HOW can I speed this process up??

HOW can I speed this process up??

If you’ve read Part I,  Part II, and Part III of this series, you know I decided to crowdfund my next picture book through Kickstarter with a HYBRID (not self, not traditional) publishing model. I’m running a five-day series on my blog discussing some of the potential benefits of crowdfunding. Today’s topic is timing.

In traditional publishing, it often takes 2-3 years (sometimes more) to publish a picture book after it is acquired. This is because:

  • The contract must be negotiated and signed by the author.
  • The book must be edited, revised by the author, etc.
  • If the book needs an illustrator, the publisher’s art director must not only find an illustrator, but that illustrator has to put the project in line with the other projects he or she might be working on.
  • The illustrations can take up to one year or more, depending on how busy the illustrator is.
  • The book must then be designed, sent to printers, actually printed and then shipped.

P.S. I am not a professional publisher, and I’m sure I’m missing some steps traditional publishers take — this is just the basic timeline.

By contrast, with crowdfunding, once you have your team together for your picture book (see Part II), it is possible to publish the book in less than one year from the time of the campaign.

However, once again I have to stress that you must NOT skip the quality control (editing, designing, etc.) steps that traditional publishers take (such as editing) when crowdfunding. Your book should still be the best it can be!

So let’s take a look at my timeline for MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN. Keep in mind that by the time this process “officially” began, the manuscript had been through two years of revisions and many critique group rounds. I also had the manuscript critiqued by several well-published authors with expertise in rhyming and poetry (Linda Ashman, Eileen Spinelli and Rebecca Kai Dotlich). Crowdfunding should not reduce the amount of time it takes to WRITE a good book, only the amount of time to publish one.

  • Feb 2013: Stacey Williams-Ng at Little Bahalia Publishing agreed verbally to publish the book. Susan Eaddy agreed verbally to illustrate the book. NYT Bestselling author and freelance editor Emma Walton Hamilton completed a final, professional edit on the manuscript.
  • March 2013: Erzsi Deak of Hen & Ink becomes my agent and agrees to help create and negotiate the contracts.
  • April – June 2013: Absolutely nothing happens because we are all so busy with other projects (so right here would be an opportunity to cut three months off your own crowdfunding timeline).
  • July 2013: Erzsi and I begin discussing contractual issues, looking over boilerplates, etc.
  • August – September 2013: Erzsi, Stacey and I discuss (via email and phone calls) the contractual terms at length. Finally come up with a structure we all agree to. I begin discussions with Susan about the contracts. Contracts all signed at the end of the month and Susan begins work on the book sketches and the detailed sketch for the first illustration to be used in the campaign (See Part II if you want a peek at the sketches).
  • October 2013: Susan is working on completing the first illustration. I am frantically setting up and planning for our Kickstarter campaign (including running this series). Stacey is kicking up her heels with wine and chocolate – KIDDING! She’s actually in the middle of the launch of both A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS (yes, that is my book too) and TEENY TINY TRUCKS.
  • November 2013: The Kickstarter fundraising campaign will begin!!
  • December 2013: IF we get funding for the book we will celebrate like mad and then… (following schedule is tentative but we’re confident)
  • April 2014: Artwork completed and approved
  • June 2014: Book designed, finalized and sent to printer.
  • July 2014: Books are on a boat en route to us.
  • August 2014: Books reach the warehouse
  • September 9, 2014: Tentative release date!
Happy Dance we'll be doing if we succeed!

Happy Dance we’ll be doing if we succeed!

So this is 18 months from “acquisition” to publication. And had we kept our momentum in April – June, it could have been a 15-month turnaround time.

Of course, each project will be different – some might take more time and some less. But I think this shows that a serious potential benefit of crowdfunding is time to market. By this time next year, I’ll have another published picture book in my portfolio, and I think that’s pretty amazing!

Don’t forget to follow along with the rest of the posts in this series!

Monday, Why Crowdfunding Part I

Tuesday: Why Crowdfunding Part II: Creative Control

Wednesday, Why Crowdfunding Part III: Experiment with New Publishing Models, Teach and Share with Fellow Writers

Thursday, Why Crowdfunding Part IV: Timing  (This Post!)

Friday, Why Crowdfunding Part V: Demonstrating Demand PRIOR TO Publication

Categories: A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Crowdfunding, Picture Books, Publishing, Rhyming, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. How many illustrations will Susan do before you are sure the campaign will be successful? As an illustrator, I would find four months to complete a picture book (December to April) almost impossible! Yet I would not want to do a lot of work on a project until I knew it was a go. I know illustrators work at different speeds, and my artwork tends to be more detailed than some, but Susan’s strikes me as being quite labor intensive. I wonder if she plans to sleep for those four months! (smile)

    • Another great question Diane! First, the manuscript is only 150 words, so it will be a 24 pg PB rather than the standard 32 pgs. Susan has done rough sketch thumbnails of the whole book, but will complete only one illustration to finality for the campaign, which she has been paid an advance for. The rest she will complete only if the funding is successful. Hope that answers your question!

      • I still find four months for sketches and finishes, even for 24 pages, to be pretty tight, but I guess I’m a slow worker. Without editorial turnaround it would take me about nine months to complete a 32 page picture book. The last book I illustrated, a very detailed nonfiction book called Rain Forests took me a year an a half! Are all deadlines this tight nowadays?

        • Diane, I think every illustrator’s work process, timing and schedules vary a great deal. I certainly do not mean to imply that Susan’s turnaround for this project is in any way standard.

  2. I love the title of your manuscript, Julie! It sounds like a beautiful story. I can see why you are so intent on getting this out into the world. 🙂

  3. Julie,
    as Carrie implied, the love you have for this book is evident. That has to be a strong driving force behind your courage to trail-blaze along this path.
    I too thought the art appears to be very labor intensive, and wondered how Susan’s invested time would not be at risk. However, you answered that question in a reply above. Hope we’ll be seeing a glimpse of it.
    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment. I feel like I’ve boarded a sailing ship with free passage venturing to a new country, the wind in my face.

  4. Sounds like a beautiful picture book!

  5. Hi Julie
    I am really enjoying this week’s posts about crowdfunding. I suppose one should expect such creative ideas from a childrens book writer! Will you please post the link to your project on kickstarter? I tried to look it up by your name and by “my love for you is the sun” but nothing came up. Thanks

  6. Yes that is pretty amazing. Your book sounds adorable!

  7. WOW! What a timeline! Cool! I like it! 😀 GOOD LUCK!

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