The topic of word count came up, and it got me thinking about how we value ourselves as creators, basically whether or not we keep track of time spent on projects.
I mean, most professional people keep track of time. When I represented insurance companies, I billed an hourly rate. Professionals who bid for projects will always analyze the amount of time projected to be spent on the project. If you don’t know how much time you spent on a project, how do you know if the ultimate revenue is a sufficient ROI?
There have been a lot of discussions here over the years about the price of CoG/HGs, railroaded versus sandbox, series versus standalones, what helps stories/games sell, longer versus shorter, etc., and while they are all interesting topics in their own right, I wish we had more data to quantify what makes sense economically for authors writing IF.
Since I just started working on CCH3, my goal is to start logging my time, rounding off to 15-minute increments. I’m not sure if I’ll remember to keep doing this, but I’m going to try to make this a habit. I plan to do the same for another project I’m working on. And “working on the project” includes ALL work on the project, including:
- outlining and structural analysis
- ideation (brainstorming story elements, world-building, plot, characterization, etc)
- writing a first draft
- feedback from publisher, beta readers, etc.
- editing/creating second draft
- discussing art assets
- doing everything that needs to be done to get it published
- marketing/social media
The idea is that if we had some quantifiable data, we could simply divide a project’s net royalties to the author by the total hours spent, and we get the hourly rate.
Side Note: I’ll admit I was flabbergasted by folks in a recent thread who said they were writing 1000 words per hour, and that they’d estimate it would only take 300 hours to complete a 300k-word IF story. That pace just seems incomprehensible to me, but maybe I’m just a plodder. I wonder if someone can really create a 300,000-word IF story, of professional quality, from start to finish, from initial concept all the way to a work that’s ready for publication, in just 300 hours. Has anyone done this?