An Indie Author’s Writing Timeline

Bookmarked How does your publishing process work? / What’s your writing process like? by Elise Kova (

World Building (6 months – 2+ years)

Plotting (1 week)
I use my own variation on the Snowflake Method to help guide my plotting. My final outlines are usually between 2,000 – 8,000 words, depending on the length of the story, and are broken down as a summary of what happens in each chapter.

Drafting (4 weeks – 3 months)

Self Edits Round 1 (1 month)
After walking away from the manuscript for a week to clear my head, I return and begin self edits. At this stage these are usually large structural edits like adding and removing chapters.

Beta Readers (1 month)

Self Edits Round 2 (1 month)
I incorporate the feedback of my beta readers (along with anything else I’ve thought of) and make further adjustments before the manuscript is sent to my editor.

Developmental/Content Edits (2-4 months)
In this stage, the editor reads my manuscript and prepares an editorial letter. The editor gives me their expert opinion on the pacing, structure, and plot of the story. I then incorporate their feedback and they read through my changes to see if the issues have been addressed.

Line Edits (1-2 months)
Now that the story is as it should be and there are no more major changes on the horizon, we begin looking line by line for grammar, syntax, continuity, and pacing on a more micro scale. This usually involves at least two, but sometimes three passes each of my editor and myself.

Proofreading (2-3 weeks)

Formatting + Print Prep (1 week)

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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