What have you written?
Lots of people have no answer because, if they're honest with themselves, they've written little more than a grocery list in the last year. When people hear that I've published a novel (and a short story) they get excited because, hey! I wrote something! What they don't realize is that, beneath my published story, lies tons of other work.
Do you honestly think Dusted was the first thing I had ever written? I don't say "Dusted is my first published novel." I say "Dusted is my first publishable novel" because most of what I've written has been complete and utter trash.
But it was necessary.
The first time Chopin put a paintbrush to canvas he didn't create a masterpiece. When Monet sat down at a piano for the first time he didn't create a classical piece of music. And very few of my readers will get the joke contained within those previous two sentences.
The point is, the first thing you ever write won't be published, neither will the second, nor the third. Do you know how many stories I wrote before writing Dusted? I don't even know, but I lost count at about six.
So, I know you're probably sick of math, but I'm going to answer my own question for you.
What have I written? Here it is (and don't make fun of the titles, some of these are over 10 years old.) anything with a * mark means it's unfinished.
*Jessica Swift (as of this writing): 36,000
The Stars of Eternity: 41,650
*Dusted Sequel: 34,632
All Just Survivors: 76,396
Angel Queen: 50,743
Angel Gray: 32,130
*Angel Fall: 3,380
*Grey Witch: 9,064
Hello Diary, Goodbye World: 29,724
Misc Short Story One: 633
Misc Short Story Two: 2,575
*Misc Manuscript One: 2,861
*Misc Manuscript Two: 6,388
*Misc Manuscript Three: 3,378
*Misc Manuscript Four: 1,788
Tears of Brass: 9,999
Beneath The Gaslamp: 17,600
Waste Not: 9,350
Thicker Than Blood: 7,605
*The Betrayer: 773*The Witches of Dunraven: 13,408
That's 488,403 words. That's more than the entirety of Stephen King's The Stand which, according to a website called Novelwordcount.com, clocks in at 472,376 (another website had the count at 471k so this is only slightly unreliable)
|Fun fact: Stephen King and James Patterson actually have a feud going.|
But what about what I have published? Well, it breaks down to 17% of my work being published. That's less than one-fifth. Keep in mind that I'm self-published so this is what I think of my own writing is worth publishing
All of these numbers don't count my blog posts or the collaborative writing I did for over six years with others. Both have helped to hone my skill and, as such, drop my published percentage further.
Don't let this discourage you, however. I'm not saying you have to write the equivalent of The Stand before you can get published. In truth, with a little dusting off and some editing, a lot of my manuscripts could be published. That's not the point I'm trying to make though, what I'm trying to say is that you won't get published at all if your word count remains at 0.
So what are you doing reading my garbage for? Get writing!
Seriously though, Patterson wrote a novel called The Murder of Stephen King.