Plan your non fiction book #14 – How long it will take to write?

Working out how long it will take to write

I am often asked how long it will take to write a book. This of course depends on lots of variables… It mostly comes down to your commitment!

If you are writing an e-book then you are looking at 50-100 pages, where each page is approximately 350-400 words, which makes it roughly 20,000 to 30,000 words. If you are writing a traditional self-published book anything over 40,000 words. The number of words per page in a print book will differ, as you will be creating a book to a specific page size, e.g. 6×9 rather than A4.

  • Imagine your book is 20,000 words
  • How many words can you write in an hour? 500 or 1000?
  • How many words can you write per day? 1000, 2000 or 3000?
  • Will you write every day, or will you set a weekly target?

This is clearly not an exact science, but it will focus your mind on your writing outcomes. If you are the kind of person who goes into overwhelm when you see big numbers, focus on the small numbers, i.e. the number of words per hour or per day.

The process is:-

  • First draft (write, don’t edit)
  • First edit
  • Second and third edit
  • First print proof (I always do this step, even for a digital book)
  • Final edit
  • Proof-reader
  • Second print proof

I find reading as a ‘real’ book helps me to see it in another light. Once I have done my final edit, which I call my final proof, I will send it to the proof-reader, which normally takes about 2 weeks.

You may additionally send your proof books to beta-readers before the proof-reader gets it. Beta-readers are trusted friends and colleagues who will not only review it for you, but they will also point out any errors.

Timed tests

These tests are designed to help you find out how you work and how long, given the right ingredients, it will take you to write.

Test 1

Start by timing yourself for 30 minutes. Pick something that you are an expert in and just write. How many words can you type or write long-hand?

Test 2

This time you are going to write 500 words on one of the following:-

  • The role of water in weight loss
  • Why does hair turn grey?
  • Top ten foods to help you sleep.
  • A topic of your choice

no matter how busy you are, take the time to write. you could change your lifeWrite down your start time; carry on writing until the article is polished and ready for publication. (For the weekend trial, do this in 30 minutes if you can).

  • How long did it take you?
  • Now add 20% for interruptions, procrastination and other stuff
  • Did you remember to factor in planning, research and editing?
  • How much knowledge did you have before you started?
  • What process did you go through to undertake your research?

[Tweet ” Ask yourself when do you want to publish? How long will it take to write your book? What commitment will you make?”]

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Plan your non fiction book
Plan your non fiction book


Plan your non fiction book in a weekend has been designed to help you to be able to undertake all of the vital planning tasks that make writing a book – simple and stress free

Each day to help you create your book, I am going to answer these essential planning questions:-

  • What kind of planner am I and why is this important to know?
  • What tools and resources do I need?
  • What is the process and cost of writing and publishing a book?
  • How long will it take me?
  • How do I get ideas for my book?
  • How do I choose the ONE big idea for my book?
  • What is an outline and how do I create one?
  • How can I structure my chapters?
  • How do I create and use a book proposal?


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