Writing Your First Book Takes Longer than You Think

Not finishing manuscripts by due date is one of the realities that all first-time authors must confront head on. They need to accept this so that they can counter it and take measures to either finish on time or let their publisher know the “real” date the book will be finished and delivered.  Even professional writers who pen for magazines, newspapers, professional journals, or any other media—other than books—underestimate the amount of time needed to finish a book.

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Why do first time authors get the timing so wrong?

I think it has a lot to do with the medium itself. Writing a book is obviously not the same as writing an article. The average business book contains more than 70,000 words. But length isn’t the only culprit.  Books must be carefully organized, strike the correct writing style and tone throughout, contain new, original material/research, and that’s just for starters. The other factor seldom talked about is the “connective tissue” that must be used throughout the book to hold the entire contraption together. That connective tissue must connect words to sentences, sentences to paragraphs, paragraphs to chapters, and so on.  It is this reality that trips up so many authors. They write great chapters but when they read the entire first draft is simply does not read like a single, cohesive work in which style and content flow smoothly.

To solve this—work with your agent, editor, or some other peer reviewer early on. Ask him or her to read early chapters and drafts and to be on the lookout for anything that might derail the book. Confronting these realities from the outset is the best way to ensure that you do not fall into the classic traps that trip up first-time authors.

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