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The Punishing Publishing Schedule

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I’ve heard some lamenting by readers of late that they wished authors would take more time crafting their works. I’ve actually heard the same lament from some industry folks as well. I’m not sure who first started the two books a year release schedule. I think in the 80s a reader waited a year in between releases. While anxious for more from our favorite authors, we didn’t begin to expect more production until the more recently.

Authors like Nora Roberts and Suzanne Brockmann were actually the only authors I can recall who had more than one book released a year and it seemed to me that didn’t start until sometime in late 90s, early 2000. Authors like Jane Feather, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught had one year between releases. Some authors, like McNaught, had trouble keeping up with that schedule.

There was an article in the Boston Globe (thanks Jill F and Rebecca for the link) in which big name writers felt the pressure of producing even one book a year. Authors like Dennis Lehane and Brad Meltzer refused to do so because it takes more time for them to craft their novels. The norm now, it seems, is for authors to produce at least two books a year. It is uncertain the genesis of the pressure to produce because the publisher and agent would say it is from the readers and while the reader always wants more, it doesn’t mean she isn’t willing to wait either.

At the Nathan Bransford Literary Agent site, he put forth the question to his readership. (I found this link via Google so I wonder if we were both inspired by the Boston.com article or whether there is some correlation readers of all ilks are seeing in the increased releases and possible decline in quality). Many reader professed that they were willing to wait for a good book.

The pressure to publish rapidly is sometimes self inflicted. An author wants to write for a living but because the average book advance is only $5,000 (or let’s be generous and say $10,000), one book a year will not cut it. Even two books a year barely provides an income that is above the poverty level (assuming that the advance is some amount greater than $5,000 per book). Thus in order to quit one’s job and “write for a living”, today’s new writers and those in the midlist, likely have to write two books a year. When a contract is sold to an author, it is usually done for a two or three book deal, but it is also generally the case that the author sets her deadlines or how far apart she believes her deadlines should be.

The closer the deadlines are to each other, obviously, the less time there will be for editing and revisions. Most authors suffer the sophomore slump in which the second book doesn’t live up to the first book release. Part of this, I attribute to the fact that authors often spend years polishing that first sold manuscript and then have to whip up another one in three to six months.

Yet, a contrary view was provided by a commenter at the Bradford site who said that waiting too long might have detrimental consequences for both a reader and a writer because “if you wait to long you loose something, a feeling, an idea, emotions, or even parts of the plot.”

I’ve heard tell that authors sometimes write their books in under two months. One author, Shirley Jump, blogged a year or so ago that she wrote 12 books in one year. I thought that was a terrifying statistic and the post didn’t inspire me to pick up even one book of Jump’s. Rightly or wrongly, I questioned how great a book could be written in one month.

This isn’t to say that some people aren’t naturally prolific. As one anonymous commenter at the Bradford site said “Some people can run a mile in 4 minutes. Some can do it in 12. Others can’t run a mile at all. ”

Personally, I would rather have a book a year with each book being the best that the writer can produce after having a year to contemplate the work than having a new book every six months and having quality suffer. But selfishly, I recognize that if more than a year passes, my desire or hunger to read more might wane. Lengthy absences can hurt word of mouth buzz, particularly for a new author. And, frankly, I love the back to back releases. It has certainly worked for Ballantine and Bantam.

So, how long would you be willing to wait as a reader between releases? Would you rather wait a longer period of time if it meant you’d get a better book? Do you have positive or negative associations with authors who release many books in one publishing year? Do you like the back to back releases? Do they inhibit the build of publicity buzz?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

85 Comments

  1. DeeCee
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 04:29:38

    I’d rather wait for a good book, than buy an awful one, and send it to the used book store. Because as soon as that book hits that pile, I rarely go back and read that author again. Which ofcourse isn’t to say that the author may not have written a better quality later, but there are thousands of books to choose from, and my attention span is short.

    An example is Sherrilyn Kenyon. That woman cranks out as many as 8 stories a year (um…wow). I haven’t liked any of her stories since 2005. I felt her quality of writing got worse when more emphasis was put on being on the hardcover best seller list, and not on a throughly fleshed out story with likeable (key word) characters.

    Or Nora Roberts (holy shinola what a backlist!). She consistently has a bestseller because she gets a quality story out of each paperback.

    There will always be (I hope) a demand for an amazing story. And I really hope that someday soon it’ll dawn on some of the publishers and authors that while bringing out more than one book a year can boost their income, it can also cost them the fans willing to shell the $8 for a paperback, and eventually that coveted first rank on the bestsellers list.

  2. DS
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 05:09:21

    C. J. Cherryh (sf/fantasy)has published over 60 books since her first novel in 1976 and writes a personal blog about the progress and word count on her current novel.

    According to Wikipedia Jayne Ann Krentz has published 122 books in roughly the same period.

    I don’t read Krentz, but I consistently buy Cherryh in hardcover so I marked other on the survey because some can be prolific and be entertaining and some are just prolific.

  3. Emmy
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 05:10:48

    I quit buying books of some authors who routinely put out several books a year when I noticed they were all the same template: someone dies, it gets investigated, soft sex scene, omg danger to a main character, rough sex scene, crime solved, stay tuned for the next in the series. I like some series in general, but I’d rather not pay $7.99 for robotic junk. Not when there are really great stories by other authors out there.

    I also didn’t enjoy waiting upwards of 7 years for Robert Jordan to put out the next in the Wheel of Time series either. He started that series before I was born and ended up dying before he got around to ending it 30 years later. (The gall, lolz. Hopefully there’s outlines and notes on his puter, and a few kids who can do some sort of posthumous collaboration.)

    Something in the middle would be nice. I read a wide enough variety of genres and authors that I don’t particularly notice if the wait is less than two years; my TBR pile will take about that long to wade through. Any longer than that and I have to go back and read the first book to be able to understand the next one, which takes more time than I really have. All appearances to the contrary.

  4. Nora Roberts
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 05:30:24

    ~“Some people can run a mile in 4 minutes. Some can do it in 12. Others can't run a mile at all.~

    This is very true. Pace is a key element. The problem comes when those whose pace is a mile in 12 minutes try or need to run that mile in 4.

    The problem for those who can do it in 4 and then are told to slow down to 12 is they’ll likely get sluggish and careless. And bored.

  5. Jia
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 05:32:09

    Hopefully there's outlines and notes on his puter, and a few kids who can do some sort of posthumous collaboration.

    Actually, the final installment of the Wheel of Time series is going to be written by Brandon Sanderson. Jordan had already told the details of the final book to his wife, so I believe she’ll be providing the necessary information to Sanderson.

  6. DS
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 05:50:05

    Late at night after I finished worrying about everything else, I used to worry about something happening to Dorothy Dunnett before she finished her House of Niccolo series. I can imagine how Jordan’s fans feel.

  7. rae
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 06:38:42

    Some author’s can write a book in a month and it will be an excellent book. Others will spend a whole year slaving over it and it will be awful. I don’t agree that the quality of an authors work automatically goes down when they increase the quantity. What does that say about journalists and other freelance writers who have articles published every day?

