The Fantastic Adventure

I’m thinking, by now, everyone’s read or heard about that New York Times article proclaiming that publishing one book a year is slacking. With digital books are so easy to publish and tons more forms of entertainment to entice consumers, releasing more books seems to be the answer.

I don’t get this logic.

I think if the author does his job by taking the reader on a fantastic adventure, and in the case of a series, left him wanting more, why would he have a problem waiting a year for the next book? As a person who is also a reader, the idea that my memory is that fickle is kind of insulting.

Lee Child is one of the top authors I read. Why? Because every time I open one of his books, I go on a fantastic adventure with his hero, Jack Reacher. After I finish reading, I’m sorry it’s over and check his bio to make sure it ends with, “Lee Child lives in blah-bitty-blah with his blah and pet blah where he is at work on his next Jack Reacher thriller.” Amazingly, after a whole year, I still remember the guy.

Speaking of Lee Child, I like the strategy his publisher is using: A short story released just before the full novel. The short story is only available as an ebook and priced low at 99 cents. That I understand. Low risk purchase that hopefully leads to a bigger purchase. Supposedly this has worked well and increased sales. I’m not sure if Child is totally on board with the idea by this quote, “Everyone’s doing a little more. It seems like we’re all running faster to stay in the same place.” Seems like all the extra output has the potential to do nothing. It also makes me wonder if Child just kept to one book a year, if he’d get a drop in sales or stay the same.

It’s hard to evaluate because a)I’m not in publishing and b)this is a new thing everyone’s trying. Maybe in a few years this will prove to be the way to go. c)The article only talks about authors who’ve been publishing for a while and have strong fanbases.

What about the real star, me? How does Mocete Studios deal with this?

For now, I’m not going to sweat it. I’m not a full time writer. I have a day job along with other responsibilities. I’m sure lots of people are in the same boat as me. Some have kids, which as joyous as I’ve heard, suck LOTS of time. And unless we’re wasting the writing time we’ve set aside, I don’t think any of us are slackers.

I’m working on my debut, don’t know for when, but once it’s out, I’m going to try to get the next one out in under a year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to publish anything in between. I certainly won’t at the expense of quality. Down the line with enough backlist, maybe I’ll be able to write full time. That’s just one possible outcome, and I haven’t really thought that far ahead anyway. All I can do is work with the situation I’m in and always remember that the number one rule is to create the fantastic adventure.

4 comments on “The Fantastic Adventure

  1. Very insightful post. I agree: one book a year and do not sacrifice quality. And it amazes me that it would be slacking to publish one book a year. It strikes me that formulaic writers could churn it out, but the quality would suffer. Bleh! I care more about quality than about making a few extra bucks.

  2. I completely and utterly agree. I am always SO disappointed when I read a book by an author I trust and it just seems…rushed. Like, the themes aren’t fleshed out. There aren’t as many layers. The characters aren’t as deep. You know, a book that feels as if it were written in 4 months. Some authors can pull this off, I think…this 1-3 books per year. Others can’t. I just know I prefer quality over quality. I’d want a book I can be proud of in 60-600 yrs. =)

  3. Okay, I’m going to voice an opposite opinion…just some food for thought. A SEASONED author who writes full time shouldn’t take a whole year to write a book. I think it’s either more a matter of choice or the publisher’s schedule. If I wrote full time, I could crank out at least three a year unless the ideas stopped coming…which could happen, I suppose. If an author wrote 2,000 words a day (about two hours work), which is very little for someone doing this full time, that would be 730,000 words a year. That’s 5-7 books or more, depending how long they are. There is, of course, the editing process. But even with that, one book a year seems such a small number. Remember, I’m talking about authors who have been doing this for YEARS. Authors who are new to the business will take much longer to get a story right. But with practice, it gets easier. I know some authors who can write three or four books a year and are very good in my opinion.

    Lee Child is such a good author, but he’s been doing this awhile. I’m sure he could write a few books a year and still keep the quality we’re used to. 🙂

    I guess the bottom line is that some authors simply write faster than others. If it takes a year, then it does. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Some authors don’t write every day. I don’t think there’s really a right or wrong on this issue.

  4. @E.L.- Yep. I figure if no one knows who I am, I have a really small amount people that could forget me. And right now my best effort is probably one a year. I’m good with that.

    @Ellie- Hey, Ellie! I really worry that authors will be pushed by their publishers to produce more, resulting in lower quality books. I’d hate to be in that position. Hopefully I’m wrong and this works out well for everyone.

    @LL- Could be just a matter of what the author was contracted for, but depending on their method, a year might be just enough time to write one book. Some authors do a tremendous amount research for each book, others might go through a bunch days writing words that don’t see print to get to the ones that do. What happens to those authors when the publisher asks for more at a faster pace? Maybe more great books, maybe some okay books, or worse, burnout.

    The NYT article read that Lisa Scottoline publishes two books a year and is able to do it by writing two thousand words a day, everyday. And according to the article, it takes her the whole day. I doubt she’s staring at her computer all day, but twenty years of publishing and, for her, that’s pushing herself.

    I also wonder where it stops. What happens when two or three books a year isn’t enough? Could it become more of an assembly line than creative expression in the future? Nobody knows, but the article got me thinking about a lot of things.

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