How Long Did it Take You?

One of the most common questions I get about writing novels is: How long does it take you to write a whole novel? If you don’t count all the subsequent drafts and edits and only count the months it took to finish a first draft, then the answer appears to be nine months. At least for my latest novel, Starforgers.

The only thing on my plate in the past nine months was the final edits for Tyrmia, which were being wrapped up when I started writing. So the nine months guess is pretty close. That does not include the time it took to hash out the initial outline. It looks like that took about a month to write up for Starforgers.

There were periods of time, a month I believe, where I didn’t write anything. I should take a look at my Dropbox folder and see where the gaps were. I renamed the document every day that I wrote it. Mmmm, let me check that. Hold the blog. Okay, looks like the only month I wrote nothing was in January of this year. So revise that to eight months to write Starforgers. I actually wrote only eighty-four different days out of that eight month period. Pretty lame. What the heck was I doing? Let’s see, that’s about eleven days per month that I actually wrote anything on the novel. Again, weak.

Let’s break it down some more.

June 2011 – 11 Days

May 2011 – 13 Days

Apr 2011 –  18 Days

Mar 2011 – 19 Days

Feb 2011 – 5 days

Jan 2011 –  None

Dec 2010 – 6 Days

Nov 2010 – 5 Days

Oct 2010 – 7 Days

I’m amazed that I was able to write in December, but not in January. Looks like the bulk of the novel was written in four months. So I wrote the whole book in just 84 days, or a bit under 3 month’s time. Those of you who follow this blog, know that I’m heavily involved in my two son’s baseball season. April, May and part of June are the busiest months of the year for me and low and behold, that’s when I wrote the bulk of the novel.

I wish I could diff the files in Dropbox. Then I could figure out how much I actually wrote each day. As it is, I’m just not that curious. So I guess that’s as far as my breaking down the numbers will go. Kind of interesting I’d say. June was my deadline for finishing the first draft. Maybe I should have made it sooner.


Kindle Sales Numbers

In keeping with my blatantly open policy, here are the numbers for all three of my Kindle books for the past two months. Starstrikers and Null_Pointer are selling for $.99 and TFO is selling for $2.99.


  • Starstrikers:  193
  • Tales From Ocherva: 7
  • Null_Pointer: 3


  • Starstrikers: 197
  • Tales From Ocherva: 1
  • Null_Pointer: 5

For some perspective, here are the numbers for Starstrikers since January of 2010.

  1. January:          4
  2. February:     37
  3. March:         232
  4. April:            275
  5. May:              225
  6. June:            193
  7. July:             197

That’s over a thousand e-books in the last five months. Not exactly J.A. Konrath’s numbers but it also doesn’t suck. The question now becomes, do I raise the cover price  and take advantage of the 70% royalties or keep it at $.99 cents and let it ride? I’m leaning towards raising the price in order to establish credibility more than to seek higher earnings. I think the new best price for e-books is anything under $5.00. Exactly where to set the new price is up in the air for me right now.

The other danger is of course, losing the impulse buyers who are more willing to try out an unknown author like myself if the price is low. But since this is really just mad money and not a living, there is no real danger in experimenting with the price.

The most interesting bit about the numbers above is the total lack of attention that buyers have for a second SF book set in the same universe as Starstrikers.  What this tells me is that I’m failing to get fans and can only muster impulse buys. Perhaps raising the price of Starstrikers will help that effort. Also, a new cover for TFO will debut soon that brands it as being in the Starstrikers Universe.

Another SF book set in the Starstrikers Universe will debut on Kindle this fall. Tyrmia is less a traditional Space Opera and more of a Planetary Romance. So again, not exactly appealing to the core audience of Starstrikers, who like it when stuff blows up. Tyrmia will start at the $2.99 price point as will the prequel to Starstrikers, Starforgers when it comes out fall of 2011.

Shell Shocked Android

Can a robot/android suffer Post Dramatic Stress Syndrome? That is the case with 347, the android belonging to the main character in Starforgers. Devon is forced to leave 347 on the remote moon where she was stationed as a Stellar Ranger, when she joins the Star Force. 347 witnesses the death of everyone on the moon when the bad guys invade. It records the death of Devon’s boyfriend and in the process becomes disturbed by the situation.

347 starts to behave erratically and eventually winds up trying to do harm to humans during a key piece of testimony it gives before the Senate on the home word. I want to have some fun with this and sort of combine psychology with my knowledge of programming and see if we can get the android to experience a bit shift for the worst. In a nod to Asimov, my android will wig out and allow harm to come to someone.

347 actually recorded Devon’s boyfriend getting blown away right in front of his visual receptors. The droid actually has caked brain goo on it’s head casing. Something about the explosion combined with the trauma, flips some bits in his main routine and he starts to loose it.