How long did it take to write your novel?

How long did it take to write your novel?  I’ve gotten this question a number of times, and it throws me a little, because of the way I write.

Right now, today, I have several writing/publishing tasks to do:

  • Star Time, my latest novel, is just now coming to market, so I have to update my Henry Melton website, update the Wire Rim Books website, write emails to potential reviewers, notify the local book stores, and generally make some noise so that people will know that the new novel is out.
  • Star Time needs to be converted into e-book formats and placed with all the Kindle store/ Barns and Noble/ Kobo, Apple iBookstore, and Google Editions.
  • I need to file copyright for the latest works, update my travel plans for conventions, etc.
  • The next scheduled novel, The Copper Room, a YA Science fiction time-travel-ish story is written in first draft, but I need to start collecting First Readers to send hand-printed copies to so that they can mark it up and tell me where I’ve messed up.
  • The direct sequel to Star Time, titled The Kingdom of the Hill Country, is outlined, but only 10,000 words or so into the first draft.  I’m spending half my work day right now working on that story.
  • My personal magazine, Henry’s Stories, has to be updated.  I’m sort of committed to putting out 2,000 words every MWF, on there.  That means polishing up some unpublished stories, reformatting previously published ones, or writing new ones.  While I can mine the old stuff, I really need a constant influx of new stuff as well, so that means I have to fit short fiction writing in with the novels.
  • So, considering that a typical day might have some or all of these elements running, it’s hard to put a clear label of how long it takes to write a novel.  The short answer is that in the past, I’ve written two novels a year.  But that was before a lot of this publishing, marketing stuff got in the way.

    Oh, yes, and I have to have a life fitted in there somewhere.