. Or perhaps in your marketing, you found a new way to promote your book.
When you self-publish your novel today, it is much easier than it was a few years ago. Places like Amazon.com and Smashwords make it simple for anyone to self-publish a book. While publishing may be relatively easy, marketing is not. This is where I fell short in setting my goals. My fantasy novel is published, but I have not yet marketed it. Perhaps I will read “How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free” again and set my goals.