How Long To Write Book? Answers: Part 4

Welcome back.

Our first guest author today is Jacqueline Seewald.

How long does it take to write a book? Not that long. It's the rewriting that takes forever.

In the case of the Inferno Collection, I got the original idea when I was taking a symposium at Rutgers in the library science program. The featured speaker was a Princeton librarian who was discussing inferno collections and how banned books were handled by librarians. I thought to myself that here was the perfect framework for a mystery novel.

Anyway, I ended up writing what I consider to be a unique novel. However, it was many years and a lot of rewrites before I actually sold it. I was delighted when Five Star/Gale published my novel in June 2007. And now it is coming out from Wheeler in a large print edition in September 2008, this very month!

Sharon Ervin

Sharon is the author of Murder Aboard the Choctaw Gambler, released in 2008, and six other published novels. Our four children were still at home when I wrote my first novel. In order not to neglect husband or kids, I limited my writing to from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m., six days a week. The first draft took three months and was 378 pages of brilliant prose. Polishing ... continues. The problem is, writing is a learning process. Each new discovery has to be incorporated into an old manuscript. Twenty-six years later, I'm still learning.

I once asked Jack Bickam, author and writing teacher extraordinaire, when he knew a book was complete. He said he never felt certain. As he drove to the post office with the final draft of the Apple Dumplin' Gang, he was mentally revising, almost turned the car around to rework a scene. A glance at the ready-to-ship manuscript prodded him to mail it, regardless. He advised that an author make a book as perfect as possible, then bite the bullet and send it.

That first "brilliant prose" I wrote never sold. Happily, others did.


  1. I would do that. I'd be ready to submit and then go edit. I've done it with short stories... I don't think a book will ever be perfect if you write it yourself.

  2. What one may consider imperfect may be perfect to another.

    Happy Hurricane everybody!