Lois Winston Portrait

One Size Does Not Fit All by Lois Winston

Lois Winston PortraitA Crafty Collage of Crime, the twelfth book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, released this past June. I’ve spent much of the summer in promo mode, mostly on blog tours, podcasts, and Zoom events. At the end of this week, I’ll be attending Killer Nashville with Debra, many other authors, and those wishing to become published authors. A question that both readers and aspiring authors often ask me is how long it takes to write a book. Writing isn’t accounting. Although two plus two will always equal four, there are far too many factors that go into writing a novel for there to be a single answer to that question.

Truthfully, I wrote much faster when I had no clue how to write a publishable book. My first novel took me only a few weeks to complete. It was a 50,000-word romance that spanned thirty-five years. I thought I’d written the great American novel, or at least the next bestselling romance—until the rejection letters started shooting through my mail slot. (This was back in the days of snail mailed queries and rejection letters.)

Once I learned everything I was doing wrong and how to “write right,” the writing process took much longer. These days, depending on whether my muse is cooperating, and the stars are properly aligned regarding everything else in my life, it takes me anywhere from eight months to a year to write a book, sometimes longer. This seems to be the case for most authors I know. However, some authors write faster, and some take several years to write each book.

Nothing about writing is one-size-fits-all. One of the things a writer learns in her journey toward publication is that we all must find the process that works best for us. For example, some writers need to outline every scene in each chapter before they start writing that first sentence. Others fly by the seat of their pants, allowing the story and characters to control the journey. Some write multiple drafts; others revise as they go. What works well for one author won’t necessarily work for another because, as I said above, writing isn’t like accounting.

Learning to write is very much trial and error. Not only do you need to develop plots, subplots, and characters that will hold a reader’s attention from the first page to the last, but you also need to develop a unique voice and writing style.

It can take years of writing and rewriting before your novel is ready for prime time. I wrote for ten years before I sold my first book in 2005. The second book I sold was that 50,000-word romance that spanned thirty-five years. After years of developing the skills I needed to write publishable fiction, that unpublishable romance had been revised into a 90,000-word award-winning romantic suspense that took place over the course of a few months. Since then, I’ve published twenty-one novels, five novellas, and several short stories.

My writing journey is far from unique. Very few authors find overnight success. For most of us, the distance between committing that first word to paper (or computer screen) and holding your first published book in your hand is a marathon, not a sprint.

A Crafty Collage of Crime
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 12

Wherever crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack goes, murder and mayhem follow. Her honeymoon is no exception. She and new husband, photojournalist (and possible spy) Zachary Barnes, are enjoying a walk in the Tennessee woods when they stumble upon a body on the side of a creek. The dead man is the husband of one of the three sisters who own the winery and guest cottages where Anastasia and Zack are vacationing.

When the local sheriff sets his sights on the widow as the prime suspect, her sisters close ranks around her. The three siblings are true-crime junkies, and thanks to a podcaster who has produced an unauthorized series about her, Anastasia’s reputation for solving murders has preceded her to the bucolic hamlet. The sisters plead for her help in finding the real killer. As Anastasia learns more about the women and their business, a host of suspects emerge, including several relatives, a relentless land developer, and even the sisters themselves.

Meanwhile, Anastasia becomes obsessed with discovering the podcaster’s identity. Along with knowing about Anastasia’s life as a reluctant amateur sleuth, the podcaster has divulged details of Anastasia’s personal life. Someone has betrayed Anastasia’s trust, and she’s out to discover the identity of the culprit.
Craft project included.

Buy Links

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3NX6O13
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-crafty-collage-of-crime
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-crafty-collage-of-crime-lois-winston/1143442079?ean=2940161008225
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-crafty-collage-of-crime/id6448801378


USA Today and Amazon bestselling author Lois Winston began her award-winning writing career with Talk Gertie to Me, a humorous fish-out-of-water novel about a small-town girl going off to the big city and the mother who had other ideas. That was followed by the romantic suspense Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception.

Then Lois’s writing segued into the world of amateur sleuths with her humorous Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, which Kirkus Reviews dubbed “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” The series now includes twelve novels and three novellas.

To date Lois has published twenty-one novels, five novellas, several short stories, one children’s chapter book, and one nonfiction book on writing.

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anasleuth
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/722763.Lois_Winston
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lois-winston

27 thoughts on “One Size Does Not Fit All by Lois Winston”

    1. And the marathon continues throughout the journey, Vera, no matter how many books you’ve published. There’s always another hurdle on the horizon. We write because we can’t not write, though. 😉

  1. Great blog, Lois! It takes a lot of sheer grit to become a writer which you have an abundance of! And everyone has to figure out what works for them process-wise. After I described what I did to write a novel, one of my author friends told me she’d never write a word if she tried that!
    Anyhow, loved A CRAFTY COLLAGE OF CRIME! Looking forward to seeing you and Debra at Killer Nashville.

    1. Lynn, looking forward to seeing you at KN, too. You are correct about people’s reaction to the process… or determination it takes. When they say they could write a book, too, I simply smile.

  2. Lois, thanks for sharing your thoughts about the journey you followed to publication. I especially like what you did with the first novel when you gained the experience to rewrite it into an award-winning work.

    1. Valerie,
      Glad you stopped by to leave a comment. Lois’ piece was both a good reminder and an encouragement to writers that things don’t happen overnigh, necessarily. It takes persistence.

  3. Hi Lois. Great post about the variations in the path to publication. Your closing message has really been sinking in for me lately. But in truth, this feels WAY longer than a marathon. And this marathon has some tank-trap-sized potholes along the way (and sometimes they’re camouflaged so you can’t see them). That’s why it helps so much to connect with others who are traveling this path too. Thanks for being one of them for me ( ;

    1. Pam, it’s hard to have patience. Believe me, I know. I often say that when patience was being passed out, I was too impatient to stand in line! There are so many factors that come into play in the publishing world. For some, it takes much longer. Or at least it seems that way at the time. Just keep pushing forward. Your writing friends are pulling for you!

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