    I do recall waiting for a book and they when it came I was disappointed. The author managed to put me off the characters or maybe I’d outgrown it. I don’t know. I do know that I never read series until they are complete.

  8. Laura Herbertson
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 06:45:59

    One of my favorite fantasy series is by Kristin Britain. The first book Green Rider came out in 2000. The second book in 2004, and the third in 2007. It’s definitely a long time to wait to find out what happens. I’ll probably have to re-read the third book before I read the fourth just to remind myself of where we left off. While I wish she would write faster, I understand she can only write at the speed that is comfortable for her. I’m still going to pre-order book 4 as soon as it’s available, but I can’t guarantee other readers feel the same. Memory fades.

    If we’re talking speed and quality, one author I am impressed with is Marjorie M. Liu. It seems like she has 3-4 books coming out every year and quality is never sacrificed.

    In my opinion, the Harry Potter releases were perfectly timed. Long enough to get people revved up and anxious for the next book, but not too long they forgot what happened.

  9. Emmy
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 06:58:33

    I loved that series too, Laura, and also had to go back and read Green Rider before I read First Rider’s Call. However, I kept up with her newsletter, and she talked about having to work long hours as a park ranger and having limited time to write. I’m a little more forgiving about long waits when I know that there will be a long wait, instead of sitting around a few years later wondering “what ever happened to…?”

    Kind of like Joanne Bertin. What ever happened to Bard’s Oath, the supposed third book in her dragon series? *loved* the first two, but it’s been like 9 years since Dragon and the Phoenix.

  10. Jayne
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 07:11:34

    I do recall waiting for a book and they when it came I was disappointed. The author managed to put me off the characters or maybe I'd outgrown it. I don't know. I do know that I never read series until they are complete.

    My main problem with long waits between books is feeling I’ve outgrown an author’s style or having read so many books in the interim that I get put off standard romance tropes and cliches. Or feeling that the build up to the final book is so great that no author can meet the expectations.

    I think I was lucky to read Beverley’s Malloren series or Patricia Veryan’s Golden Chronicles and Jewelled Men series so quickly. I didn’t have to wait a year or more for each new book, I could read one a month and thus keep all the previous characters and action clear in my mind and I was spared the “waiting for Rothgar!” anticipation that seemed to let down so many fans when “Devilish” was published.

    On the other hand, waiting until a series is complete means then facing a huge pile o’books – especially if each is a 500 page whopper. That can sometimes put me off of starting a series at all.

  11. (Jān)
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 07:16:05

    Frankly, I think interest only wanes if someone is writing crap. Otherwise readers will stick with it.

    Besides, with the current hurt on the pocketbook, I don’t have the money to spend on a bunch of authors 2-3 time a year. I have quite enough books to read when they write at a slower pace.

  12. roslynholcomb
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 07:27:11

    I’m not big on series anyway, and generally try to avoid them. (I rarely watch a tv series, either.) So the lag time between books don’t really bother me. I started reading in the 70s when there wasn’t this horrible pressure to churn books out.

    As a very slow writer myself, I doubt I’ll ever be able to do two full-length novels a year. A novel and a few novellas? Sure. I can turn out novellas fairly quickly, but I really have to put some time into a full-length. I would definitely be cheating my readers if I did otherwise.

  13. Jackie
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 07:32:14

    Late at night after I finished worrying about everything else, I used to worry about something happening to Dorothy Dunnett before she finished her House of Niccolo series. I can imagine how Jordan's fans feel.

    He was very sick, for a very long time. While it wasn’t exactly a surprise that his disease got the best of him before he could finish book twelve, it was still a devastating loss — both of the man, and of the work. I’m pleased that the series will be finished with his wife’s (and editor’s) blessing over the chosen author. Not only will it provide closure; it will also pay tribute.

  14. Jennifer Estep
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 07:42:35

    As a reader, I like quicker releases. If I’m enjoying a series, I hate having to wait so long in between books. Often, I’ll hold off on starting a buzzed about series until there are 2 or 3 books out already. Usually, by the time I catch up, the author has a 4th or 5th book out.

    That being said, just because someone takes a long time in between books doesn’t mean their quality is better than someone who has a new release out every six months. A bad book is a bad book, whether it takes a month, a year, or 10 years to write.

    I write a couple of books a year. I tell the best stories the best ways I know how, and I try to learn and grow with every book I write. That’s all I can do as an author. People’s tastes, what they like/dislike, and what they consider “quality” vary so widely. In the end, it’s a crapshoot.

    Also, as an author, I think there will be more and more quick releases, not less. There are so many books (and other things) competing for readers’ attention and spending dollars. Unless you’re a big name, one book a year isn’t going to cut it. It’s not going to keep you in readers’ minds. And like Jane said, a book a year (unless it’s a blockbuster) isn’t going to let you support yourself financially.

  15. Jane
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 07:48:43

    There are so many books (and other things) competing for readers' attention and spending dollars. Unless you're a big name, one book a year isn't going to cut it. It's not going to keep you in readers' minds.

    I wonder whether that is absolutely true. Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series ended up No. 1 on the NYT List and she is released just once a year. (I know she is releasing 2 books about every 7 months or so now but the Anna and Charles series has yet to be released and she still made it big time). Briggs wasn’t a huge name before she hit.

    Ilona Andrews is another author whose seen good success with just one release a year. I think what has happened is that the norm seems to be 2 books a year and thus that is the reader expectation.

  16. Angela James
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:14:17

    I stopped reading Robert Jordan about 2 or 3 books ago, until the series was completed, because they are so complex, and the wait between books was so long, that I had to re-read the series each time. For anyone who’s read the series, you know what an immense undertaking that is since each book is about double the normal word count.

  17. JaneO
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:15:02

    As a reader, I would like my favorite authors to produce a new book every couple of weeks. But that assumes that those books would be as good as the ones that made them my favorite authors in the first place, and that is, of course, unlikely.
    Given a choice between quality and quantity, I’ll take quality every time. I would rather wait a year or two for a really good book than be handed frequent doses of mediocrity.
    It seems to me that if publishers believe it is important to have books in a series come out only a few months apart, the first few should be completed and in the works before the first one hits the shelves. That is the way newspapers generally handle an investigative series, for example -‘ it’s pretty much all written before publication begins. Otherwise there are all kinds of things that can interrupt and make it impossible for an author to meet the schedule with a decent product.

  18. katiebabs
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:20:34

    I am not going to lie, but would love my favorite authors to publisher a book every six months. Jane, we are of the same mine. *G*
    I think as readers we are somewhat greedy not understanding the author’s personal lives, how hard it can be to write a book and so forth. But if I want quality over quantity, I rather an author take their time to write the best product they can give us.
    Also, I never realized that some authors still need to work in other fields in order to still support themselves. A real eye opener for me.

  19. Bev(BB)
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:27:02

    It all depends on the set up within the storylines, I think. I do believe there is a big difference between big year (or more) spaces between individual stand alone releases by authors and the same time lapses between strongly connected sequential story arcs or even, as is more common in romance, universe spin-offs with different characters that may continue some type of connected plotline.

