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Old 06-07-2017, 11:24 AM   #16
Cinisajoy
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
There is such a proliferation of reading material available, and only limited time and money to spend on it. Covers and blurbs don't help reduce the list much. (Covers are so generic, so many good professional covers, but all so much the same within a genre that they offer little help in choosing). Whereas a quick look at the author's page showing what they've written takes me less time than reading a preview and gives me yet another way to cull a list back. Anyone with several novels under their belt obviously means business and could be worth spending some time on the preview.
On your last sentence, I am not so sure about that one. I know an author whose first 6 books were very good. So much so, he was an auto-buy when the next one came out. It was a series but all could stand alone.
He had a good editor. Well written. Then along came book 7, I don't know if his editor didn't read it or he told his editor he knew what was best for his books or what. It was so horrible that I didn't even get halfway through it. His regular readers gave it very poor reviews on Amazon.
The book looked like he had listened to a certain group of people. (You must have nudity, you must have a quasi romance, you must be meticulously detailed about everything).
Nudity is fine if it has a purpose, no every main guy does not need to hook up with a woman, and some things the less details the better.

Needless to say, I haven't bought another of his books.

And back to the question, both please.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
That's the trouble, isn't it? You only get one chance to make a first impression, as the old saying goes and if that first impression is bad, most readers won't be back to try more books by the same author; there are too many good books out there for it to be worth spending time doing so.
Unfortunately for the readers, there is an easy way around that:

Authors can have multiple pen names, so what on the face of it might look like an author publishing one book per year could actually be someone churning out six books per year under six different pen names.

Pen names also allow authors to publish poor quality books without any consequences for their reputation, since they can simply switch to a new pen name once word gets around about the old one.

(Edit: The author being published by a well-known publisher helps with the second part though, because then the publisher has their own reputation on the line as well.)

Last edited by GeoffR; 06-07-2017 at 02:01 PM. Reason: The author being published ...
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:36 PM   #18
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Interesting question. I would tend to lean towards quality too, but lately I've been reading a lot of old pulp stories/authors. You get guys like H. Bedford Jones or Max Brand, who churned out thirty million words over their lifetime with remarkably consistent quality...makes me wonder if we might see that again in the self-publish age, with so many authors and so few gatekeeprs.. Maybe some of the more prolific self-publishers might reach that level where they can play both sides of the quality/quantity question. Will be interesting to see.
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Old 06-08-2017, 04:36 AM   #19
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If I see an author has written what I perceive as too many books in a short time period, it's an almost automatic "no" for me--it indicates that someone is simply churning out product without quality control.
Which can be yet another reason to look at what else the author has written as part of the culling process.

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Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post
On your last sentence, I am not so sure about that one. I know an author whose first 6 books were very good. So much so, he was an auto-buy when the next one came out. It was a series but all could stand alone.
He had a good editor. Well written. Then along came book 7, [...]
It's not as if I use volume of books as a hard rule. Like the pirate's code it is merely a guideline and isn't always to be trusted. Some people's first books are great and would have been well worth the effort. But as a rough indicator that the writer is serious about writing, it's a good start.

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Interesting question. I would tend to lean towards quality too, but lately I've been reading a lot of old pulp stories/authors. You get guys like H. Bedford Jones or Max Brand, who churned out thirty million words over their lifetime with remarkably consistent quality...makes me wonder if we might see that again in the self-publish age, with so many authors and so few gatekeeprs.. Maybe some of the more prolific self-publishers might reach that level where they can play both sides of the quality/quantity question. Will be interesting to see.
This is an interesting observation. I immediately thought of several authors that fit this nicely, some even went to the bother of using pen names in order to be able to publish more than traditional publishers were otherwise comfortable with.

One of the problems with the subject of quality vs quantity when brought up where self-publishing is discussed is that people tend to concentrate on the really awful stuff (and yes, there is a lot of it), but at the better end there are various grades of quality. And some authors do good pulp. Lots of fun without any hangups: a one-night-stand in book form.

Last edited by gmw; 06-08-2017 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:55 PM   #20
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Interesting question. I would tend to lean towards quality too, but lately I've been reading a lot of old pulp stories/authors. You get guys like H. Bedford Jones or Max Brand, who churned out thirty million words over their lifetime with remarkably consistent quality...makes me wonder if we might see that again in the self-publish age, with so many authors and so few gatekeeprs.. Maybe some of the more prolific self-publishers might reach that level where they can play both sides of the quality/quantity question. Will be interesting to see.
Ah but in the days of the old pulp writers you had a very unique set of circumstances. 1)It was during the depression when at least half the country was out of work. 2)Most editors at most paid .01 or .02 a word and sometimes not even that 3) Things were literally hand to mouth for many writers back then. Many vanished without a trace or died young of alcoholism. So in some cases at least (if not most) if you were a pulp writer you had to write if you were going to eat. There is also the fact that they had ready markets (the pulp magazines) which are mostly gone now. So where they might maybe make $40.00 (at .02 for 2000 words) right from the magazine now you can't be sure how many people will buy your work. Also that $40.00 for that 2000 word story might be the only money that that author might ever see for that story. While you might see more in the long run today there is still a lot more uncertainty about seeing any than back then.
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:33 PM   #21
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1)It was during the depression when at least half the country was out of work.
The highest unemployment rate during the Great Depression was 25%.
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Old 06-08-2017, 10:25 PM   #22
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The highest unemployment rate during the Great Depression was 25%.
Well I based my estimate on what Ray Bradbury said in the video about the pulps. I.e. there were 30 million people and 15 million were out of work. Of course his memory of the events might have played him a bit false as well, I don't know.
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Old 06-10-2017, 05:37 AM   #23
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It doesn't really matter how/why someone becomes a pulp writer (and it's possible we may have different ideas of exactly what constitutes pulp, it's quite a loose term), what matters is that some people are very good/successful at it.
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Old 06-11-2017, 08:36 PM   #24
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I think it kinds of depends on the project. I'm working on a series of books about state symbols and came up with a scheme that works (for me, at least).

