Is there such a thing as too many published books? Too much writing?
I’ve been hearing a resurgence of comments and opinions heading in this direction lately, mostly aimed at very prolific authors like Bella Andre, who releases a novel every three weeks.
Thanks to the #CopyPasteCris debacle, and the growing awareness of the use of ghostwriters, etc., those of us who are very prolific have found it increasingly uncomfortable claiming our true speed.
Are you fast and afraid to claim so?
Do you want to be fast, but are starting to wonder if very high speeds are a scam?
Here’s the most common backlashes I’ve seen, lately:
Fast Writing = Crap
The oldie-but-goody persists. It’s invasive, like weeds, popping up where you aren’t looking. For more on this one, check out “Does Writing Fast = Crap?”.
Fast Writing = You’re Cheating
This is the new variation, as I mentioned above. The thinking behind it is: If you’re “churning” (<grr> Hate that word. Also “cranking”. Both imply cookie-cutter shaped commodities)… If you’re churning out a book every three weeks, then you’re cheating the system in some way — ghost writers, cut-and-paste, something, because no one can write that fast.
Actually, they can and do. I do. I did throughout 2018 in order to gain six weeks at the end of the year in vacation time. You watched me do it. Check my series of Weekly Log posts, where I document every word I write . Count up the numbers yourself.
Is it easy? Hell, no. But it can be done. It is a matter of time and mathematics. Put your ass in the chair and move your fingers (or dictate, if you’re so inclined), for sufficient hours, and the books get written. That’s all any prolific writer does, as Nora Roberts has repeatedly explained.
Fast Writing = Readers Will Get Bored
I haven’t heard this one lately, because the logic is so flawed it cracks under its own weight, although highly trad-publishing-oriented writers and editors can sometimes come out with a sophisticated version of it. “Reader Fatigue” was touted as a thing by traditional publishing, to justify limiting an author to one book a year.
In this age of live-streaming everything and binge watching marathons, it is inconceivable that consumers of any media might ever drift away because their favourite TV series/book series/movie franchise is putting installments out too quickly.
It flat doesn’t make sense.
Don’t confuse this with readers drifting because the quality of a series diminishes. That’s a different argument, and closely aligned to Fast = Crap…unless the quality is drifting because the author is bored. That’s also a whole other thing.
There is not a single reader out there that is going to say: “Damn, she’s putting them out too fast.”
It’s Authors Who Worry About “Too Fast/Too Many”…Not Readers.
For all the reasons above, it is us authors who chew our fingernails, worrying about somehow inconveniencing readers, or turning them off our books, because of how fast we publish them.
Readers do not care. About any of it. They only care–and are delighted by–how fast the next book arrives. The most frequent comment I get in reader reviews is “I can’t wait for the next book!”.
That is the bottom line. That is the only criteria we need to worry about when contemplating how frequently we publish.
For that reason, I’m seriously weighing whether to shift my current book-every-four-weeks up to a book-every-three-weeks, which I know I can sustain over the long term, because I did it throughout 2018, and so far this year, I feel like I’ve been dawdling.
I’m currently reworking my production schedule and looking at the impact on my time and life, and if the production end of releasing books can handle the extra volume. I will report on my final decision in Tuesday’s work log.
Have you let some of these erroneous and hampering thoughts clog up your productivity?