Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How dang long does it take me to write a book?

Someone asked me recently for the average time it takes me to write a book. I've fielded similar questions from others, so here's a blog post on that. Bottom line: Um, can't really give an average ;-)

I can't really give an average because circumstances are so individual. For example, am I writing a book right from scratch or is it based, at least in part, on an earlier work? Am I working on the book full time or part time? Is the plot gelling and coming together really well?

Anyway, I'd say three months to three years on average, three months being if I'm working on the book full time and parts of it have already been done earlier. Three years, as with "Waiting," if it is from scratch, if I'm working on it part time, the plot isn't gelling as well as it should, and I'm working on another book at the same time, as I was with "Strange Bedfellows" and "Waiting."

Now that I'm writing full time, my averages should get shorter.


We'll define time length from the time a book is started to when a final draft is submitted for final publication.

Here are the times for all my published works so far plus two unpublished.

"The Odd Couple" - about two or three years for the first edition but technically more like seven years because I did a not insignificant revision for the second edition. The first draft of TOC was written while I was in college.

"Strange Bedfellows" - about a year and some change

"Waiting" - about three years (lots of put-aside time, revision time, changed one of the romance leads, and overlap time with "SB")

Both my short story collections took probably a couple of years and have been complete for a couple of years. I just didn't do anything with them until I went indie.

"Third" - I started this in, I believe, October, and it gelled quicker than any of my books had. However, it's based in part on an earlier novella, so we can go back and say "Third" actually started a few years earlier than this. This is also my first work when I could write full time. The first draft is vaguely done, but significant work remains on "Third" before it is publication-ready.

"All in the Family" - actually my very first book. Started it in college about 1999, and it'll be published in 2012, so you can do the math ;-) This one in particular has been revision-ville. One day, I was not feeling "Third," so I opened the AITF file. I got excited about it again, and working full time allowed me to get it publication-ready in about a month.


So, in sum, while it may seem like I'm throwing stuff out there, "Third" is the only one I didn't have at this time, say, a year ago, and even then, two of the characters came from an earlier novella.


Leigh Ann Britt said...

You take as long as you need to write the books. Readers tend to get anxious about an author's future works, but if they stop and think about it for a little while ~ they will realize that it's best to give the author time to put their heart into it.

When you think your works are good ~ we will think your works are good.

Q. Kelly said...

I actually think these questions were provoked because I seem to be putting out a lot in a relatively short period of time.

In actuality, I've had most of these works ready for a while, or near ready.