I wouldn't call the first book in the series low quality; it's actually far better than the competition. However, I'm not going to go into great details in describing individual symbols, offering more of an overview instead. I'm also not going to put much work into footnotes, endnotes, references, etc.

After that book's published, I'm going to work on books focusing on particular categories of symbols, such as state flags or birds. Each of those books will have a greater emphasis on quality (or thoroughness), including more detail, endnotes and references, etc.
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:40 PM   #25
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I think it kinds of depends on the project. I'm working on a series of books about state symbols and came up with a scheme that works (for me, at least).

I wouldn't call the first book in the series low quality; it's actually far better than the competition. However, I'm not going to go into great details in describing individual symbols, offering more of an overview instead. I'm also not going to put much work into footnotes, endnotes, references, etc.

After that book's published, I'm going to work on books focusing on particular categories of symbols, such as state flags or birds. Each of those books will have a greater emphasis on quality (or thoroughness), including more detail, endnotes and references, etc.
That makes perfect sense. I am assuming the first one will actually be a quality reference but with not as much information as the specialized books.
So good quality but not as great as the specialized books.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:29 AM   #26
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I find it curious that the original poster, having said "let's discuss" this topic, has not been back to MR since.
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:11 AM   #27
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They likely didn't expect anyone to discuss it here, on a discussion forum. We were supposed to go to their blog or whatever that link is, and discuss it there!

My opinion: Quality first. Quantity only if you can maintain the quality. Some of my favourite writers are less than prolific but they just totally push my buttons, and that makes every book they do write a treasure for me.

On the other hand, it's a bit like food. A fabulous gourmet meal you remember for a lifetime is also a treasure, but there are days you just want something fast and greasy. There are other authors, typically genre, who manage to be "pretty good" for a particular genre, and prolific too, and they're the hamburgers of books. They hit the spot in the moment, but I couldn't tell you next week what a specific one was about.

Maybe "good enough" quality is good enough, depending on genre and target audience. But even there, I still want a certain minimum level of competence, a plot that makes sense within the rules of whatever world it is and not too enormous plot holes, some characterisation, a satisfying conclusion, competent proofreading.
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:24 AM   #28
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I find it curious that the original poster, having said "let's discuss" this topic, has not been back to MR since.
You moved it from self-promotion, so why are you curious?
I just reread the OP, he didn't want to discuss q vs q here. He wanted to discuss his article.
Just not sure where we were supposed to discuss it since I among many didn't click the link.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:51 PM   #29
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Ah but in the days of the old pulp writers you had a very unique set of circumstances. 1)It was during the depression when at least half the country was out of work. 2)Most editors at most paid .01 or .02 a word and sometimes not even that 3) Things were literally hand to mouth for many writers back then. Many vanished without a trace or died young of alcoholism. So in some cases at least (if not most) if you were a pulp writer you had to write if you were going to eat. There is also the fact that they had ready markets (the pulp magazines) which are mostly gone now. So where they might maybe make $40.00 (at .02 for 2000 words) right from the magazine now you can't be sure how many people will buy your work. Also that $40.00 for that 2000 word story might be the only money that that author might ever see for that story. While you might see more in the long run today there is still a lot more uncertainty about seeing any than back then.
Unfortunately, depending on where you're looking you can find people offering those same pay rates in 2017 - and writers taking those rates for all rights.

As for speed of writing vs publication.

Earlier this year, I published two books a week apart. I'll be releasing the third in that series within the next two weeks. The fourth should be out in July or August. Together they represent about 8 years of my original fiction output. At the same time, they're all short pulp adventure novels, and the last one did take only a few months to write. (I'm letting it sit and waiting for feedback before I do some edits.)
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Old 06-16-2017, 08:36 AM   #30
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Cinsajoy nailed it.

@HarryT and others :
I'm not a writer, so pretty safe from the OP'S linked promo offer from PINNACLE PUBLISHERS:
Do you want to learn the best ways to promote and sell your books or content online? I’ll teach you the specific techniques and strategies that have allowed me to sell 1000’s of books. CLICK HERE to sign up for my 1 on 1 Coaching Program........ and so on, ad nauseum......

My, my, spam is sneaking around in the cloak of invisibility.
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