November 29, 2011

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

I have been asked this many times, so I decided to figure it out.

These are minimum times for me. Other authors may be slower or faster; it varies with the individual.
The rough draft takes me between 30 and 45 10-hour days, depending on the length of the book, which is approximately 300 to 460 hours.
The second draft takes me about thirty 8-hour days, times two authors, for approximately 480 hours.
The manuscript is sent out to beta readers. They are given two weeks to read, comment, and return it.
Combining the versions the readers send back takes approximately 4 hours.
The third draft takes about 14 8-hour days, times two authors, for approximately 224 hours.
Formatting the manuscript for ebook for the final edit takes about 5 hours.
The final edit takes about seven 8-hour days, for approximately 56 hours.
Making the final corrections in the manuscript takes between 2 and 3 8-hour days, for approximately 16 to 24 hours.
Creating the cover and adapting it for both print and ebook takes about 8 hours.
Formatting the finished manuscript for print takes 8 hours.
Formatting the finished manuscript for ebook takes 8 hours.
Writing a new web page and updating existing webpages to accommodate the new book takes about 3 hours.
Uploading the new webpages to my site and the book files to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Createspace takes about 4 hours.
Writing the blog post to announce the new book takes about an hour.
Posting the blog post and linking it to social media sites takes about an hour.

Total time: Somewhere between 1110 and 1278 hours.

If I was working a "desk job", the 9-5 = 8 hours, minus 30 min lunch and two 15 min "coffee" breaks, would be 7 hours work time per day.

1110 hours = 158.5 days, or 31 weeks, or 7 3/4 months.
1278 hours = 182.5 days, or 36 1/2 weeks, or nine months.

It takes most people one to three days to read my book.

No wonder authors compare the publishing process with sending a child out into the world. Keep in mind this process would take as much as two extra years if I had a publisher and an agent involved in the process.

Going back to the hypothetical desk job: if I made $10/hour, I would earn $1600 per month, or $14,400 in nine months. At a royalty rate that pays me approximately $2 per book, I have to sell 7,200 books to make an average of $10/hour over the nine months it took me (without salary) to create the book.

November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thursday is Thanksgiving. Time to stick the turkey in the sink where it will take two days to thaw, and to get ready for some football! Don't forget about the incredible shopping deals on Friday!


Although I do eat the "traditional" Turkey dinner, for me Thanksgiving is a time to spend extra time with my family, and to pause and reflect the things I am thankful for. I thought I'd list some of them here.

Marie's thankful for:

·         My parents. I would not be the same person I am today without the influence and love of my parents. I would also be homeless without them.
·         My daughter, whose huge, body-engulfing hugs keep me on an even keel.
·         Federal grants for education, without which I would not be attending school.
·         The talents the Lord gave me for imagining and writing stories.
·         My friends who encourage my efforts at school and writing.
·         My fans who enjoy and purchase my books, and support my writing habit.

Anne says, I could simply add a ditto to Marie’s list, but that may appear to be cheating just a bit; therefore, in addition to what she’s written, let me add:

·         Living in a country as free as ours is, with the education provided as a youth so I learned to read and write.
·         Having a choice about which religion I want to follow, and the freedom to do so.
·         The right and ability to vote, to choose people and policies to keep my country free.
·         Having the opportunity to work, so I can have a place to live, food to eat, clothing to wear and books to read.
·         Having the opportunity to serve others.
·         The chance to smile and say thanks to the people who serve me, including the harried cashiers at the stores I frequent. It costs nothing out of my pocket to give them a smile, read their badge so I can call them by name and say thanks to them for all they do for me.

~A M Jenner

November 15, 2011

You're Your Own Worst Enemy

One more pair of often abused homonyms: you're and your. Again, this is a contractual confusion.

The word "you're" is a contraction of "you" and "are". Smash them together until you get the apostrophe. "you are"; "youare"; "you're".

The word "your" is a possessive pronoun, meaning that the object in question belongs to you. Read the post on "it's" and "its" for a more detailed explanation. This is exactly the same mistake, except for the identity of the owner of the property in question.

Remember the difference by trading out the "you're / your" for the words "you are". If you're the owner of your book, you would not say, "You are the owner of you are book." The first "you are" makes sense, the second one doesn't; therefore you use the contraction in the first spot, and the possessive in the second spot. "You're the owner of your book."


November 08, 2011

The Nincompoop's Minion

Sometimes you can guess at a word's meaning by deconstructing it and seeing what roots it has in common with words you already know well. Beloved, for example means be + loved. (duh!). How often are you deconstructing words to compare roots? Use some of these in your life, and come back to tell us how much better (or not!) your love life is, compliments of

Cherish [cher-ish]

–verb (used with object)
1. To hold or treat as dear; feel love for: to cherish one's native land.
2. To care for tenderly; nurture: to cherish a child.
3. To cling fondly or inveterately to: to cherish a memory.

Beloved [bih-luhv-id, -luhvd] 

Greatly loved; dear to the heart.

Nincompoop [nin-kuhm-poop]

A fool or simpleton.

Minion [min-yuhn]


1. A servile follower or subordinate of a person in power.
2. A favored or highly regarded person.
3. A minor official.
4. Printing. A 7-point type.

You are cherished and beloved, my nincompoop of a minion.


November 01, 2011

It's its.

This pair of often abused and confused homonyms is one of my pet peeves.

The word "it's" is a contraction of "it" and "is". Remember what I said about contractions? Smush the word together until one or more of the letters collapses under its own weight and becomes the apostrophe. In this case, "it is" becomes "itis", then "it's".

The word "its" is a possessive pronoun. The object belongs to "it". In English, the pronoun "it" is used for objects without gender. This problem does not arise in Spanish, where everything has gender, but this blog is about the English language. If an object owns another object, then you use the possessive pronoun "its" to show that possession. For example, the tires belong to the car, so you could write, "The car spun the car's tires". However, the word car is used redundantly, so you’d want to write, "The car spun its tires." The word "its" is complete without an apostrophe. Never put one at the end to show possession; the word itself shows the possession.

How to remember which to use: Say the sentence out loud, replacing the "it's" or "its" with "it is". If it makes sense when you make the replacement, then you want the contraction with the apostrophe. If the replacement doesn't make sense, then you want the possessive pronoun without the apostrophe.

Going back to the car and tires, with the replacement phrase, you would say, "The car spun it is tires", which makes no sense, so you know you want to leave the apostrophe out and make it possessive. The tires belong to the car. However, you can safely use the contraction in the sentence "It's making a lot of smoke," because the replacement phrase makes sense there. "It is making a lot of smoke."

Either way you look at it, when the car spins its tires, it's making a lot of smoke.