045: How to Plan & Write a Book in 6 Months
December 21, 2016

Welcome back! This week  Kayla and I show you How to Plan & Write a Book in 6 Month. We reflect on our successes and shortcomings in 2016 and discuss what we look forward to in 2017. We’re pushing the boundaries of our comfort levels and welcome you to join us. We’ve also assigned ourselves words to guide us through the coming year. Kayla’s is ‘discipline’. Mine is ‘add value’.

Here’s what you’ll learn this week:

Novel Writing Goal

Kayla breaks down the book writing process into manageable step-by-step chunks.

  • Set general book length. Kayla uses a 65-70K word novel as her example.
  • Choose a publishing date and count backward. A 6 month timeline is used for an example in this show.
  • Set daily/monthly word count goals. 1K/day pace will have the first draft finished in about 2.5 months. (Tip: Resist the urge to edit your work as you go. Just get the story on the page.)
  • First round edits: Print manuscript and go through with a pen smoothing out passages, correcting typos and boosting scenes. Allow two weeks.
  • End of first round edits: Month 3

Beta Reading

  • Beta Readers: Ideally not writers (they tend to go into edit mode), but folks who love to read, read fast, and like your genre. Give them 2-3 weeks with your manuscript. They are looking for plot holes and readability. Is the story compelling? Are characters consistent? Ask them not to worry about typos and such. Often rewrites happen after you read the beta readers’ notes.
  • While betas have the manuscript, work on the book description and contact your cover designer.
  • Take 1 week to make changes inspired by beta notes.
  • End of beta phase: Month 4
  • Ship to editor.

Professional Editing

  • You get what you pay for, so hire one! Some editors are in high demand and will require you to work around their schedule. Depending on the editor, editing time can take a couple of weeks, up to a month.
  • End of professional editing phase: Month 5
  • To stay on schedule, allow up to 2 weeks for reviewing and implementing editor’s changes.


  • Using Scrivener for e-books is a simple and easy way to get your book ready to upload on a variety of platforms. It’s a very affordable program at $45 and they offer a 30 day trial offer. Click here to check out Scrivener.
  • Hiring a professional formatter for paperbacks will take the headache out of trying to create a beautiful product. This can take a couple of weeks and you may need to get on their schedule ahead of time, so build it into your production schedule.
  • By the time you’ve worked your way through all of these steps, you fill find yourself at the 6 month mark.

Accountability Partner

  • Find someone who cares enough about you and your success to push you on good and bad days. No molly-coddling!
    This person needs to fully understand your writing goals and the steps necessary to reach them.
  • If you can’t find someone in your circle for free, don’t be afraid to hire a coach. Having some skin in the game can go a long way for providing motivation!

Are you planning to write your first book in 2017? Post a comment below and tell us about your project. Want to reach me? Fill out the contact form on this website. Want to chat with Kayla? You can reach her at KaylaDawnThomas.com.

Resources Mentioned:


About author

Chris Jones

I'm a writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach. I help you use words to create influence. Let's talk!

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