    I’ll even be honest enough to admit that while I might not read all the books right away, it’s reassuring to know that once a romance author has committed to a series, they’ve actually finished it within a reasonable length of time. Of course for something to be “finished” it has to have a beginning, middle and ending and that’s a problem when we’re talking about family tree type series with all their branches and roots. ;p

    Contrarily, there’s normally not as much expectation on my reader part when those family tree type series are involved. I figure I’ll get the next book when the author gets to them. Put the same family in a storyline that needs completion and it’s a totally different thing.

    Beginninng, middle and end.

    Is that not what is being referred to in regards to the Robert Jordan books? A situation of which I’m well aware because my son is a hugh fan and was on pins and needles until they announced who was going to write the final book. Fans will wait within reason if given a reason. It just has to be reasonable and in proportion.

    Romance novels for the most part are no where nearly the size of most fantasy/science fiction series. Somehow I don’t see the schedules having to be comparable.

    Besides, this discussion has to only be about single titles anyway, because category romances lines and authors have been popping out books, connected or otherwise for years. No new phenomenon there.

  20. Jackie
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:27:13

    Also, I never realized that some authors still need to work in other fields in order to still support themselves. A real eye opener for me.

    A lot of authors have full-time day jobs, not to mention families with young kids. I squeeze my writing in at night, when the kids are sleeping, and on weekends, when my husband takes the kids out with him to run errands.

    One of the rules of thumb (more like a guideline than a rule) out there is to hang onto the day job until you have four books on the shelves…and then see if royalties from those books (as opposed to advances) are enough to cover your end of contributing to the household. If so, then you can probably quit the day job. If not…well, so it goes.

  21. Keri M
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:29:05

    Most of the authors I read are on a annual release cycle and I am ok with that. I have so many that I always have reading material. However with that being said, just because my author took a year to get a book out doesn’t always mean it is a hit with me. Case in point, Sandra Brown’s last hard cover release, to me it was not one of her better books and it fell really short of my expectations. I will still read SB with the hope that she comes back up to speed. I agree with DeeCee with SK, her books was awesome in the beginning, but it spun out of control quickly and I only buy her used at a bargain if at all.

    She is not the only one that to me have been off the mark lately on an annual cycle that have been others and I hope they take a break and step back and look at their history and do a compare and make adjustments. Other authors like F. Paul Wilson on an annual cycle for his Repairman Jack (part suspense/part SF)series has given his fans other things to read while he writes. Like short stories or other works entirely not related to his main character. I could go on for days about this topic.

    One author I think we should keep our eye on, Brenda Novak, lets see how she does with her Watch series, she is releasing one of those books for the next three months, started with June. I hope she pulls it off. :-)

    Keri

  22. Jennifer Estep
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:41:05

    I wonder whether that is absolutely true. Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series ended up No. 1 on the NYT List and she is released just once a year. (I know she is releasing 2 books about every 7 months or so now but the Anna and Charles series has yet to be released and she still made it big time). Briggs wasn't a huge name before she hit.

    Ilona Andrews is another author whose seen good success with just one release a year. I think what has happened is that the norm seems to be 2 books a year and thus that is the reader expectation.

    I think some of it is the right book at the right time and reader expectation/buzz. But I think you also have to consider *how* people are being published. Some authors get a bigger push from their publishers than others. If you’re only releasing one book a year, but your publisher makes it an “event,” so to speak, you’re going to have more success and be able to support yourself easier than someone who’s putting out 2 or even 3 books a year who’s not getting that push.

  23. Cathy
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:46:55

    This topic came up on a Livejournal community a week or two ago, in reference to Laurell K. Hamilton. The gist was that what some see as a decline in the quality of her writing could be tied to the demands of writing a book a year for both the Merry and Anita series lines.

    Some authors clearly have enough ideas swirling around to generate 2 books a year (like Nora Roberts) while others need time to let their creative juices regenerate.

    Anyway, the general concensus in the comments of the LJ discussion was that most readers are willing to wait a year or two (or ten) if the author has demonstrated their quality. Melanie Rawn is one such author who comes to mind – it’s been 11 years since she wrote book 2 in her Exiles trilogy, but she’s still got a pretty devoted fan base waiting for book 3. And didn’t Stephen King take 20-odd years to finish the Dark Tower series?

    If I find a book or series that I really like, yeah, of course I want more right away. But I also know that these books don’t write themselves overnight, and there’s also a ton of other stuff out there to tide me over in the interim.

  24. Phyl
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 08:51:39

    There are so many factors that go into this conversation that it is impossible to generalize. Authors’ individual circumstances and methods of working are the primary drivers in how many books we’ll see from them in a given year.

    That said, I do appreciate it when a publisher and author are able to work together to release a series of books in close proximity to one another. This may mean a rather large gap between series, but it probably adds to the buzz when the series appears. The first three books of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series came out one per month. Liz Carlyle’s “Little” series was published one every 3 months back in 05/06, and then it was over a year until her next book. There are many more examples.

    These days, if the books aren’t coming out together, I find myself waiting until they’re all out. I have the latest Julia Quinn on my Fictionwise wishlist and I’ll buy in in September when the other book is released. I do the same with Nora’s trilogies. I have so many books I want to read in the meantime that it no longer bothers me to hold off awhile. I may miss out on some of the conversation, but in the long run I just relax and enjoy a lengthy trip into a different world without the frustration.

  25. Patty L.
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 09:33:48

    As a reader I love back to back releases. I love following characters month after month. That being said, I have found that I fall in love all over again with characters that I had to wait for a year+ to read. SEP is a prime example that quality comes with time. I love all of her books and am eagerly awaiting each new release. I just don’t care if it takes me a year to get one of her books, because I know I’m guaranteed an escape from reality.

  26. ilona andrews
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 09:39:36

    Jennifer,

    I’ve got exactly the same push as everyone else. I’m pretty sure Patricia did too. In fact, my editor was shocked when the second book did well and she actually told me on the phone, “Now we’ll start to push to get it higher!”

    Don’t get me wrong, my publisher is probably the best for my subgenre at the moment and they do an excellent job marketing and promoting, but it’s very rare to get a “push” from them until the books prove themselves to be sellers. They do everything in their power and budget to push every book they publish, but you don’t get the larger promo budget until you sell. Basically they throw us out there and if we swim, they’ll give us more promo and advertising. It’s seems a little cold but it is a good business strategy.

    So no event in my case, lol. I was so unknown at the point of my launch that my first book sold more copies in the second week of its release than in the first.

    As to having it be easier to support myself on one book a year, no, that’s not exactly true either. That’s why I just sold a second series.

  27. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 09:52:16

    I don't read Krentz, but I consistently buy Cherryh in hardcover so I marked other on the survey because some can be prolific and be entertaining and some are just prolific.

    And I was a huge Cherryh fan for years, but have stopped buying her. The quality fell WAY off when she went to HB, and then she/her publisher committed what I consider to be the ultimate insult to readers: In order to keep up with “the schedule” they put out a book (in HB!) in which *nothing* happened. It was a segue between the book that came before and the book that came after. And it wasn't very long, either. Clearly it SHOULD have been a part of the next novel, but that would have meant a long delay between books . . .

