Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Book By the Numbers

Writing is such a piecemeal process. It's always kind of fun for me to think about a book in the big picture sense of things.
Here's the (numerical) story of my newest verse novel, BLUE BIRDS, so far:

first idea: 2008
research began: 2010
writing began: 2011
book sold: 2013
publication: 2015

number of research books read completely: 9 (reading some several times)
number of research books read partially: 4
number of websites visited: 1 zillion
number of months researching: approximately 9
number of printed / partially printed copies: 9
number of early readers: 13
number of drafts before selling: 1 zillion + 2
number of editor rejections: 7
number of poems in sold manuscript: 224
number of words in sold manuscript (excluding the author's note): 18,125
number of weeks to work on first-round edits: 10*
number of hours worked on first-round edits: 141.5
number of poems after first-round edits: 207
number of words after first-round edits (excluding author's note): 19,632
number of words added the first 8 weeks of first-round edits (excluding author's note): 3,551
number of words cut the last two weeks of first-round edits (excluding author's note): 2,044

number of weeks to work on second-round edits: 8
number of hours words on second-round edits: 107.75
number of holidays during second-round edits: 2
number of library visits during second-round edits: 1
number of school visits during second-round edits: 1
number of Skype visits during second-round edits: 2
number of days I wore a strand of pearls during second-round edits (to connect with my characters): 21

number of weeks to work on third-round edits: 4
number of hours on third-round edits so far: 44.75
number of times I've been sure I've "broken" the book: 2,305,491
number of times I've talked with my editor since receiving my third-round edits: 2
number of emails I've sent my editor since receiving my third-round edits: 6
number of days from now third-round edits are due: 10

number of days I'm grateful I don't have to get it right the first time: EVERY SINGLE DAY

*during those ten weeks, I also worked on the following:
  • fiction and non-fiction pieces to accompany an anthology proposal: 5 hours
  • "back matter" for my 2015 picture book, OVER IN THE WETLANDS : 10 hours


  1. It is amazing how you have quantified everything, especially the number of drafts. :-)
    Can't wait to see Blue Birds in print!!

    1. If I could only figure out this last round of edits...! ;)

  2. Okay, so I am geeking out over this. I love that you've tracked everything and now I want to do the same. But all I know for know is that I'm in the middle of revision 3, too - due Monday - wishing us both many good writing hours in the next week. xo M

    1. Some of this I had to look up, but for some reason with this book I've been very particular about tracking the time I spent in revisions (and all the other weird facts I've included).

      I love that you're exactly where I am. Sending you love and great writing! xo

  3. And I love that you wore pearls to connect with a character! I can't wait to read BLUE BIRDS.

  4. Oh, yes. With dresses, jeans, and sweats. Everyday for three weeks straight. My girls share a necklace, and wearing mine helped me feel they were near.

  5. Thanks for sharing these numbers. It's a great way to see the hard work which leads to publication.

    1. You're welcome! I helps me keep things in perspective, actually. Nothing comes together over night.

  6. That was very powerful, Caroline. We all know it takes a lot of time--but to see those number--wow. Really incredible. Congratulations!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!