Guest Bloggers

Jane Dystel: How long should it take to write a novel?

Jane DystelToday’s Guest Blogger is Jane Dystel, president of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management:

Over the weekend, I finished a remarkable first novel.  The author had taken many years to complete this work and, in the end, I think the time it took her to do so has paid off (of course, only the marketplace will tell).

Thinking about this – the time it takes a writer to finish a book – brought to mind how different each writer’s process is.  I found this very interesting piece on the subject in the Huffington Post.

I have clients who take many years to finish their novels, much like the writer whose work I read this weekend.   Then, there are those who actually ask for deadlines (from me) by when they should have their next manuscript completed.  And then, of course, there are those who can conceptualize their stories and write them down much much faster.

In the end, there is no right answer to how long it should take a writer to complete his/her manuscript.  It is what works for each individual.  I find it’s best not to compare your process to others’. Do what feels right for you.

Originally posted on the Dystel and Goderich website, February 29, 2016, “How Long Should It Take Me To Write My Novel?”

Note from Marlene: Jane’s thoughts about self-publishing are in the May 2016 issue of The Writer Magazine. Here’s an excerpt: “As an agency, we are now more interested in developing . . . authors’ careers and helping them be successful hybrid authors—those who are traditionally published and continue to self-publish at the same time.”

Jane Dystel, President, has been an agent since 1986. Her publishing career began at Bantam Books. She then moved to Grosset & Dunlap, where she was a managing editor and later an acquisitions editor. From there, she went on to become Publisher of World Almanac Publications, where she created her own imprint. When she joined the agency that would soon become Acton and Dystel, Inc., she quickly developed a reputation for honesty, forthrightness, hard work, and real commitment to her authors and their writing careers. In 1994, with a growing roster of clients, she founded Jane Dystel Literary Management, which became Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in 2003. Born in Chicago, Jane grew up in Rye, New York. She is the daughter of publishing legend, Oscar Dystel, who is currently a consultant for DGLM. In her teens, she was an accomplished figure skater. Jane received her BA from New York University and attended Georgetown law school for one year before leaving for her first job in publishing. She has an abiding interest in legal subjects. She is married to Steven Schwinder and has a daughter, Jessica, and a son, Zachary. She lives in New York City with her family and two dachshunds and is a tenacious golfer.


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