  28. sallahdog
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:03:41

    I can think of 2 authors who I love that write differently. Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.. Noras books I never have to wait long for, SEPs I haunt Amazon to see if its even on the preorder area yet.

    One way that it works in SEPs favor is that I spend so much time waiting for her new one, I tend to reread (and listen to on tape) her last one till I can practically quote it. whereas with Noras, because there is always a fix coming up, I couldnt always tell you in as much detail what happened in any given particular book…. Its not a competition though, I still buy both, and would hate for either of them to change the way they write if it made it harder for them.

    I can only think of one author that I read religiously that changed her timing, and that is Laurell K Hamilton. I attribute this going to more books a year to my unhappiness over her writing.. They are no longer edited well (IMO) and frankly, they don’t seem as well thought out or plotted out like they used to.. I no longer buy her books (and don’t even bother reading the Anitas)… So I would say from my own personal perspective, the pressure to write more, in her case, wasn’t a good idea..

  29. Lorelie
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:03:58

    I think for the most part it should be based on the author’s abilities. Are they a Roberts-type who can maintain quality at multiple publishings a year? Hot damn and bring it on. Do they start slipping if forced (either by expectations or their personal demands on themself) into a faster schedule? Give ‘em a break.

    I will add, however that I’m shallow. I’m often distracted by the new and the shiny and if an author goes *too* long between books, I’ve been known to forget about them. It’s a risk.

    And didn't Stephen King take 20-odd years to finish the Dark Tower series?

    Kind of. There was a very significant break between the first few books and the second half, but once he started again he kept a yearly schedule.

  30. Keri M
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:04:41

    Patti, you are correct about that, SEP is such a fantastic writer, I am on pins and needles waiting for hers to come out.

    Salladog yes and she is just keeps giving us the big tease on her website as to when it is going to come out. Keri

  31. sallahdog
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:14:22

    As someone who loves both Briggs (so much that I went back and read all her SF stuff after reading Moon called) and Andrews, I have to agree that “publisher push” wasn’t what got me to read EITHER of them… I didn’t read moon called till Blood bound was about to come out. I heard so much buzz about it on reader blogs I finally just decided to read it… I also learned about Andrews book on readers blogs… There have been just as many reader blogs that got me to read other first time releases, that I didn’t love and didn’t buy any more of.. Harrisons witch series being one of them (just weren’t for me)…

    If you write a good book, that connects with readers, thats the BEST push you can get… I may be on the internet, but I rarely if ever check out publisher websites or magazines promoting authors.. I don’t even hang out on author websites because I really don’t want to know if an author whos book I loved is an internet Ahole (because I want to continue to read)….

    For me, word of mouth and a kick ass cover with a great blurb will get me every time (the kick ass cover and blurb often let me down though)…

  32. sallahdog
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:15:56

    Salladog yes and she is just keeps giving us the big tease on her website as to when it is going to come out. Keri

    oh crap, now I am going to have to go there and check it out, thus blowing my ” do NOT check out author websites rule”…please tell me she doesn’t have music on her site…

  33. Keri M
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:33:45

    lol @ sallahdog, not to my knowledge, but I don’t spend alot of time on it, I just do hit and runs on it, checking to see if it has been updated. I don’t usually get involved in her forum, as they are a bit too cliquish ?sp for me. We can only hope it will be soon. I adored NBC and wasn’t ready for the book to be over. She has so many great books I can’t name just one as a fav, but that one came very close. :-) Keri

  34. Sherry Thomas
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:37:03

    I once wrote a full manuscript in three months. I was thrilled. I thought I’d be churning out four books a year for the rest of my natural life.

    Nope.

    Every book presents different challenges. I’m never writing another book with the hero and the heroine in a master/servant relationship because it took forever to write one that doesn’t make him come across as douche-y and her as a dingbat. I started writing Delicious in September of 2006, we went through three deadlines (I turned in three vastly different manuscripts) and it was only by April 2008 that I was finally done with all the edits, for a book with an August 2008 release date.

    When we negotiated my new contract, it was only very reluctantly that I agreed to a Dec 2008 deadline for the next manuscript, because the mere thought of another deadline made me break out in hives.

    But then a month later I told my editor that I would submit the first draft to her by the end of September 2008. Different story, tighter conflict, greater proximity, and I think I can pull it off in less time.

    So in my opinion, it is not the average writing time that takes a toll on the story, it is the particular time for the particular story. Manuscripts are like children, some are well-behaved, some will have you rue that you ever took up sexxing.

    I was fortunate that I was given enough time to work on the most difficult story I’ve had to write until the story finally came to me. Had I had only eight months, or even 12 months with it, it would have been a far inferior book.

  35. Maddie
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:43:02

    As much as I hate waiting on a author to release a new book I would rather it be once a year, I was a faithful reader of Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter series and I think that her earlier work in that series is her best as she branched out in the Dream Hunters and her Bad series, plus she write under another name.

    Dark Side of the Moon was the last book I read by her I have yet to buy Devil May Cry in paper back let alone buy her new book Acheron when that is release next momth in HC, and I only say this because I think she have stretched herself to thin with all of the different theme series.

    I will say that the only author that I buy in HC is Linda Howard, and she only does one book a year, but in the last 2 years she also put out 2 new paper backs plus hard covers.

    But I know as a reader we do become inpatient waiting for that new book from our favorite authors to hit the shelves but I would rather wait than read a book from one of my auto buys, then years later can’t even remember if I’ve read it or what the out come of the two lovers (this has happened) because the plot was so generic or their book has become so formalized that it’s cookie cutter plot with interchangeable names becomes a blur.

  36. Jia
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:47:02

    Anyway, the general concensus in the comments of the LJ discussion was that most readers are willing to wait a year or two (or ten) if the author has demonstrated their quality. Melanie Rawn is one such author who comes to mind – it's been 11 years since she wrote book 2 in her Exiles trilogy, but she's still got a pretty devoted fan base waiting for book 3.

    Ain’t that the truth. I’m one of those people who’s been waiting for The Captal’s Tower since forever. I know she came out with another (unrelated) novel recently, but I didn’t read it. I wanted my Exiles book 3, and I still do.

  37. Jenyfer Matthews
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:49:35

    Knowing how long it takes me to write a book that I’m satisfied with, I’m perfectly willing to wait as long as it takes.

    (That said, I was pretty impatient when Stephen King took so long to complete the Dark Tower series, sometimes several years between books)

  38. Jennifer Estep
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:54:22

    Ilona,

    I didn’t mean to imply that you or Patricia had gotten a bigger push than other authors. I just copied the whole quote without thinking. Obviously, I need some more sugar to kickstart my brain this morning.

    I was thinking more in terms of the Harry Potter series — which became the ultimate “event” books. Even the unveiling of the cover/title became an “event” in that series by the end. That’s one series where I think people would have waited 5 years or longer in between books.

    There are just so many things that go into a book besides the actual book itself — cover art, blurbs, marketing strategies, store placement, etc. Does a quicker publishing schedule make an author more successful? Does a slower one? Combine that with everything else that makes up a book, and it’s just tough to judge all the way around.

