Questions about writing, photo credit: Matt Walsh

Common questions about writing

In this post, I will try to answer a few common questions about writing, books, and book publishing. Read on for more information . . .

Can I write a book in 30 days?

While there is now law saying you can’t, writing a book—normally running from 40,000 words up to 80,000 words—takes more than a month to do for most people. I tell my clients that with help, they can write a book in five to eight months, the average being six months. So yes, 30 days is a bit short to write a meaningful book.

What is the easiest type of book to write?

The easiest type of book to write, for nonfiction, is one where you are the subject. This could be a book on something you know well (a hobby or area of study that you know well), or it could be a book about yourself and your life, another subject you are naturally the expert on.

For fiction, the easiest genre to write in is often said to be

What is the hardest book to write?

The hardest type of book to write, for if it’s nonfiction, would be on a subject you know little to nothing about. Thus, writing a book on a subject you know nothing about is not something I, or anyone who writes, would recommend.

What is the hardest genre to write?

When it comes to writing fiction, the hardest book to write would be in a genre that interests you the least or that you enjoy the least and for which you have no experience reading. Because what is difficult for you might be easy for someone else, it’s hard to say which genre is the absolute hardest to write.

What is the easiest fiction genre to write

In the end, the easiest fiction genre for you to write is going to be the one you have the most passion and interest in. Of course, some people feel that whodunnits (murder mysteries and crime novels) are the easiest, while others feel that romance novels or action-packed thrillers might be the easiest.

Again, it’s up to you in the end: whatever genre excites you the most and for which you generate the most ideas and passion will be the easiest for you to write.

Is 40 too late to write a book?

No. The Spanish author, Miguel de Cervantes wrote his first book, La Galatea, at age 38. It had only modest success. Later, when he was 58, he wrote the founding novel of western literature, Don Quixote, which instantly became a classic. So no, 40 is not too old to write a book.

Is 70 too old to write a book?

The current world record holder for oldest person to write and publish a book (courtesy of the Guinness Book of World Records) is Bertha Wood, who published her memoirs, Fresh Air and Fun: The Story of a Blackpool Holiday Camp, at age 100. There are accounts of people in their 90s, and some even older than Bertha, who have written and published books. So no, 70 is not too old to write a book!

How many pages is 50,000 words?

For most printed books, 50,000 words translates to about 200 printed pages, given that the average number of words that fit on the average printed book is around 250. Books vary by size and by the size of their typeface, so this is not an exact page count.

Using this rough calculator, you will find the following page count for the following word counts:

Word count

Approximate page count

25,000 words

100 pages

35,000 words

140 pages

40,000 words

160 pages

50,000 words

200 pages

60,000 words

240 pages

75,000 words

300 pages

85,000 words

340 pages

What you shouldn′t do as a writer?

As a writer, the one thing that you shouldn’t do is write about something you don’t care about. The other thing you shouldn’t do is to write dishonestly. In other words, if you aren’t sure about something when you’re writing it, say so. Never lie. Good writing always tells the truth, so to be a good writer you must always be open and tell the truth when you write.

Is it better to self-publish or get a publisher?

The answer to whether you should self-publish or find a traditional publisher all depends on your end goals.

If you want your book printed and available to hand out or sell online (like on Amazon) in the shortest time possible, then self-publishing is the way to go. Self-publishing also gives you much more control over your book (i.e., its title, cover design, length, and content), and if you want to keep more of your sales revenue, then self-publishing is the way to go.

However, if you feel that you have an adequate social media and other platform and you want to ensure that your book has the widest possible distribution, you may want to attempt to find a traditional publisher for your book. I use the word attempt because there is never a guarantee that you will find a literary agent, who will then help you find a traditional publisher. Plus, it takes a lot more time, up to a year possibly, to find a traditional publisher.

Again, if speed and control over how your book looks and what it says is most important to you, then self-publishing might be the way to go.

On the other hand, if you aren’t in as big of a hurry and you think you think that your book might have a wide audience—and you have a platform or a well-known name—then finding a traditional publisher (usually done by finding a literary agent first), might be the way to go for you.

Still have more questions about writing and/books and book publishing? Feel free to contact me via the email form below:

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