24: Behind the Business: How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

I can hardly believe it, but the Pivot manuscript is DONE! D-O-N-E, done. It didn’t sink in until after I reviewed the copy edit and made my most recent round of changes. After I turned it in, my editor told me I wouldn’t be touching the Word file again. Huh?! Are you sure you don’t need me to take just oooooone more look? Says the perfectionist afraid to let go. Nope.

The next (and final) time I get to review the book, it will be printed on 11×17 pages for hand edits before the advance copies get printed, also known as galleys.

The relief started to sink in slowly, over several days, when I realized that for three years this project had taken up residence in a very large portion of my brain. Only when it was out of my consciousness did I realize how all-consuming it had been, churning in my sleep, my waking hours, my walks, and my showers.

In the last two weeks, everyday tasks have seemed easy again! Things like opening the mail and doing laundry that had piled up for weeks while I worked on the book. “Normal” work items that I could start and finish in one sitting, instead of three years. Incredible! And then, as I knew would happen, my system started to go into full-on shut down rest-and-recover mode. It was as if my body and mind could finally exhale, and I have been letting them take all the time they need before I turn the corner into marketing and book tour planning.

In today’s podcast I share more details about what went into writing the book, how I kept the drafts organized, and what comes next as we prepare to launch on September 6.

As for that gorgeous logo up top? It’s a sneak peek at the new Pivot brand assets, courtesy of ABC Design Lab! Full Pivot website coming soon 


  • Time since I first started seriously entertaining the idea of writing another book: 3 years, 3 months (January 2013)

  • Time spent working on the book proposal: 1 year; turned in a draft July 2013, then spent 9 months reflecting on my agent’s feedback and refining the idea before turning in a second draft in April 2014

  • Submitted proposal to publishers: September 2014

  • Landed the book deal: October 9, 2014 (my birthday!)

  • Total time writing and editing: 17 months. For an approximate tally of how many hours it took in this window, listen to today’s podcast!

  • Total revisions: 10 major drafts

  • Total words cut: ~70,000

  • Final word count: 73,565 (the goal was to keep it under 300 pages as a hardcover book)


  • How I organized the drafts of the manuscript to make sure I didn’t forget anything between drafts

  • Next steps: what it means to go to production

  • How many hours does it take to write a book? An estimation from RescueTime stats

  • Gremlins that enter at this stage

  • Moving on to marketing: how I will approach the next six months leading up to launch

  • Why I disagree with the critique that traditional publishing is too slow

  • Dealing with unexpected changes and how it forced me to live the book’s message


Press play on the embedded player below or listen on iTunesSoundCloud, or Overcast:


Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesAndroid or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review!