    But still, mea culpa, if I gave the wrong impression to anyone.

  39. Maya
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 10:59:41

    Quite apart from the quality issue, I don’t have the wallet power to keep up with freqent new releases from all my favorite authors, never mind all the hot new ones that keep popping up. So for me, speeding up the publication process is a little bit like the author shooting her/himself in the foot since I’m not going to have the dollars (or, frankly, the time) to keep upping my reading. And I consider myself a lifelong voracious reader.

  40. Joyce
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 11:06:55

    And I was a huge Cherryh fan for years, but have stopped buying her. The quality fell WAY off when she went to HB

    I’ve had that same experience with one of my favorite authors. When she went to HC, her writing changed and (for me), not for the better. I got the impression her publisher required/asked her to write books that would have wider appeal and so I found them to be less intense than her previous work.

    It really doesn’t matter to me how far apart or close together an author’s books are published, as long as I get a quality read. But, having said that, I do try to avoid books that are a series with a continuing storyline.

    Frankly, I’m more frustrated by an author who develops a series of related characters and then finds that one of the characters she created was difficult to build the story around. Then I have to slog through that book so I don’t miss anything important that might be revealed about other characters.

    As for perceptions: yes, I have found myself looking at a prolific author’s works, assuming her books must be cookie cutter, and avoiding them.

  41. Michelle
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 11:13:22

    If I love an author, I will wait years for her next book or I will buy all 6 released in one year. If I just like an author, I may forget about her if it takes years for her next book or I may write her off after reading one bad book among the 2 or 3 of her titles released that year. For me, it’s all about whether I enjoy reading her novels. If I do, I will happily continue to do so. I’m enough of a book fanatic that I remember the authors whose stories really stood out.

    I think when publishers say readers demand it they mean that the market rewards those authors who can (quickly) write consistently satisfying stories. Their sales will be better and increase more than authors who produce at a slower pace (with the caveat of if the “slow” author writes some of the best stories out there, her numbers will grow too – but maybe not so much if she writes just solid stories.)

    I would think that category may have started this idea that one needs to write 2-3 books a year to grow. They saw that their authors who produced that frequently sold better and then tried to mandate that for all their authors as a way to increase sales overall. I find it interesting that many of the most successful, prolific romance authors (Nora, Suz B., Mary Balogh) started out writing shorter, category novels. (I’d say the Signet traditional regency novels were category.)

    Another person who has pushed producing many titles in one year is James Patterson – and it’s my understanding that he was an advertising guru before he got published, and he was applying the lessons from one career to the other.

  42. janicu
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 11:38:02

    I prefer an author to not sacrifice time to lay out a good plot or fix whatever they need to in a book before sending it out. So I’d rather wait. I’m often not surprised at all to find a book with big plot holes or a cobbled together, rushed ending was written quickly.

  43. Estara
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 11:58:52

    For a gripping series I will wait any length of time. I’m not sure about single works. If there are ten years between them, I might forget the author’s name, if they weren’t very prolific at the start.

    The – for my money – best epic fantasy ever written by a woman is being written by P.C. Hodgell and she had writer’s block for a time, and was a professor and had problems with her publishers and is just now getting back into the regular groove, with a contract with the first major sf house for her ever: Baen.

    I was introduced to Jamethiel and her world with the British collected edition Chronicles of the Kencyrath in 1887 and am now happy owner of all her Meisha Merlin editions (although she wrote that she didn’t even see most of the money from that when Meisha Merlin folded) – I’ll just have to buy the Baen new collections, too now.

    If you’ve never read her books and are an epic fantasy fan of female heroines and great worldbuilding, you’re missing out. Her wikipedia page is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.C._Hodgell – and she finally got herself a website with some excerpts, too (although she isn’t her own webguru): http://www.pchodgell.com/site/

  44. Ann Bruce
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 12:11:37

    From what I’ve seen, the multiple releases in one year stems more from e-book authors than print authors. I always hear from e-book authors that to be successful, you need a mega backlist because e-books will not make as much as print books per release (smaller market and less public exposure). When a few of these e-authors moved to NY publishers, they kept the same schedule. Now, I think we’re seeing a spillover effect with print publishers pushing their more traditional authors to have the same output as their e-book authors to be competitive.

    BTW, my opinion is totally unscientific.

  45. Leeann Burke
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 12:11:58

    I remember discussing this with fellow authors at conferences in the past. I was surprised at the time to find out that some authors are pressured into agreeing to a 2 book a year deal. Silly me I thought they all wanted to crank out two or more books a year. While others want to have something new to offer readers every 6 months.

    I’ll be honest I’m a greedy reader. I love buying new books from my favorite authors which I won’t list since I have too many. If you saw my to be read pile of books (over 900 currently) you'd see the extent of my addiction. However I only support two books a year if and only if the author can produce quality work without going insane or burning out.

  46. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 12:21:45

    The – for my money – best epic fantasy ever written by a woman is being written by P.C. Hodgell

    OMFG YES!!! I’ve waiting YEARS between books and I don’t care. I don’t forget. I just wait and yearn and dream and hope . . . and reread.

    I’d go so far as to trim that down to [One of] the best epic fantasies being being written [is] by P.C. Hodgell.

  47. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 12:24:19

    Got too excited, can’t type, edit function not working.

    That should be “I’ve waited years” not “I’ve waiting”. *argh*

  48. Diana Pharaoh Francis
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 12:41:40

    I just finished a book that took me a little under four months. That’s unusual for me, but the reason I tried it that way was in order to try to keep the story fresh and inside my mind the entire time. I often feel like in writing over a longer time that I lose track and there’s a kind of stress that comes from that that is terribly uncomfortable. I’m not sure I can write that fast as the norm. I do think the book is good (though we’ll see what my editor thinks). And I had outlined pretty carefully and I had really developed the characters beforehand.

    As an experiment, it did what I hoped it would–I felt more connected to the story all the way through. I will likely try it again and see if it’s repeatable.

  49. Estara
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 12:51:48

    Kalen Hughes: I'd go so far as to trim that down to [One of] the best epic fantasies being written [is] by P.C. Hodgell.

    You’re so right. I’m being unconsciously sexist. She’s my personal follow-up to Tolkien, only more to my taste.

  50. Leah
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 12:57:04

    I did the 70 Days of Sweat challenge (where you’re supposed to push yourself to get some 70,000 words done in a certain amt of time–or whatever your personal goal is)a few months ago. Some participants were unpublished (like me!). Others were published and trying to meet deadlines. Although I knew that writing doesn’t provide the big bucks to everyone, I was amazed (and inspired, and encouraged) by the progress posts in which everyone discussed how they struggled to fit in writing between sick kids, day jobs, moving, household crises, visiting relatives, holiday tasks, etc. etc. IMHO, if they want these writers (generally women) to produce at a high level, they need to pay them enough to get household help and nannies!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. GrowlyCub
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 13:02:57

    It really irritates me when publishers put out books back to back and then publish the last book in the series in HC while all the others are paperback. *Really* annoys me. I don’t like waiting and I don’t like mixing HC and paper for any series.

