Care and Feeding of the Debut Author #12

131 days to go!

There comes a point in every book where you start looking at the page you’re typing and thinking….this is a train wreck.

Usually for me this point is about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way in. And since I’m at the 1/2 point of Book 3, I’m there. Added atop this is allergy season and the stress from the tiling experience (that hasn’t quite dissapated yet), and I’m moving very slowly through the text. I only got about 1K new words yesterday. Fortunately, I still have several months before this book is due.

Part of the debut experience for me has been the question of whether I could keep up a publication schedule. My agent and I discussed the timing as she was negotiating contracts and decided that 9 months was a good span.

9 months per book.

Now I have to live up to that. As a debut author, I’ve never done this before. It’s new to me, one of the questions I’ve never answered. Can I produce on a scedule? Regularly?

So this is the new challenge as I work on Book 3.* It’s like a shadow looming over everything I do. Oh yeah, it’s a deadline. It’s supposed to loom…

How long do you think it should take to write a book?

____________________
*I actually wrote Book 2 before Book 1. If you look at the schedule I posted last week, you can see I had about 6 months to turn in Book 2. But that was a special case since the book only needed editing instead of starting from scratch.

#SFWAPro

4 thoughts on “Care and Feeding of the Debut Author #12

  1. Depends on the book, and on your current life. I can write more now than when I was a young mother with children to constantly look after. When things really fall into place, a novel can be written in less than a month. However, I’ve also taken two years to write a novel, just because nothing seemed to fall into place at all and there was no time.

    • I don’t know how people with small children get -anything- done! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to write a book in a month, either. I’m impressed!

  2. When I set out to write, I set a goal of Six months per book (from first draft to an edited publication-ready novel). There were a lot of reasons I picked this schedule. One was the challenge. I wanted to show publishers that I could produce manuscripts in a timely fashion. The other reason was, of course, momentum.

    Like you, I had no idea if I could deliver, but those were my goals. My first book ended up taking seven months, but a lot of that had to do with scheduling with my editor.

    I thought the next one would be a cinch. Boy was I wrong. It took me a good solid month to decompress after publishing my first novel. Then, after writing 40k words of my second, I realized it was a complete disaster. I went back to square one four times on this one. I’m only just now completing it.

    It’s been eighteen months. Ouch! At one point I took a solid three months off – couldn’t write a word.

    To make matters worse, my first novel was, well, a hit. It sold tons and made several best-seller lists. But I lost ALL that momentum by not being able to deliver a follow up on a timely fashion. To say this has been a learning experience for me is an understatement. I went from getting fan mail to hate mail because I still haven’t delivered a new book. Ouch again!

    This experience has taught me a lot. It’s shown me the difference between having an idea for a story (writing the debut), and actually being a writer (if that makes sense), producing a body of quality work. I have no idea if I’ll be able to get that momentum back (definitely a cause for anxiety). But I’ll be finding out soon.

    I’m very lucky, though, that I have a small but very encouraging fan base who constantly tell me not to worry (of course I do).

    • There -are- writers who take a long time between novels (K. Britain comes to mind, as does P.C. Hodgell) and simply build that into their contracts.

      But until you’ve actually tried it, you never know ;o)

      The best part is, though, is having readers who are willing to wait. IF you have those fans, that’s really all that matters!

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