I have a client who wants her book done by the end of next month. We started around the first of February. She wants it as a birthday present. She is highly accomplished in many areas of her life and career and has never authored a book. How can you write and publish a book in less than two months?
https://charlesngo.com/save-time-through-systems-thinking/ We have all heard that having a system allows things to happen faster, with more consistency, and most importantly, meet the requirements specified.
I worked in the Quality Assurance field for twenty years for companies like Memorex, National Semiconductor, Halliburton, and others. I would always ask this question to a person interviewing for a job, “Define quality!” Few people could briefly answer that question with all the engineers and managers in the quality field for years. The answer is no more than ‘meeting requirements.’
What are the requirements for a book?
https://booksmakeadifference.com/bookgood/#:~:text=A%20good%20book%20is%20one,reader%20on%20a%20compelling%20journey.&text=If%20a%20book%20is%20written,a%20difference%20in%20his%20life. Success as a book depends on the purpose of the book. If you do not know your book’s purpose, how do you know it is a good book worthy of your name and value to help readers?
A good book entertains or educates the reader. Most good books have stories interwoven to break up the ‘how to’ and ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the text. The bottom line is that the reader gains value from the book that can make a difference in life.
How can an author, or new writer, complete a book in a short time and still meet the book’s requirements?
https://self-publishingschool.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-write-a-book/ and https://www.kmweiland.com/your-questions-answered-what-is-the-hardest-part-of-a-book-to-write/ Going by the published norms, a 100-page book is about 30,000 words and should take about two to four months to write. The most challenging part is starting. Another tricky part is to keep writing. To me, the most time-consuming and challenging aspect of writing a book is the editing and proofing.
Once the author has finished writing, the process can take weeks or months to be published.
https://www.clearlingo.co.nz/blog/how-long-does-it-take-to-edit-a-book This link tells us that a developmental editor can do one to five pages an hour with a standard page of 250 words. Assuming a thousand words in one hour for this type of editing, it could take 30 hours. A clean manuscript worthy of publishing should include the extra time for editing and proofing. Revisions and redrafts, and more can easily make this process last a month or longer.
Not all books (or authors) need a developmental author to help with the overall structure, plot/character development, and more. A copy editor meets most of the editing requirements for nonfiction. Copy editors can do up to ten pages an hour. That would be ten hours for a copy editor and probably about the same for a proofreader.
Authors have many options to minimize editing and proofing. Microsoft Word can provide rudimentary spelling and grammar assessment. What I like about Microsoft Word is the ‘Read Aloud Speech’ option on the Review tab. I can listen and watch the cursor simultaneously as my text is being read aloud to me. I have often reviewed my work and believe it is correct only to hear something that does not sound right. I find out that it is an error that I caught by listening rather than reading.
Another option is Grammarly. The paid version is exceptional for catching most grammatical errors. It is not 100%, but close. I write technical nonfiction. Invitations are sent to a dozen people (pre-COVID) to join me for wine and snacks over two days. Random copies of my chapters are distributed to each person. They mark my chapters with red marks on the areas that need attention (does not sound right, cannot understand something, lacks clarity, etc.).
Beta readers help many authors with editing and proofing. Send your chapters to specific people electronically for feedback. Do not overload the person with too many pages. Proofing and editing by the author reduce time and money.
What if you could eliminate the editing? Yes, it is possible. This topic is on my schedule to write shortly. I have a process that my client and I are using that will eliminate 95+% of the editing. Total time to edit is compressed to a few days at most.
When editing is reduced or eliminated, starting and keeping on the schedule are the two remaining hurdles to overcome. When we choose a topic that we are passionate about, the writing is effortless. There is no struggle. Likewise, the continuity of writing flows. Accountability keeps it on schedule.
My client and I started talking less than two weeks ago. We spent one session talking about what she wanted her book to be. Her current book, with one chapter written, was put on hold. We agreed on an outline around the first of February.
Will this book be 100 pages? I do not know. Neither does she. I believe her book will be completed in the next two weeks with 90% confidence and 100% confidence within three weeks. With editing, there is enough time to ensure cover art and other requirements are met to have the book available to the public by her birthday at the end of March.
Writing is relatively easy when you know your topic well. Eliminate editing and the process of writing and publishing becomes simple. Over the following few articles, I will discuss other aspects of compressing the book writing to a weekend or two.
Live Longer & Enjoy! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com