    In general, I’ve seen a decline in quality the longer a series goes on and in some cases also when an author went from writing single titles to writing related stories.

    Personally, I’d rather wait than get mediocre or outright awful stuff.

    Also, there’s nothing worse than when an author has to write another book in a series when they really don’t want to. It’s painfully obvious when their hearts aren’t in it.

  52. Alison Kent
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 13:30:16

    I’ve been waiting for a new Lehane forever, and see his September release is 720 pages long, oy. I can’t imagine writing something with such a scope in even a year!

  53. Cathy
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 13:43:20

    Jia said:

    Ain't that the truth. I'm one of those people who's been waiting for The Captal's Tower since forever. I know she came out with another (unrelated) novel recently, but I didn't read it. I wanted my Exiles book 3, and I still do.

    Jia, I hate to spread bad news so early in the week, but Rawn is actually working on the sequels to Spellbinder right now. #2 is due out in December I think, and she’s writing #3 now. I really enjoyed Spellbinder, and would recommend it to a fan of her writing. It has a modern-day setting, so it’s very different from her previous work, but still has all the elements that made Exiles and DP/DS so good. (However, I’m still dying to get my hands on Captal’s Tower. I want to know who Collan is!) :)

  54. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 13:45:31

    Estara: It’s a fab series. I read the first book, GOD STALK, back in 82 when I was still a kid and fell in LOVE . . . had to wait years (till 86) for DARK OF THE MOON. Found the short story STRANGER BLOOD about a year later, then waited till 94 for seekers mask and 06 for her latest TO RIDE A RATHORN.

    For those that are counting, that’s up to 12 years between books (and yes, this an epic fantasy centered around one central character!) and 24 years over all that I’ve been following this series, always hoping and praying that “the rest” (whatever that may turn out to be) is coming . . .

  55. Allison Brennan
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:10:09

    I’m comfortable writing three books a year. I know how long it generally takes me to write a book, and then tack on all that other stuff (copy edits, page proofs, editor revisions) and three books a year works for me. I know that if I were asked to write one book a year, I’d spend nine months procrastinating, going to the beach, playing video games, swimming, taking the kids to Disneyland, then two months writing eight-to-ten hours a day. My goal is for each book to be better than the last, which is not always easy and not everyone agrees what is better and what isn’t. I had two emails about my latest from two close friends of mine–one who said it was my best book to date, and the other who said she liked the previous one better. But time isn’t one of the problems. I had a year to write my second book (long lead-time to publication, I was working full-time, and I had a baby in the middle of it.) I rewrote the book three times before sending it to my editor–and I had far more revisions on that book than any of my books. I wrote one book in six weeks and had the least amount of editor revisions. The story was just . . . there, it came out smoothly.

    It’s like the great debate about plotting or not plotting (at least among authors!)–there is no right way to write, just what’s right for the individual author. Same for how long it takes to write a good book.

  56. Jia
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:12:18

    I hate to spread bad news so early in the week, but Rawn is actually working on the sequels to Spellbinder right now.

    Oh, I know. So no worries, it’s not really bad news to me since I’ve more or less accepted the fact that I might never get Captal’s Tower.

    I want to know who Collan is!

    You know, I once had a complete theory about who he was, with references and details and everything because I’m that kind of deranged fan, but it’s been so long, I honestly can’t remember.

    Now I want to read the books again.

    And now, I also want to pick up a book by P.C. Hodgell since I’ve somehow never been introduced to her work. Where would be a good place to start?

  57. azteclady
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:26:01

    Without reading the comments yet: I waited years for Jean M Auel’s Shelters of Stone. You don’t want to know how that worked for me. Serioulsy, you don’t.

    Off to read comments now.

  58. Jeaniene Frost
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:28:12

    I really think that whole minutes-per-mile analogy is true. Some writers are like Thomas Harris or John Berendt, putting out books only once every several years, because that’s how long *they* need for their best effort. And then you have authors who can put together their best effort very rapidly, like Nora Roberts. Who’s right? All of them. Writing shouldn’t be done by cookie-cutter method, in my humble newbie opinion.

    If an author feels like it’s too short a time for their best effort to write three, two, or one book every year, then he/she shouldn’t do it. In that scenario, chances are, quality will suffer. But if an author is able to do that and still put forth their best effort, then he/she should do it. For some authors, having them wait x-amount of time between books doesn’t ensure higher quality any more than forcing an author to produce too many books too quickly ensures a happy fan base (again, in my humble opinion). There’s no one size fits all.

    Also, some authors might not be writing as fast as readers think. I’d written three books in my series before I sold the first one, for example. So, my two books and an anthology all released within twelve months didn’t mean I’d rushed to crank out the stories – it meant the stories I’d already written were finally getting published.

  59. GrowlyCub
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:30:58

    Without reading the comments yet: I waited years for Jean M Auel's Shelters of Stone. You don't want to know how that worked for me. Serioulsy, you don't.

    Let’s not talk either about the fact that I got so excited about SoS coming out that I bought all the books in the new HC so I’d have a matching set, got the Spanish version and the 28 disk audio as well. I won’t tell you how I felt about that book, seriously I won’t!

    I guess the book title’s acronym should have clued us in, right AL?

  60. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:33:21

    And now, I also want to pick up a book by P.C. Hodgell since I've somehow never been introduced to her work. Where would be a good place to start?

    You pretty much have to read them in order. So start with GOD STALK (note: if you can find DARK OF THE GODS it’s an ominibus that contains the first two books). I know the Science Fiction Book Club (horror that it is) usually has her books in stock. Otherwise they can be very hard to find.

  61. azteclady
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:36:28

    With due apologies if I’m getting this wrong but…

    Is there a sense that writing fast equals poor quality every single time?

    And that writing slowly equals masterpiece quality, also every single time?

    ’cause if that’s so….

    Dude. I couldn’t disagree more.

  62. azteclady
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:42:18

    Okay, Jeanienne Frost and Nora Roberts and others are not saying what I was reading–apologies for that.

    And I love the X miles per minute thing.

    Or mile per X minutes.

    Whatever.

    GrowlyCub: ohgawd indeed! *chuckle* it was a cry for help–a nice editor with big scissors :grin:

  63. Keishon
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:55:46

    I've been waiting for a new Lehane forever, and see his September release is 720 pages long, oy. I can't imagine writing something with such a scope in even a year

    Ditto that. Hey, Ms. Kent, I even heard he still writes his stories long hand. [g] Maybe that speaks of quality, too.

  64. DS
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 14:59:51

    Kalen Hughes on July 1st, 2008 at 12:21 pm:

    The – for my money – best epic fantasy ever written by a woman is being written by P.C. Hodgell

    OMFG YES!!! I've waiting YEARS between books and I don't care. I don't forget. I just wait and yearn and dream and hope . . . and reread.

    I'd go so far as to trim that down to [One of] the best epic fantasies being being written [is] by P.C. Hodgell.

    Really love Hodgell. And she has the worst luck with her publishers. Hypatia Press also folded owing her.

