I have written drafts for four novels and a novella for my Gold Rush series. Two are published, and a third is in the editing process with my publisher (Prism Book Group) now. One thing I’ve learned is that every book or project is a little different. Like many things, generalizations about writing are just that, and each experience varies.
My first novel in the series, Fools Gold, was started in 2006 and published in 2013. Like I said, it was my first, and it took many years to learn how to write a novel (with some time off–I didn’t work on it the whole time). Many rounds of critiques and revisions, over time, helped turn it into a book that a publisher might be interested in. Then, once the publisher got involved, it took three rounds with a content editor and two with the editor-in-chief to get it ready for publication. Those rounds were important for the book and for me as a newbie author; I believe they made the book stronger and I learned a lot about writing.
The novella Worth Her Weight in Gold, started as a short story prequel for Fools Gold that I suggested might work as a freebie on the website. It took me about three months to research, then I set it down for a while, and took a few weeks to write the short story. One of my writing groups critiqued it, and I revised before sending it in. The content editor read it and said, no, this should be a novella, could you rewrite it? I said, sure, I’ll give it a try. I expanded it from about 800 words to about 10,000 words in about five days. Then we ran it through three rounds of editing before it was ready for publication. (Notice that’s fewer rounds than the first one--hopefully that means my writing had improved, but maybe the novella was just shorter and easier to work with.)
Now we’re in the midst of editing the second novel, Quicksilver to Gold. That one took me about two years to research, critique, and write to final draft. My content editor is working with me on it now, and I expect it’ll go through a few rounds but we’ll see how things work out.
My point is that I can’t tell you exactly how much time it takes me to write a book, because each one varied. I got faster compared to the first book, but each one took a different mix of research, writing, critiquing, and editing. Some I set down for months or years, then refined before I got the contract. I had the advantage of building my craft over time before I found a publisher, so I had manuscripts ready to submit as a series, when many writers submit single titles. Another quirky detail: I have had one editor-in-chief but three different content editors so far, so even within the same publisher things vary. Each author probably has a different experience to share, maybe for each book.
My advice to newbie writers is to listen to others and glean any advice or ideas that help you, then throw out the rest. Don’t expect your writing experience to match anyone else’s, because each writer’s journey, and each book, is different. You’re unique, and that’s okay. Celebrate those differences!
Featured author Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. She taught English for 20 years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys reading, hanging out with friends and family, and hitting targets with a cowboy action shooting club. Her young adult historical romances are set in the Alaska Gold Rush, a great time for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.