Analysis of Writing Speed

Writing penFor the writers out there, I thought I’d put together a post on a recent analysis I did on my writing speed. For the past couple of years, I’ve been working hard on the systems I use to write a book. I’ve been trying to boost the speed I can write and publish books, along with improving their quality.

However, in my previous analysis of my writing, I’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on how fast I write and not how fast I publish. It sounds like the two should be related, but they’re not directly.

I’ve published 12 books so far, but for this analysis I eliminated the first two because I wasn’t tracking things properly on them. I can guess at the pre-tracking figures, but I hadn’t worked out my process properly by them anyway, so it won’t be all that relevant.

Instead, I took all my solo books and divided the amount of words published by the hours it took me to write them. That gave me this table:

The Bite of Monsters 799
The Bite of the Cult 605
Hard Vacuum 1 474
Anonymous 824
The Bite of Justice 446
The Bite of Death 544
Hard Vacuum 2 414
The Bite of Forest Dark 611
The Bite of Rust 766
The Bite of a King 746

The higher the number, the better, as it shows the amount of words published per hour of work. First draft words average over 2,500 words per hour, but that doesn’t count as much as the final published tally.

What it shows is that enthusiasm has a massive influence on my publishing speed. The Bite of Monsters was the second book I published, a novella. It was soon after I’d published my first ever book and had gotten positive reviews. So my enthusiasm was sky high.

I should mention, before delving deeper, that the enthusiasm and the efficiency have nothing to do with the finished book. Part of the reason books I’m less enthusiastic about take longer, is that I spend longer getting them up to my standards for publishing. The figures above have no reflection in the ratings on Amazon or Goodreads.

Also, when I talk about my enthusiasm being sky high, I mean that it was all-consuming to an unhealthy level. You can’t write every second you’re awake for years at a time.

The Bite of Cult dips a little, since the first rush of positive reviews had worn off. Then Hard Vacuum 1 was another dip. I enjoyed writing those books, but I wasn’t tearing through them.

My speed doubled for the Anonymous title there. Anonymous is just the substitute title I’ve put here for my erotica novella. It was an experiment to dip my toe in the world of erotica. To date, it’s sold three copies in nearly two years. So it’s not profitable, but it was fast to write.

However, after that book is where it gets interesting. Since the tearing rush of writing and publishing for the first time had well and truly worn off, I then started really narrowing in on systems that would make writing faster. From The Bite of Death onward, the figures keep climbing (and hopefully will continue to climb).

So what does all this mean? Well, in my opinion, being in a tearing hurry to get things published can help a great deal in publishing speed initially. However, you can’t maintain that overwhelming urgency forever and that’s when skill and precision come in.


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2 thoughts on “Analysis of Writing Speed

  1. Great post. I know how you feel regarding writing. My enthusiasm for Hopper House was rock bottom for the longest time, so I spent a lot of time bringing it up to my publishing standards. I’m sort of bummed that it took so long. I definitely wanna get my word count up higher, but really I just want to publish quality books faster.

    Erotica: did you give it your all? I’ve heard it can be quite profitable. There’s a lady who wrote 100 erotica books in a year and was doing pretty good. She was interviewed on Jim Kukral’s show — the author marketing podcast, not the sell more books show. Very interesting. I’ve considered giving it a try, writing a 3 book set or something (somewhere in the 20-25k range). I’d publish it under my pen name: Simon Kantan πŸ™‚

    • Yeah, and what you say proves my point. You can make a quality book without enthusiasm. The question is whether you want to πŸ™‚

      On erotica, I gave it my best shot. I ran into two problems. The first is that erotica is sectioned off these days, so it doesn’t appear on searches. Which makes discoverability difficult.

      The second problem, a little more difficult to get around, is that I’m the wrong gender. What I mean is that women prefer reading erotica written by other women. My wife read my novella and said, “You can tell it’s written by a man.”

      Since I never intended it to be my primary focus, I decided to just let it sit there on its own. I still think it’s a good book, but I’m not going to worry about it not selling.

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