    As for Cherryh in hardback, she started out as PBOs but by the early to mid 80’s she was being released in hardcover first. When I dearly love an author I buy her books in hardcover (and often in paperback and audio form too. She has written some books that I wouldn’t bother to reread but it’s never stopped me from grabbing her next.

  65. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 15:07:02

    I write the first draft very quickly, but I take a long time revising and tweaking it, with lots of revisions.
    I tend to lose the impetus if I don’t get the initial story down, but it’s very rough. I think a lot of writers might work that way, layering the story up, adding depth and highlights. If I missed that step I wouldn’t be very happy with the book.
    Some writers seem to write a lot, because they write short, and even in New York, the average length of a book is getting shorter, if you see what I mean!

  66. Robin
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 15:12:16

    I don’t care how long (or not) a book takes to get written; I care about well-written books. And I am struck, once again, by how much of what seems to motivate certain decisions comes from a place of anxiety or fear. That just can’t be good for the books. I realize it’s not realistic to only think about the art, but trying to please readers strikes me as an even more dangerous mindset.

    As Jane said, readers may want more books, but we’ll wait. I want a palatial estate with a full live-in staff to attend to my almost every need, but if that’s not available, I’ll take what I have and be grateful for it. I don’t want to be responsible for how fast an author turns out books, and at the same time I don’t want to have to censor my praise because it might appear as pressure to an author.

    As a reader, my loyalty is ultimately to the book. For me, one great book will always outweigh a hundred okay books in my memory and my recommendations. If an author writes a book I love, I will cry to the mountain tops about how much I love the book and how I can’t wait for the next one. And if I hate the next book, I’ll whine and complain (loudly) about how disappointing it was. No author will be able to please me by trying to anticipate what I want, and I frankly think it’s the same for most readers. So authors, IMO, should not listen to us, but should instead listen to whatever voice guides the work, at whatever pace it naturally moves.

  67. Kerry D.
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 15:16:14

    Lately I’ve been wondering why it is that suddenly I’m up to my ears in books I want to read when in the past (going back a few years, I admit) things didn’t seem to be this overwhelming. Maybe this is the answer. More books coming out by my favourite authors, plus more books by interesting new authors equals a TBR that’s going to fall over and bury me soon.

    I have health issues that means reading is less easy than it used to be and there are times when I find myself really quite stressed by the height of Mount TBR.

    It’s getting to the point that when a favourite author comes out with a new series I find myself hoping I won’t like the premise so I’m not committed to the time and cost (because like Maya said, I simply don’t have enough money to buy all these books coming out) of another series.

    I agree with everyone who has said that authors should be writing at whatever pace allows them to produce their best work, but I have quite enough authors to read that one book a year from each will still keep me very busy so I’m like some of the pressure to come off this reader, never mind the authors.

  68. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 15:31:07

    With due apologies if I'm getting this wrong but… Is there a sense that writing fast equals poor quality every single time? And that writing slowly equals masterpiece quality, also every single time? 'cause if that's so….Dude. I couldn't disagree more.

    I don’t think that’s exactly what people are saying. I think it’s more that for those authors who don’t naturally write quickly (like Allison, who, god-love-her, is a freak *grin*) there is a LOT of industry pressure to produce at a rate that we may not be able to keep up with (or what we produce will be substandard for us). Clearly some authors can, and do, produce fabulous books at a spanking pace. But the pressure for all of us to be able to keep up with them is really quite intense.

  69. LinM
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 15:32:24

    A note to Jane – I really liked the poll yesterday revealing the topic of today's post. It was interesting to have a chance to think about the topic before reading the article. My biggest fears for the escalating publishing schedules are that prolific authors may produce books that are repetitive and less interesting and that some midlist authors will be dropped because they cannot meet unrealistic timetables. It may just be me but I am seeing more “series” books which I attribute in part to a reduced timetable. The author that broke my heart is Anne Stuart and the “Ice” series. The premise left me cold and suddenly an autobuy author became a “wait for this to pass” author. Her success with the series tells me that I am in the minority and I don't begrudge her a minute of that success but I am waiting for her (and other longtime favourite authors) to release a single title again.

    Michelle said: If I love an author, I will wait years for her next book. Absolutely. Like Estara, my first thought was of P.C. Hodgell. I also read the first book of the “God Stalk Chronicles” in 1982. When “To Ride a Rathborn” arrived in 2007, I held the book with joy and fear. Fear because “God Stalk” was published when Hodgell was a grad student and “Rathborn” was published after she retired from University of Wisconsin. I wondered if the 25 years from student to retirement would change the magic. To my joy, the books had the feel and focus, the same layering of myth and legend, and the same engaging characters. For ebook readers, BAEN is still selling the entire series for $20.

  70. Mary Mary
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 16:49:24

    I wish more writers who are so eager to get published that they go with the first publisher who offers a contract would slow down. Not to put down e-books, as I’m e-pub’ed myself, but some authors I know get a contract, and then put out 4 books a year and their writing is very unpolished.

    They crank out novels like a Xerox machine and pay less attention to what really counts in writing; the craft. I’d rather see them wait and perfect their work instead of banging out of the gate with the first e-pub who wants to sign them, and we all know how some e-pubs these days are less than reputable.

    It’s not easy to make a living writing. But you’re better off with a day job and sticking to polishing your craft than cranking out junk.

  71. allison
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 16:54:07

    As someone who just finished reading a book I’ve waited 9 years for, I see it both ways. I’m glad to see more of Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series but, in a way, I was horribly disappointed in it because I had built up the next bit so much in my head.

    I re-read the first three books in the series shortly before reading book 4 and it also read as if, because it was so long between book 3 and book 4, that she lost her characters. They didn’t have the same flow and characteristics. Then there were the canon errors.

    In the end, I think the long time between the books was just a bit too long for the author herself more than me as the writer. There were other things (both from her and from other authors) to keep me occupied. I just wish she had been able to maintain continuity better.

  72. loonigrrl
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 17:20:12

    If the author is worth it, I will wait YEARS for another book. Someone else mentioned Kristin Britain’s Green Rider series, and I totally agree. I don’t mind waiting because I love those books.

    I also just finished waiting years for Isobelle Carmody’s The Stone Key- the latest in her Obernewtyn series. I think the wait between books was something like 9 or 10 years. I couldn’t have been more excited to read it, though, and had it shipped over from Australia the second it was published.

  73. Bonnie
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 18:26:33

    For me, it’s not about the time, it’s about the quality. If a good author can’t put out two or three books a year, then I’ll wait and enjoy.

    Honestly, I can’t stand reading a rushed story. It shows, I see it and am ultimately disappointed.

    I’d rather wait.

  74. azteclady
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 18:32:06

    I’ll wait for a writer I’ve liked and hope for a good story–I’m waiting for Diana Gabaldon, aren’t I?–but a year or two or more between books doesn’t guarantee quality, which is what I feel is implied in the original post.

    If Jane didn’t mean to imply it, and I’m the only one reading it that way, then mea culpa and apologies–but frankly, that’s how it reads.

