Patience is not a virtue I have in abundance. So, take my impatient nature into account when I stress how important it is to take our time when writing and publishing a full book. For example, my first book, though filled with great takeaways, was rushed because of my impatience and will eventually need a rewrite. It was rushed, and yet, I took a year and a half to write it.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I twitch at online ads for programs that promise you can write your book in a month or on a weekend retreat. No. You can’t. At best, you can write a 15-page free report or 25-page eBook that you put on Amazon sharing tips or some of your industry wisdom. That is not what I mean by writing a full book. A full book is Love Warrior, Daring Greatly, Big Magic, and Starting with Why. It is the books you find on Oprah’s Book Club and books on the NYT Bestsellers List.
I am purposefully making the argument to take our time writing a book during NaNoWriMo as so many people take on the adventure of writing a novel in November. I have played along in the past. It’s fun, it offers community, which is nice in an otherwise lonely profession, and it offers a challenge. But anything that gets written in NaNoWriMo is a first draft, and a first draft does not a book make. Writing is rewriting.
Here are some of the elements that are at stake when you rush your writing:
Quality of the Story
A good story has great characters, developed scenes and interesting plot turns. It takes time to develop a good story either before you start writing or by making changes to strengthen things if you follow an outline. If you rush through the storytelling, the book’s scenery, dialogue, character development, their motivation, and the conflict might be missing or weak.
Quality of the Writing
Yes, you will have an editor. No, you don’t have to be a grammar queen to write a book. And, there is much more to quality writing than sentence structure and knowing the difference between there, their and they’re. Writing well includes finding your writer’s voice, knowing how to include the reader, forming a clear argument and including a takeaway. Quality writing is developed through practice and in the rewriting of drafts two to five.
Marketing Lead Time
One of the key differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing is the time it takes for the book to be published. One of the reasons it takes so long for a traditionally published book to make it to bookshelves is because there is a whole marketing machine at work in the background. If your intention is to self-publish solely because it’s faster, you may want to find some middle ground and take your time to market your book properly. You don’t want to invest a ton of time and money and rush the publication without anyone knowing your book exists and that they should buy it.
Not so much if you are writing a fiction novel, though sometimes my ego needs tending to, this particularly applies to non-fiction based on your life’s work. Whether you are writing a memoir or a self-help book that explores how you came to be an expert on a particular subject, you can’t rush past the personal healing that is bound to surface. Take your time to revisit past wounds or reconcile past mistakes that taught you how to be the expert you are today. Your book will be much better for it.
My best advice to all my clients is to expect it to take eight months to a year to write a full book. If you plan to submit a partial manuscript with a book proposal to a traditional publisher, you can expect it to take three months. While I highly recommend my writing retreat in the mountains, I can assure you there are no promises of writing a full book while you’re there.
Get your book ideas down on paper today by downloading your free Outline eBook.