Fiction No More will be released next Wednesday the 15th of May, 2019. This book took longer to finish and publish than previous books (with the exception of one; Four Corners War which I will discuss in a minute). I started writing Fiction No More in June 2018. My normal pattern is to write a book in about three months. That is the time it takes for me to write a first draft of the manuscript. Typically there has been about an equal amount of time to finish the book–editing, revisions, more editing, cover design, layout –the whole other shebang is usually another three months. For a total of six months from start to finish.
I read about authors who write a book in a month and have it published in another month. There are, of course, authors who take years to write a book. There is no correct amount of time–it takes what it takes. My goal is to write three books per year. When Four Corners War is published later this year it will be my tenth book–in about 4 years. An average of 2.5 books a year. So close to my goal. The odd part is that I have had books take three or so months from start to finish and now with FNM has taken eleven months. The reason one book would be one thing and another book (with the same author and same team of people) would be so much longer is not very interesting. It’s not more complications and re-writes; it is mostly just delays, one-time disruptions–all easily described as life interfering with schedules. But it is frustrating.
No doubt none of this is very interesting; but since you are reading a blog about writing, I’m working on the assumption that your interested in the messy details of writing. When I say “team of people” this is mostly editors. No author should publish a book without the assistance of editors. It would be nice to just take the first draft and run with it–publish as is. That would be a mistake for the author and the reader. Editors have a great skill in helping authors reach the goal of writing the best book they can. They don’t rewrite the book but they make corrections, offer guidance and are a necessary element in producing a good book. In the case of FNM the first editor to work on the book was in the process of moving–which didn’t go exactly as planned and he was delayed in completing his part of the project. The editor towards the end of the process was also delayed by some miscommunication on my part. All in all it was anything that could go wrong did–the result was delays.
So now the book will be published next week almost a year from when I started writing.
Now the real champ for length of time from starting to publishing is Four Corners War. I’ve written before about my mental block regarding FCW. This is a book that I started in 2016–yep three years ago. I had zipped right through the first two Pacheco and Chino books and was all gung-ho to begin the third. Got about a fourth of the way into the book and a cloud developed. On that dark day I just stopped writing. My mind went blank. I didn’t know where the story was going–nothing felt right. It was writer’s block. I was frozen. Bottom line is that I didn’t write anything for almost a year. To try and break out of that slump I began to write a new series with a co-author; the “Murder” books with Stanley Nelson. In a relative short span of time we wrote three books. The spell was broken.
I returned to FCW and just recently finished the book–it will be published later this year. The total time for one of my books at three plus years hopefully is a bad record that I never break.