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Old 05-15-2012, 08:48 PM   #1
VydorScope
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A book a year is slacking!

NY Times article....

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/bu...&smid=tw-share

What do you think?
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:24 AM   #2
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It seemed to me that, despite the headline, the article was more about the need to keep material coming for marketing purposes (keep your readers happy and stay in their faces) - than it was about only one-book-a-year being slack. And, I suspect, there is probably an element of truth in it when viewing things from the perspective of ebooks and online publishing. The blogs (etc) that do well are the ones that regularly come up with interesting articles that encourage people to keep coming back, so the idea that novel writers should also be more prolific fits with this profile.

To a certain extent I think this has always been true; prolific authors get to build on their successes, whereas sporadic authors tend to have each new book stand on their own. The difference in this brave new world of the Internet is that the timing has picked up, or perhaps peoples' attention spans have reduced ... or both.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
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The difference in this brave new world of the Internet is that the timing has picked up, or perhaps peoples' attention spans have reduced ... or both.

I do think that our blog/e-world does seem to encourage ADD type media consumption. My one blog that I do weekly is normally around 1000 words, and it seems like that puts me in the upper echelon for "long" blogs.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:38 AM   #4
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What I find amazing is that the pace of book reading appears to have picked up. I've always read a great deal. Now, even with all the time I spend writing, I'm reading more books than I did.

And those readers aren't shy about asking for what they want. Commenting on this same article on another blog, one author said she'd had a reader visit her blog and curse her out for not having another book out by now. Civility may be dead, but reading is way up.

Unfortunately I'm a slow writer. Six months into my next novel, I'm only 1/3 done. I revise constantly. I know people say not to do that, but I feel having the start of the book laid out as I want it, makes the rest of the book easier to write.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:31 AM   #5
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I'm a slow writer too, and always have been. A book a year for me was pushing it, when I was doing it, and probably helped contribute to my burn-out a few years back (still kind of recovering from that.)

So now I write at my own pace and don't worry about it. I think most readers, even if they get a little frustrated with waiting, understand the creative process works differently from one writer to the next. And it's not as if readers can't find plenty of other books to read while waiting. ATM, I have 123 books in my TBR pile, the majority added within the last year. I'm sure other folks have as many books, if not more, waiting to be read.

Strangely enough, I tend to avoid prolific authors when shopping. It's not about quality, perceived or actual, but that I want to read lots of different books by lots of different authors. Reading, for me, has become something of an adventure of discovery, but I can understand wanting to stick to the tried and true too.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:47 PM   #6
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I know this will sound vanilla, but 24 books into my career I'd say it's up to each writer to find the personal pace that works. There's enough built-in stress with being a writer, without adding to it. Do the writers in that profile sound happy? Mostly, they do not. Writing is hard work, for sure, but I think it's possible to produce - to even produce a lot! - without feeling the need to meet some artificial standard of productivity.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:53 PM   #7
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a book a year is about my norm...I can't imagine draining the well more often. yikes
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:06 AM   #8
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Is there a danger that as popular authors franchise their work, like Patterson, readers will be less likely to try something new?
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
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a book a year is about my norm...I can't imagine draining the well more often. yikes
Well if you'd get that dog outta your lap, typing might be easier.

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Old 05-17-2012, 07:07 AM   #10
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Well if you'd get that dog outta your lap, typing might be easier.

Would that be so that could get a better shot at the poor canine?
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:29 AM   #11
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LOL. touché. she's usually at my feet when I write, keeping my tootsies warm. Without her, I'd have to buy a heating pad.
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:55 AM   #12
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some people just have the ability to crank them out. (i hesitated a bit at using the term crank because that kind of implies low quality). i mainly read indies and i'd say just about all of them that i enjoy put out multiple books each year of consistent quality. i don't know how they're able to do it.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:32 AM   #13
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If writing was my primary job, I could probably do 2 a year... but since its my 3rd job, and I am in grad school.... no way.
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:16 PM   #14
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There is also the potential problem of saturation I think. I mean in the past if an author wrote too many books within a given amount of time the publisher's would have him/her use a pen name to avoid things looking too cluttered with one author's work. Also I think that some readers might get the impression that the writing must be of low quality if a given author has 10 books coming out around the same time just as an example. I'd guess that there might be a chance of the work seeming to be based on a formula as well if an author writes too many too quickly. For example a romance writer might follow the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again structure with characters that follow similar types too often and thereby crank out a good number of books in a quick space of time, but then if you read one you've pretty much read them all since they all follow the same pattern. Part of what takes so long to write a book I think is that sense of originality that a book should have. In a romance we know the guy will get the girl (or not if it's a tragedy) but it's the journey from the start of the story to the finish that a reader wants to experience.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:29 PM   #15
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It depends on the goals you have as a writer, and to some degree how you write. It seems to me to write one complete novel a year is damned good going.

There have been enormously prolific novelists - John Creasey springs to mind with over 450 novels but he needed numerous pen-names to do it. Few if any of Creasey's novels are really memorable, and most are out of print (although there may be an unexplored digital market yet).

Edgar Wallace was another prolific writer. Again, few of his are truly memorable (and I've read most of them) but at leastthe majority of them are now epubs.

E Phillips Oppenheim poured out hundreds of all-but-unreadable novels which, fortunately, a few die-hard fans have turned into ebooks (he is out of copyright in Australia). Only The Great Impersonation is remembered now.

Contrast Raymond Chandler's miserly half dozen or so novels, mostly expanded or re-hashed from his earlier pulp short stories. All in print, all different, all memorable.

Or Hammett's tiny output, of which at least two -- The Thin Man and The Maltese Falcon-- look like lasting indefinitely.

One thing which happens when you use a series character is that you rapidly run flat out into the improbability barrier. Real detectives will tell you that in a full career they might have just one major, dramatic or sensational case; what they do NOT have is lots and lots of them, all ending in face-to-face fights to the death with the baddy.

I think Lee Child already faces this with Jack Reacher. Look at Spenser--how many people has this PI killed over the years? Two or three each novel seems typical, and there have been many novels. He's probably Boston's biggest serial killer.

There's no doubt a fixed production schedule can result in a cookie-cutter product if the author is not very careful. Still, if you do it full-time for a living I suppose the schedule is necessary: new novels keep the old ones alive. Once new ones stop appearing, all too often the previous books' sales decline rapidly. Sometimes you can't afford to quit.
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