Once in a while, I’ll get a question on when my next book will come out. Unless I have finished the first draft, I can’t pinpoint exactly when it’ll be available. Take Runaway Bride and His Abducted Bride as examples. I’m only on chapter 4 for both of them. That is under 10,000 words. My average book is between 65,000 to 70,000 words. That means I have about 55,000 to 60,000 words to go if I am going to hit that 65,000 or 70,000 target.
Now, throw in real life. I’m a wife, mother, and friend. I have to juggle keeping my romance with my husband going (even after 12 years of marriage, we still date). I have to help the kids with schoolwork, keep in communication with their teachers, spend time with my kids before they get to be “too cool” to be seen with me, and I have one who is deaf who requires more assistance with learning how to write and read so the world can communicate with him. (Yes, we’re learning sign language, but the general population doesn’t know signs, so my focus is on helping him learn to read and write.) And I like spending time with my friends, whether it’s talking on the phone, eating out, or going to conferences with them.
Then there’s stressors that pop up here and there. Currently, we’re in the process of getting our old house ready for the next owners. Moving is a huge creativity drain. I haven’t been writing lately because I’m too busy getting things organized with painting and carpeting the house. Cleaning up the place comes after that. And, to boot, I have to find a way to occupy four very energetic boys while this is going on. Lately, all I’ve been doing is reading because when I’ve tried to write, my mind goes blank. I might get in 50 or 100 words, but that is barely making a mark in the word count goals. In November, my kids and I all got so sick we spent two weeks doing nothing, and I did no writing during that time either. It’s stuff like that which pops up and sets all the writing projects on the back burner.
So I can’t tell anyone when Runaway Bride or His Abducted Bride will be out. I have estimated late winter/early spring (which is March through May). But I can’t narrow it down from there. What I can do is say that A Most Unsuitable Earl will be on Barnes and Noble and Amazon around the first of January, but I already have that one finished up. When I have a book finished up, the only stuff I have left on it is surface work. I’m done writing or rewriting. All I’m doing is polishing it up with the help of my editing team.
On a good day, I can write 2500 words a day. On average, I end up doing 1500 to 2000 words a day. On a bad day, I barely get anything written. So if everything is going extremely well, I can have the first draft of a book done in 1.5 months. If not, then it can take 3-4 months to get the first draft done. Then there’s another month for editing, and I have to work with other people’s schedules, so it can be two months. There are many unknowns that I can’t control.
When I’m moving or on vacation, I put a hold on writing. I understand it seems like writing doesn’t require much work, but it is (at least if you want to write a book that reflects your best effort). I strive to make every book I write better than the one I wrote before. I don’t want my next book to end up being a “Whatever happened to Ruth’s writing? It’s like someone else came in and wrote the book for her.” I’ve seen those reviews on popular books (by authors who are big names in the business). I self-publish to keep my voice fresh and my stories engaging.
The worst thing that can happen to an author (in my opinion) is to write a “blah” kind of book. I want every book I write to be one in which I need to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. If I can stay focused on my story, then I know it’s worth writing. If I stall out and things drag, I quit writing it. I hate sagging middles when I read, and I refuse to have them when I write. So if I need to take more time because the creativity is not flowing, I’ll halt the writing until the creative spark is back.
So anyway, that’s a long way of explaining why I can’t pinpoint when I’ll publish my next book if it’s a book I’m currently writing. I do, however, have a widget to the right side on this blog where you can sign up to be notified when I have a new release out. I have to wait until the book is live on Amazon and Barnes and Noble before I send it out, but when the book is up on those sites, I will let you know. And I will only email you when the book is released. 😀