The Process Of Writing A Book: Timeline From Start To Finish (Part 1)

Bike Touring Survival GuideThis is the first in a series of articles about how my husband Andrew and I wrote the Bike Touring Survival Guide. It focuses on the overall timescale and process of writing the book.

Part 2 of the series looks at the process of creating and gathering content.

The goal behind these articles is to give other authors an idea of our process and, hopefully, plenty of helpful tips for their own writing project.

Creating A Book: From Concept to Finished Copy

Our initial idea for the Bike Touring Survival Guide came from our desire to share practical how-to information with other bike tourists in a organized and easily readable way. We mulled over the concept of a book in the final months of our world bicycle tour and began work on it in late 2009. It took us about 18 months to go from an idea to publication.

December 2009: Drafting ideas and creating a table of contents. We spent many nights putting all our ideas down on pieces of paper and then trying to organise them into a logical order. We also looked at many other similar books and noted what we liked and didn’t like in those books.

February 2010: We sent a book outline and Table of Contents to a small, traditional publishing house. We later met the publisher. Although he was very kind and supportive, we were surprised on a few points, including:

  • How little an author makes off a traditional book (in this case, about 10% of the selling price).
  • The fact that this particular publisher was not interested in eBooks.
  • Even though we might have a publisher, we would have to provide all the diagrams for the book; the part that intimidated us most, and which we were hoping for help with (the publisher would help with layout, editing and marketing).

We decided that traditional publishing was probably not for us, since we felt strongly that it was important to have an eBook version. We also felt that we could market our own book through our website, and we were keen to learn some of the other skills, such as book layout.

March 2010: We began gathering information. We created a series of files with useful links, photos and articles for each chapter, both from our own writing and that of other bike tourists. Friedel also asked her employer if she could work 4 days a week instead of 5, leaving 1 day a week free for book writing. This request was granted, starting in May 2010.

Writing A Book
Writing a book takes a lot of time, patience and many, many drafts! Photo by Jeffrey James Pacres

May 2010: Writing begins in earnest. Friedel worked through the Table of Contents draft, one section at a time. In addition to working on the book every Friday (her writing day), she also spent many evenings and weekends writing. Other bike tourists were contacted for permission, when we spotted a nice story, quote or photo that we wanted to include. We offered them a free copy of the eBook, as a thanks for contributing content. Slowly the book began to take shape. At this stage, we did not worry about re-ordering or better organizing our original Table of Contents, but we regularly added sections as new ideas occurred to us.

September 2010: We had a first draft! It was very rough and still in a generic word processor (Open Office) format. We sent it to a few close friends to get their impressions. We continued to add sections and refine the text based on the feedback we received. At the same time, we made an announcement on our blog about the book and asked people to share their bike touring tips. Perhaps our question wasn’t clear enough because we did not have many responses.

December 2010: We had refined our first draft and felt it was getting close to a final copy. We printed it and took it with us on a bike tour of Spain, proofreading in our tent every night.

February 2011: We started putting the book into InDesign CS5, using a Blurb template (so that we could easily make a print version). We were lucky because we were able to buy a copy of InDesign at an educational rate (a perk of Friedel’s job). Formatting the book in a proper layout program was key to giving it a clean, professional layout.

If we had not been able to do this, we would have used the free 30-day trial version of InDesign but then we would have needed to be much more disciplined with our layout work to get it done within one month.

Once we had an initial copy of the book laid out, we sent first drafts to people in the bike touring community who offered to help us with editing. Their help was invaluable (more on this later). Although we thought we had a final draft in February, we actually created about 10 more drafts before we were totally happy with the book.

Also in February, we began letting our readers know that our book was nearly done. We also asked for a few photos on topics where we needed photos. We did this as a contest, and offered free copies of the book to anyone whose photo we were able to use.

March 2011: We created a Facebook page and Flickr Group for the book, and Andrew began researching the mechanics of selling a book such as which eCommerce plugin to use and how to integrate Paypal.

Kindle Book
Creating a Kindle version of the book turned out to be quite a challenge.

April 2011: With a final, final, final (!) draft of the book complete, we started to create a Kindle version of the book. This turned out to be a rather painful process (more on that in a later post) but we felt it was necessary to get our book out to the eReader world. We discussed how we would price the book and we completed the sales page for the book.