  75. orannia
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 18:35:54

    I also have been patiently waiting for The Captal’s Tower. When my best friend first told me that she had written a completely different book (Spellbinder) I have to admit to a small rant. However, I’m calmer now and back to patiently waiting (oh, and keeping my fingers crossed). FYI – I’m also happy to wait for the next installment in the Green Rider series (by Kristen Britain).

    While I love authors to write at the speed of light and churn out books ASAP, I would much rather have a quality book. Although….usually after just finishing a book I’m dying for the sequel.

    orannia

  76. Jill Sorenson
    Jul 01, 2008 @ 19:46:35

    It seems as though there’s more pressure on new authors (who often don’t have the luxury of quitting their day job) to produce fast. Readers are less likely to “forget” a well-established author, and more likely to wait for his or her next installment. Plus, there’s a backlist for the impatient.

  77. Keri M
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 09:47:37

    I was thinking about this thread as I dropped off to sleep and two authors came to mind that I still hold out hope that one day I will see their work again. Beth Amos wrote three killer romantic suspense novels back in the 90s and her and her publisher parted ways and she never got picked up by anyone else that I know of. She wrote one other mystery/cozy type thing that I think she self-published and that is it.

    The other is Terry Lawrence, Terry wrote books for Loveswept in the 80s and 90s and then had one mainstream romance called Before I Wake. It was about a man who had troubles sleeping due to the fact that he has pre-cognitive abilities via his dreams and his romantic interest was a sleep doctor who had her own sleep issues in which she slept-walked or in this book, slept-cooked. ;-) It was a awesome story and you can still pick it up used on several sites. But she never wrote another thing as far as I know. Does anybody remember her or know the story?

    So to Beth A and Terry L you still have fans who are still interested in reading your work. Keri

  78. areader
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 14:30:47

    If Jane didn't mean to imply it, and I'm the only one reading it that way, then mea culpa and apologies-but frankly, that's how it reads.

    That’s how it reads to me as well.

  79. karmelrio
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 16:32:11

    I wish both writers and publishers would err, if necessary, on the side of fewer books per year with a higher level of quality. Several authors whose earlier works I LOVED seemed to… run out of steam? lose the spark? once they started publishing on a more accellerated schedule – for example (and IMO), Anne Rice with her vampires, MaryJanice Davidson, and Laurell K. Hamilton. One mid-list author whose work I love (and who belongs to my RWA chapter) is thisclose to burnout trying to write 3 books a year plus keep her day job. Ultimately, who does this serve? The publisher gets maximum short-term profitability, but kills the goose that lays the golden egg. This is shortsighted in the extreme.

    Also, may I echo the poster above who talked about how annoying it is to have early books in a series released in paperback, and the latter in hardcover? In addition to totally effing up my bookshelf feng shui, this voracious reader doesn’t buy hardcovers. Ever. They have serious usability problems. Too big, too heavy. Tough to read in the bathtub. Tough to travel with.

    I’ve been reading Kenyon, Hamilton and Feehan for ages, but unfortunately I’ll be checking their new hardcover releases out from the library.

  80. Evangeline
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 20:11:12

    I think the romance genre is a whole ‘nother ballgame when it comes to the publishing schedule–and the sub-genres have different dynamics as well. Urban Fantasy is hot, and a really good author will shoot to the top. Romantic Suspense does well because the audience is made up of male and female readers, and people who don’t read romance novels. Historical romance? Not to so much.

  81. Evangeline
    Jul 02, 2008 @ 20:23:50

    I think the romance genre is a whole ‘nother ballgame when it comes to the publishing schedule–and the sub-genres have different dynamics as well. Urban Fantasy is hot, and a really good author will shoot to the top. Romantic Suspense does well because the audience is made up of male and female readers, and people who don’t read romance novels. Historical romance? Not to so much.

    From what I have observed, the readership for historical romance has no cross-audience (paranormal and fantasy romance get the fantasy and horror readers, while romantic suspense gets mystery and thriller readers, and some straight contemporaries [SEP] get chick-lit readers. History lovers and readers of historical fiction sans a background in romance don’t really flock to historical romance). Even though it comprises a significant portion of the romance genre, that static number of readers makes it difficult for newbies and midlisters to rise to the top without the combination of solid buzz and close release dates. Couple this with the saturation of one type of historical romance and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

    Because I write historical romance, I made the decision to write my best, but also conscientiously of the forces that work against historicals. Barring circumstances beyond my control, I have control over my productivity. Whether I end up writing four books a year or just one book, in the end, it is my own personal satisfaction in my writing and mental health that matters.

  82. Jessica
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 10:03:28

    What does this say about category romance authors? Sarah Mayberry whose first two books I loved, is on contract to write what seems like a million books a year for Harlequin Blaze and the quality is suffering mightily. I’d be willing to wait for plenty of time between authors, and just have more good authors out there to enjoy. I also love to discover series later, like Julia Spencer Fleming’s books, and go back and buy and read them. They’re just as pleasing years later, and there’s NO wait between books.

  83. Suze
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 18:12:31

    While I moan and whine about having to wait, the waiting is better than the disappointment that crushes me when the book just doesn’t deliver.

    Laura Kinsale said it was having to meet deadlines that made her muse skedaddle, so now we’re ALL waiting until she finds a publisher who will give her the freedom she needs in her contract. As soon as a new Kinsale books comes out, I’ll pre-order a half-dozen copies in excitement, and then buy it in the store when my order doesn’t come in time.

    If Sharon and Tom Curtis ever write a sequel to Windflower, I’ll be a happy girl–if it’s worth the wait. If it turns out to be a cash run, I’ll cry like a little kid.

    A bunch of series started coming out in hardback, with subsequent drop-off in quality, and I find I have no problem at all waiting for these books to be available in the library. Hamilton I don’t even borrow anymore, I can’t remember who she’s sexxing up from one chapter to the next. I borrow Sherrilyn Kenyon, Linda Howard, Jayne Krentz.

    People for whom I’m really impatient, pre-order, and then buying in-store before my order comes: Patricia Briggs, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Wen Spencer. And honestly, ladies, take your time. Do whatever it is you need to do to write the stories that you do. I thank you.

  84. Links « Jorrie Spencer
    Jul 04, 2008 @ 12:36:04

    […] by Jorrie Elsewhere, at Beyond the Veil, I wrote about writing speed. This inspired in part by Dear Author’s post. Since then I’ve seen that AAR has a discussion going, Are Authors Being Pushed to Write Too […]

  85. Estara
    Aug 03, 2008 @ 14:43:59

    Some info updates on our mutual P.C. Hodgell lovefest ^^. Baen will be publishing the current Kencyrath books in hardcover, starting in January http://www.amazon.com/God-Stalker-Chronicles-P-C-Hodgell/dp/1416555765/

    The ebook versions are all still available at Baen webscriptions
    http://www.webscription.net/s-122-p-c-hodgell.aspx

    AND according to her website http://www.pchodgell.com/ and her LiveJournal http://tagmeth.livejournal.com/ she has a contract for at least one new book in the series.

    AND if you can get to WorldCon in Denver this year, she’s reading from the new novel… I’m so jealous :P
    http://tagmeth.livejournal.com/5604.html

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