image of a calendar page finished manuscript date

Question 1: What is my finish date goal for the manuscript?

You should have a goal for the date you want your manuscript to be finished.

From the time your manuscript is finished until your book is available to the public can range from as little as three months to more than a year, depending on how well you and your publisher plan and execute the publishing process.

Did you know that certain times of year can be better or worse for launching your book?

  • Do you want your book available for holiday sales?
  • Do you need your book for a speaking or teaching engagement?
  • Does your book have a Spring, Summer or Fall theme?

Choose the date you want your book to launch and work backward from there to calculate your finished manuscript date.

Be sure that you’ve chosen the publisher who best suits your goals and have a clear understanding of your publisher’s timeline from signed agreement to launch date (the date your finished, printed book becomes available for sale.

At True Potential, we work from our exclusive online publishing project management template, sharing our timelines and tasks with our project team and the author.

Our authors are a part of the project and we believe they should never be in the dark about timelines and exactly where their book is in the process.

This online collaborative process cuts wasted time from the publishing process, typically launching a book in 90 days, from signed publishing agreement to finished printed books in distribution and on the market.

We never take shortcuts in producing the highest quality result for your book (see our three-step editing process), but we know that timing is critical in getting your book to market.

Three Questions you’ll need to answer to calculate the date you need to have your manuscript finished:

1. What date do you want your book to launch (be ready for sale to the public)?

2. What is your publisher’s production timeline from a signed publishing agreement to finished books in distribution?

Subtract the Publisher’s Production Days above from your desired Launch Date.

For example, if your desired launch date is April 1 and your publisher’s production timeline is 90 days, you’ll need to have a signed publishing agreement and a finished manuscript in your publisher’s hands by January 1 (assuming your publisher’s timeline is in “calendar” days and not “workdays”).

3. On what date does your manuscript need to be finished and in the publisher’s hands in order to meet your desired launch date?

That’s your finished manuscript date! Mark it on your calendar, work toward it. Remember, finished is finished! That means “in your publisher’s hand” if you want to keep your book’s release date.


Click here for the next article in this series: “What are your goals for your book?”

This post is based on the first chapter of our e-book The Seven Questions You Have to Answer to Turn Your Manuscript into a Successful Book.


For a free copy of this e-book and for some extra help on keeping your book on track and making it a success just complete the form below.

We respect your privacy and we’ll always work to provide excellent tips and advice for making your book and your writing career a success.

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