Is Your Book Done Yet? (Part 2)

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that question… well, I’d have made more money that I’ve done self-publishing so far (Ha. Ha. But that’s a topic for another blog post). But, seriously, how long does it really take to write a book? Check out PART 1 or PART 3 of the three part series.

Comments from Part 1 of this blog post series asked about writing vs. editing time. As a new writer, I had no idea how long it took to polish a novel once it was written. What was really eye-opening to me is how quickly I can put words down on a page and call it a novel. The real magic happens with rewriting and edits. One of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton has said, “Books are not written–they’re rewritten.”

Here’s the real timeline breakdown of Love, Lies & Clones.

  • February/March–Wrote “Draft Zero” which was a 50,000 word ROUGH, ROUGH draft of the novel.
  • April–Camp NaNoWriMo Project–First round of edits/revisions to try to have it grow from 50K to 80K.
  • May/June–Two rounds of beta readers and edits.
  • July–Put this novel away. Wrote Blood & Holy Water for Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • August/September–Another round of beta readers.
  • October–Editor/Prep for Kindle Scout
  • November–Kindle Scout Campaign. I read through the novel one more time, and still caught issues! (And I attempted to win NaNoWriMo with another novel.)
  • December–Published! Horary!

How about other self-published authors? 

Today’s Spotlight: Mystery / Thriller / Crime Authors

Note: You can CLICK any book cover below to learn more. You may find your next novel to read!

QUESTION: How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?

The Olympus KillerThe Church MurdersDeath of a BrideLuke Christodoulou: I give myself a year for each book. I finish earlier than that though, giving plenty of time for the book to go to my editor and for my proofreaders to provide feedback.

A Jar of Thursday

The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes A House of MirrorsLiz Hedgecock: I write the first draft quite quickly, but I’m pretty thorough in the edit. I wrote the draft of A House Of Mirrors in 6 weeks, then put it away for 6 months, and took a month to edit it.

The SplitWarriors

Carey Lewis: It takes me about a month, and that includes research and two rounds of edits on the manuscript. Then I’ll put it away for a couple of weeks and give it another couple of edits with fresh eyes.

The Adoption

Greg Merritt: About 8 months.

How much of your time is devoted to writing opposed to editing/rewriting?

Please post in the comments.


  1. Again, great post, I think I’m beginning to stalk your blog… I’m curious about the concept of Beta Readers, how do you source them? What type of feedback do they give? Sorry for the rooky question!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Beta readers is tricky. I wrote a blog post about it awhile ago now, but since then, I have a new feeling on them. (Ha, You’ve given me another idea for a blog post) I found all my beta readers through (as I write sci-fi/fantasy, this site’s perfect for that), good reads (there’s a beta reader group) and posting a request on this blog. I put a lot of my own sweat in. You read mine, I’ll read yours. I think I got very critical feedback because of this though–some of my betas weren’t necessarily interested in my book, more like having their own stuff critiqued. Now, I have a small circle of people I can ask–people who enjoy my writing a little more than those first betas I had. We’ll see. I’m still relatively new in this.

      They give me a lot of feedback on what they don’t believe, point out when my characters act out-of-character, a little grammer, stuff they don’t like, etc. It depends on the level of feedback. A critique is more indept a simple beta read is more high-level.

      Yup, I’m definitely going to write another blog on the topic. Keep stalking me and you’ll find it!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No, I’ve never paid for them. I do exchanges though. I’ll read yours and you read mine. (Through Goodreads and Scribophile) I’ve also asked on my blog and been successful. If you need more direction, please shoot me a message through the “contact me” page of my site and I’d be happy to answer all the questions you have. I can send you more specific links if you need them too. (Though, maybe paying someone would be the easiest way to get this done? Especially if you’re just starting out.)

          Liked by 1 person

      1. I asked my blog readers if anyone would be interested in being a beta reader for my debut novel, Whit’s End. I got a few takers. I’ll probably do that again with my next one.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I spend less time editing than I do actually writing. But my editing process mostly revolves around me going “eurgh Laura why did you do that?!?!?”

    Saying that…editing happens up to three times for me. I could never just be happy with passes one and two!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Three times only??? Wow! You amaze me. Not only can you write quite a few books in a year, you have the process down. (Plus, I’m reading your book and it’s really well done–your system seems to be working really well.)


  3. I have to agree with you about the nickle thing; I would have more money than I could handle. My friends know that I’m an author (and it’s what my blog is about) but they don’t know that editing the book comes with writing it. Yes, I can finish a book in a couple months, but then I have to reread it several times to make it perfect. And sometimes I find myself rewriting the whole thing. Being an author is exhausting, but it’s worth it in the end. 🙂 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, you’ve got a schedule on how you wrote your novel. I stopped and started my first novel so many times, I lost count. In my defense, I had some family hardships along the way that needed attending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only have the schedule because I’ve been blogging about it! I think my November NaNo Project will be similar to your timeline. I feel that book needs a lot of work and I need a little break from it. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL. I’m teaching a class at a cooperative school called Nano to Publish. And all the kids and some of their parents were like if the class goes all year why do they have to be done writing in November. Um, cause I need the next 6 months to help them turn it into something worth reading. No seriously. No one believes me. sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. With only two published novels, I can’t give a specific answer. I think each novel will have it’s own needs, so I can only say what I’ve noticed. It took me 6 months to write and another 6 months to edit the first two books. Mostly, I got in my own way and I hope I can learn and improve on it for book two. I dare say that the answers to these questions will be constantly evolving ones as we grow into our craft.

    Liked by 1 person

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