How long does it take to write a book?

One of the most common questions people ask me is ‘How long will it take me to write a book?’

The short answer is ‘How long is a piece of string?’, but that’s not going to help you make a decision about whether to invest your time.

The truth is that how long it takes to write a book varies from person to person. But there are a few factors that will influence your writing speed, and considering each of them in turn will help you work out whether it’s a commitment you can make.

The length of the book

It goes without saying that the longer your book, the longer it will take you to write. But many authors start to write without setting a target, leaving them an open-ended goal and no end date in sight. Let’s consider how long your book needs to be.

When I work with a new author, we spend time at the beginning to think about the reader. How long does your reader want your book to be? How much time do they have to read it? Writing for child-free millennials with plenty of leisure time isn’t the same as writing for high-pressured sales teams who are constantly on the road.

One method I use to discover more about what readers want is to research other books in the genre. How long are they? What do the reviews say about them? If Amazon customers criticise a 300-page book for being too long, that’s a clue that there’s a gap in the market for a shorter book on the same subject.