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Just How Long Does It Take to Write a Book?

The question of how long does it take to write a book is a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string?” or “how much is a car?” The answer varies enormously. Some authors have a process that allows them to write books on a regular basis. Other authors take years to write their books. That said, there’s no real excuse other than procrastination for not getting your book written in short order. It comes down to planning and discipline.

1. Decide your topic

This may sound self-evident but it’s ignored a lot of the time. You can’t progress on writing your book if you don’t know what it will be about. This applies equally to fiction and non-fiction.

If you haven’t already decided your topic then take some time to hone this. It could be an area you’re interested in, it could be your area of expertise or it could even be an area that you’ve researched that you think will turn you into a best selling author.

Just make sure that you’re comfortable with writing about the topic, especially if this will be your first book.

2. Do your research

This is a critical stage of your book writing.

It takes time to do research but you shouldn’t let it drag on forever.

I suggest that you approach your research in two stages:

  • Get a broad overview of your topic. Think of this as the potential chapter titles in your book – it’s a very broad brush approach so it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours (maybe less) to come up with around a dozen chapter ideas for your book.
  • Research each potential chapter. This is a drill down stage where you go into each chapter area in depth and decide what you will cover within the chapter. Aim for around 10 to 12 sub-topics to cover within each chapter.

Keep your research organised. I prefer to use a spreadsheet for this as I find it easier to move rows around in that rather than copy and paste within Word but it’s more a case of what you feel most comfortable with. Don’t let the format of your research be a reason to procrastinate!

3. Start writing

I may be stating the obvious but this is really critical!

If you don’t start writing, your book won’t get completed.

A lot of people get hung up about writing and think that they need to spend hours in front of a keyboard but that’s not necessarily compulsory. Personally, I prefer to use a word processor but I’m old fashioned like that (I still remember the first electric typewriter that I bought).

Recent versions of Windows come with a built-in speech to text program or you can buy a commercial one. That will act as a real time dictation system that translates what you speak onto your computer.

Alternatively you can just record what you want to write and pay someone to transcribe it – there are sites like Fiverr that will do this and will transcribe around ten minutes of speech for $5. This allows you to get your book written in bite sized chunks which can be an excellent way to push yourself to complete your project.

4. Edit your book

Editing uses a different part of your mind so is best done separately from writing.

The best option is to use a professional editor. But if you can’t afford an editor the next best option is to leave your writing for a few days and then go back to it yourself to perform the editing task.

Read your work out loud – any errors will leap out at you that way – and adjust your words as necessary.

5. Self publish

A lot of potential authors think that they have to send their manuscript to a number of publishing houses and wait for them to accept their new book.

That used to be the case a few years ago but nowadays a large number of books are self published which is simple to do with programs such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system where publishing your book is a matter of uploading your Word document, a cover image and a few other things and then waiting around a day for the book to be published electronically on Kindle.

If you want to produce a physical book – and I’d suggest that you do this as well as a Kindle version – then again all you need to do is turn to Amazon, this time their CreateSpace shop. You need to save your new book in PDF format, which is easily done in newer versions of Word or from rival word processors such as Libre Office. Once that’s done, you get a cover created and CreateSpace takes care of the rest. Your books are only printed when someone places an order yet the quality of the printing is no different from a regular mass produced paperback.

Source by Martin Woodchild

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