This work took us the entire month to finish, and we were very stressed during this time. There were many long, stressful evenings as we tried to work out the many technical challenges. At one point we wanted to throw our book over our apartment balcony and just forget about it. “If you feel like that, then you’re almost done,” said a fellow author. At the end of the month, we published the book and breathed a big sigh of relief.

May 2011: The book was now published but our work was not done. We spent many hours answering emails from both readers and other bloggers (potential reviewers), addressing both general questions and some technical difficulties. We also started work on an ePub version of the book and got the book listed on Amazon.

Getting the book listed on Amazon was easy, but for the U.S. sales we also had to apply for a special ITIN tax number. Otherwise, the IRS will take 30% of our earnings, even though we are not U.S. citizens. This cost 100 euros and entailed a trip to a local tax agency, to get our passports and application form verified. It takes 6-8 weeks for the number to be issued, and in the meantime we asked Amazon to hold our U.S. payments.

June 2011: We focused on getting the book reviewed by other bloggers, and (unfortunately) on correcting a few minor typos. It seems that no matter how much you proofread, there are always a couple typos that slip through unnoticed, and then pop into view about a month after you think you’ve finished a book. We also worked with volunteer testers to create an ePub version of the book.

Once we had weeded out the last of the typos, we submitted the book to Blurb for printing. We worked through a few image issues that needed to be sorted out before we could release the book for sale as a print copy. These issues dragged into July.


  1. Andrea
    1st August 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    Well that is excellent and very helpful. Thank you for directing me here Friedel. I do love the clarity of the writing you both have.

  2. ShaynaOiEn
    13th July 2022 at 3:13 am #

    writing a dissertation prospectus
    doctoral dissertation help
    dissertation plan

  3. ChandaOiEn
    19th July 2022 at 11:52 pm #

    dissertation vs thesis
    online edd no dissertation
    buy a dissertation

  4. VerieeOiEn
    22nd July 2022 at 4:35 pm #

    uga dissertation
    writing help
    dissertation help service

  5. GlynnisOiEn
    23rd July 2022 at 8:44 am #

    writing a dissertation introduction
    dissertation help free
    definition of dissertation

  6. GlynnisOiEn
    23rd July 2022 at 9:24 pm #

    dissertation help service quality
    help with dissertation
    dissertation proposal help

  7. HerminaOiEn
    28th July 2022 at 11:21 pm #

    dissertation research and writing
    uk dissertation help
    phd thesis

  8. HonorOiEn
    8th August 2022 at 8:18 am #

    vpn chrome
    hotspot vpn
    opera vpn

  9. TeddieOiEn
    9th August 2022 at 5:04 am #

    zenmate vpn
    vpn to change location free
    vpn review

  10. JenneeOiEn
    10th August 2022 at 1:23 pm #

    vpn best
    how does vpn work
    best vpn for mac

  11. JenneeOiEn
    11th August 2022 at 9:24 am #

    best vpn for windows 2018
    best vpn multiple devices
    buy hidemyass vpn

  12. AshleighOiEn
    12th August 2022 at 6:13 am #

    best free pc vpn
    small business vpn device
    free vpn for firestick

  13. LaurellaOiEn
    13th August 2022 at 10:33 pm #

    vpn router best buy
    free linux vpn
    best vpn for firestick

  14. SheelaghOiEn
    16th August 2022 at 3:14 am #

    kodi vpn
    free vpn\
    is there a free vpn

  15. DorolisaOiEn
    21st September 2022 at 2:50 am #

    essay help forum
    custom made essays
    how to write my college essay

  16. EasterOiEn
    13th October 2022 at 4:32 pm #

    help write an essay
    analysis essay help
    essay writing helper

  17. shaping the future
    2nd May 2023 at 2:18 pm #

    PSN Generator, we strive to be We can certainly tell with

  18. Marriage Coaching
    4th May 2023 at 3:12 pm #


  19. Bette Holden
    14th May 2023 at 7:57 am #

    old mill apartments rentberry scam ico 30m$ raised kent apartments for rent

    19th May 2023 at 7:42 am #

    You are my aspiration, I have few blogs and occasionally run out from to post .

