[marginalia] A Book, In Numbers : : Amy P. Knight

Lost, Almost is a book about people who see the world through their work in science and math. In that spirit, here is a look at the process of writing, publishing, and marketing the book, in numbers.

10: years ago I wrote the beginning of what would become Lost, Almost.

6: different houses I lived in while writing it.

2: number of graduate degrees earned during the process.

17: rejections for my favorite chapter as a stand-alone short story.

0: number of eventual acceptances for that same story.

12: books about nuclear weapons I still have on my shelf.

2: chapters eventually abandoned or cut from the book.

14: distinct drafts of the chapter that became “Ceiling.”

3: totally different fresh starts for the chapter that eventually became “Retreat.”

5,040: possible orders for the chapters.

6: orders I actually considered.

2: times a version of the “finished” manuscript was rejected by my existing agent.

1: marriage entered into.

1: marriage ended.

2: dogs acquired.

4: memorable nightmares about nuclear war.

3: laptops.

3: fountain pens written with.

1: typewriter purchased.

4: brainstorming notebooks filled.

5: different cars owned.

2: instruments I don’t play much anymore.

5: half marathons run.

14: stitches in my left knee.

4: tattoos acquired.

7: different antidepressants tried.

2: grandmothers who died during drafting and revision and never got to read the final product.

0: number of times I wondered what had ever happened with that contest I entered between sending it off and finding out I won.

182: pages in the finished book.

20.05: days per finished, published page.

2: family members who gave up countless hours to record the audiobook.

379: minutes to play the finished audio version.

9: copies of the audiobook sold.

2: public readings.

4: interviews given.

1,395: dollars earned.

10: Amazon reviews wrested from my loyal friends.

1: number of times we’ve reprinted (so far?)


Amy P. Knight is the author of the new novel Lost, Almost. Her work has appeared on The Millions, Necessary Fiction, and elsewhere. She is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney, and lives in Tucson, Ariz., with her dogs, Oscar and Ruby. You can visit her website at amypknight.com, or follow her on Twitter at @amypknight.

This post is part of our ongoing web series MARGINALIA about all things writing, reading, & learning. To submit your own experience, please read our guidelines.

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