Say if First Second Books finalized the decision to publish a graphic novel I made, how many months or years are needed for the mass publishing of the novel?
At the point when your graphic novel is 100% finished – written, drawn, colored, turned in to us and signed off on – it generally takes us about an additional year to publish it.
That’s so long! Why on earth would it take that long to publish the book when it’s already done?
Three reasons – one publishing, one printing, and one marketing/sales.
On the publishing end, your graphic novel will need to be designed, copy-edited, proof-read, and proofed. That’s a pretty long process – it generally takes about three to four months, and sometimes more, depending on how extensively your graphic novel needs to be edited and designed. Oh, and: this is the stage when the cover is designed, too! That can also take a while.
We print our books in China, which means that after the books are sent to the printer and printed, they have to be loaded on a container ship and shipped to the US. That takes a while – it can take two months (and sometimes more, depending on weather at sea and customs). (I bet you never thought you had to take weather at sea into account when considering your publishing schedule.) We like to plan to have our books in the warehouse earlier than we need to in case there’s some sort of weather/customs catastrophe.
We also plan to get our books in the warehouse a little earlier than the publication date so that we can send them out to reviewers and librarians and teachers and booksellers and comic booksellers! They’re an important part of getting the word out there about our books, so we want them to have early copies.
Having that year cushion between when we get the book in and when we publish it allows us to summon up all of our publishing powers – editorial, design, marketing, sales – and get the FORCES OF GOOD PUBLISHING on our side to make the best books possible!