Does it really take that long to write a book?

I was doing some work on my novel the other day and someone said to me,

‘what are you working on?’

So I replied, ‘my book.’

‘Oh, you’re writing another one?’

‘No.’ I said, confused.

‘What? You’re still working on the same book?’

I nodded.

‘Wow, writing a book takes a long time, doesn’t it!’

I just smiled.

See, I think, to someone who isn’t a writer (and I was guilty of this before I started writing), people think that you have an idea for a book and write it. Then send it off to a publisher and they print it. Simple.

And i’m not saying that it is something that everyone should know, because they don’t need to. They see a book on the shelf they like and they read it. But now, as a writer (?!?), I can see that there would’ve been months and months and months (sometimes even years and years) of hard work gone into the novel before it had reached the shelf.

The dreaded first draft which is a long and hard process, the first edit, the second edit, the third edit (see where i’m going with this…) many edits later you may send it off to get it appraised by a third party, then maybe a second appraisal, then maybe a third (ok, you get the idea) then you send it to a publisher, or an agent, then if you are lucky enough to be offered a contract there are months and months of further edits through the publishers, read through’s, front cover design (if you have any input in it) etc etc……it is still not on the shelf yet!

And I am only a first time writer who is yet to nab a contract, so I have probably missed out other stages along the way that even I am not aware of yet.

At a talk I went to a while back, one of the authors said to us all that once you get that all important contract with a publisher, it is at least a year, before that book will be on the shelf to buy. Some publishers may even be longer.

So you see, I have been writing this book since February of this year; nearly 11 months. I am not finished yet. I have done many drafts and edits and revisions, but the idea’s of things to add are still coming. I have had one appraisal done already and am working towards finishing this revision to hand over for my next appraisal. I don’t know how many I will need, to get this book right. But submitting to a publisher is a long and very scary process, so I am not going to do it until I feel my story is the best it can be. (And then the publisher is bound to give me lists of revisions to do again!)

But, I will do it. I am determined to do it, and if it takes me until next year, or the year after that, or the year after that (there’s a pattern with this post, isn’t there!) I will get this book published and I will see it on the shelves in bookstores, on my shelf at home and on Amazon!!

Well I hope so anyway…..

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