How fast can you produce a book?

That’s a tricky question, and we’ve answered it a few different ways in the past. This time the answer is different, too.

The Case of the North Station Mummy went from first draft to approved proof in 57 days – including six rewrites. It might sound like a long time for a 62 page story, but that is a blistering pace. (And we could not have accomplished it without the help of some very talented volunteers.)

That 57 days is not just the writing, it was also editing, typesetting, cover design and execution – everything from typing the words “I should start at the beginning, but there isn’t time” to actually receiving the three approval copies shipped from the printing facility.

Our personal record for a book of similar quantity is 45 days. The Tick Golden Age #3 was pitched, written, drawn, colored, lettered, proofread, edited, assembled, and proof received in 45 days – and that had 5 times the staff working on it.

The story of how and why this came to be is a little more complicated even than the “speed run” to get it out.

Last year, we encountered a self-publishing collective who produce themed anthologies. Their topic for 2018/9 was “faeries.” This is not at all what we had been working on, but it sparked a question. Since we’ve never been ones to tie ourselves to only one thing, was there a story about faefolk we could tell? For six months the answer was “I’m sure there is, but I don’t know what it is.”

We have a (traditional) fantasy novel / series in the works, surely we could put out a companion short-story about some faerie living in the magic-rich medieval-like world of Galydor. Sure, but that’d be rather journeyman type writing – technically it would fit the bill, but it wouldn’t be a challenge.

What if faeries are real people… living in the real world… right now – not in some world where they can walk around freely – 2019 Boston, Massachusetts.

We’d need a character who can interact with the human world, but still show the hidden-ness of faefolk.  Enter a uniformed police officer with a set of wings stuffed under his shirt – an exiled faerie magicked to be human-scale and forced to live in the human world.

So much potential for another series because that’s what we need, right – um, NO. (Well, yes, but not the point.) We didn’t need another series idea. We needed a new book, because we haven’t had one in a year, and we needed to complete something because Flying Pirate Ships! is still a ways off. In January, we decided to try to have a new book – a novella (12,000 words or more) – in time for our first show this year in the first week in April.

There are two things that motivate us to produce work: money and looming deadlines.

We placed a stock order Tuesday, which will arrive just in time to go straight to the first show this year. (Hopefully it’ll make some money.)