How Long Does It Take to Write a Book?

Tired business man thinking about a concept

It’s a simple question. One that I’m often asked. But the answer is a bit more complicated.

Should I start the calculations from the time I first had the idea for the story? Or the time that I spent just thinking about it? Hmmmm, that’s hard to do.

If I use the beginning of the journey of a book as the first key stroke on my laptop, then my latest book, The Woodcutter’s Wife, took me nine months from the time I began typing it to the time I finished the story (word count:  149,612). (Hmmm, nine months from the beginning until finished. The same amount of time from conception to birth of a human. Interesting.)

But just because I finished writing the story doesn’t mean the book was finished, because then comes the editing and revisions. That process took another four months (words cut from original draft: 50,358).

Then the draft had to be resubmitted for review by an editorial board. (cue the sound of foot tapping while I waited – and waited – and waited). Two months later I was awarded a contract for the book. Yea, I’m done!

Nope, not yet. Next comes finding someone to design a cover. In terms of sales, the book cover is one of the most crucial elements. So there were design proposals, rejections, and revisions (another month). Finally finished!

Sorry, still not done. Now there’s the story teaser that is used to hook people into being curious enough to buy the book. It’s sort of like a summary of the story, but you can’t include any spoilers in it (which is always hard to do). That took about two weeks.

After ALL that, MY work is done. I package it all up and send it in to the publisher.

OOPS! Not so fast. The publisher does one more, FINAL edit, cleaning up any tiny items like punctuation, paragraph alignment, etc. After that, the book. is. FINISHED.


(Now I’m waiting on the publisher to decide the date when the book will be released. Stay tuned.)