  21. trade metals
    15th June 2023 at 11:51 pm #

    You can narrow the odds of a nasty accident taking place in your homeby getting additional safety-conscious.

  22. Sidney Naylor
    21st June 2023 at 5:21 am #

    would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the

  23. stany jicín
    21st June 2023 at 10:00 am #

    what happens when someone drinks alcohol and takes cbd

  24. TK Islam terbaik di Bintaro
    24th June 2023 at 2:54 am #

    lah ClolaoneloNusthingiverse.comLaljumentelult

  25. ??????
    26th June 2023 at 11:41 am #

    we got scammed several times for In this article we will cover

  26. Sheridan Warren
    28th June 2023 at 1:19 am #

    Summer Olympics 2021 live online from anywhere without cable. Stream olympic 2021 schedule from home.

  27. for details
    28th June 2023 at 11:24 am #

    new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  28. ant Exterminator Boise
    5th July 2023 at 4:46 am #

    When you carry out any desires of your Sim, you get balls of happiness.

  29. Oxydianiline
    6th July 2023 at 2:14 pm #

    I value the article. Cool.

  30. pagan
    16th July 2023 at 10:13 pm #

    plaquenil dosage hydroxychloroquine vs chloroquine

  31. yoga for insomnia
    19th July 2023 at 8:08 pm #

    I really enjoyed this content and will return to see it again Love it!

  32. Todd Karamian
    20th July 2023 at 8:22 am #

    Hello, not necessarily you too great? The writing widens my knowledge. Say thanks to you.

  33. Moira Mohamed
    20th July 2023 at 11:18 pm #

    essay writers online thesis writing help writes your essay for you

  34. Priscilla Schofield
    21st July 2023 at 5:49 am #

    Can someone recommend Bijoux Indiscrets Accessories? Thanks x

  35. Todd Karamian
    21st July 2023 at 4:37 pm #

    Get a job women’s rogaine reviews 2019 If you thought you were going to have to stick to the black and white monochrome trend this summer then never fear! The summer’s other big colour is cobalt blue and Kimberley Walsh is showing us how to do it.

  36. visit
    1st August 2023 at 11:50 am #

    Specifically the kind of content that improves the internet. Many thanks!

  37. stroitelnaya kompania
    1st August 2023 at 1:54 pm #

    Major thankies for the article. Keep writing.

  38. daytona beach shores tides
    10th August 2023 at 8:06 am #

    Regards for helping out, excellent information. “Whoever obeys the gods, to him they particularly listen.” by Homer.

  39. rent strippers
    10th August 2023 at 11:56 am #

    böcek ilaçlama antalya şirketi ile sizde evinizdeki tüm haşarelerden kurtulabilir, artık rahat bir şekilde nefes alırsınızHamam böceği gibi bir çok böceklere sorunsuz garantili çözümler sunuyoruz.

  40. cheap rental cars chennai
    18th August 2023 at 12:50 am #

    Thanks again for the post. Want more.

  41. I value the blog post. Awesome.

  42. Silicone Resin
    28th October 2023 at 3:30 am #

    Really appreciate you sharing this blog. Want more.

  43. nid entrance coaching
    26th November 2023 at 3:40 am #

    Major thanks for the blog.

  44. tubidyfree music download
    28th December 2023 at 5:26 am #

    This is a topic which is close to my heart… Best wishes! Where can I find the contact details for questions?

  45. Kelvin Kaemingk
    3rd January 2024 at 11:02 pm #

    Kelvin Kaemingk has over two decades of helping people make smarter decisions regarding their mortgage and money decisions. He began his career in financial planning and migrated into the mortgage space in 2002. He is passionate and committed to helping people throughout their lives, make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families. As a father of three, and now Papa K (grandpa) to one, a team builder and recruiter, Kelvin thrives on helping others realize their potential, often referenced as “Everyone’s biggest fan”. Kelvin Kaemingk is the Area Manager for loanDepot and Co-Host of the Real Estate Chalk Talk radio program based in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area. Kelvin Kaemingk, NMLS 251124 | Branch NMLS 1139048

  46. free face swap ai
    14th March 2024 at 11:11 am #

    Enjoyed every bit of your post. Fantastic.

Leave a Reply to SheelaghOiEn Click here to cancel reply.