As someone who has written or contributed to 16 book projects, people often seek me out to solicit advice on writing a book. More often than not, the conversation begins “I think I would like to write a book about … (fill in your own obscure technology) because I really know a lot about it…” They then begin to describe how much they know about their obscure technology.
The problem is that people have never written a book have no idea of the timeline that is involved. Here is an example from my most recent book, Windows PowerShell 2.0 Best Practices:
This does not account for the fact that while in the writing phase, I generally have a deadline of some kind every week. This means I have to work every night, every weekend … for a year. Once I begin to explain this to people they generally change their mind. Over the last decade I have counseled more than two dozen prospective writers … to date … they are still prospective writers.
Writing a book is indeed requires a lot of time. But I didn't realize that it takes a year or so to finish one book.
If I were to write a book, I don't think I will ever finish it because I have a little patience.
For a person like you Mr Ed Wilson, writing a book is indeed your passion and so with other wonderful writers. I am so amazed on those kind of persons because they can collate their ideas and not just mere ideas but outstanding ideas.
Thats how long some big, complex books take. Of course some other books, even tech/non-fiction can be turned out in just a few months. It depends on how much time the writer is willing to pour into it, how much editing/review etc is going on.
Obviously something as complex as PS 2.0, requiring lots of close edits to ensure accuracy, is going to take a long time.
As someone who has written lots and lots of books ;-), just want to add that calendar time can be deceptive. Completing a book in a few months, doesn't mean the writer hasn't put forth their best effort. Typically, I work 80+ hours a week at the craft of writing. That's 12 hours most days and I do it 7 days a week. The most important ingredient for success: passion. You really have to love it!
Have to agree with Will - every writer takes a different amount of time depending on the amount of hours they can throw at the writing process.
Thanks for the Information Ed, but can ask you how much do you get paid for writing a book which takes one year.