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Archive for December 28th, 2011

I want to start by saying this post will probably relate only to independent authors, since publishing schedules for traditionally published books are usually out of the author’s hands. And traditional publishing usually takes a long time.

I don’t usually give too much advice on my blog. The biggest reason for that is I have an author friend who used to give lots of advice, hoping to help other authors and keep them from making the mistakes she did. And what did she get for it? Lots and lots of criticism. Other authors slammed her for “telling them what to do”, etc. So I really hesitated about writing this post. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, though, and I’m just going to jump into it, and if I make someone mad, I’m sorry. That’s not my intention. Remember, this is MY blog, so it’s only MY opinions. 🙂

I’m going to take off my writer hat for a moment and put on my reader hat. This whole topic was inspired by feelings I have as a reader more than a writer. I’ll start with a personal story. I found a book that I really, really liked. It was well written and kept me interested through the whole story. When I was finished, the first thing I did was look for another book by the same author. There wasn’t one! This was her first novel, so I thought I would wait awhile and check again. And again. And again. After several months (maybe a year), I gave up. Now I can’t remember the name of the author. This means I’ll probably never read her next book. I was disappointed that I couldn’t read anything else by this author, but I had to move on.

As a reader, that story was just mildly annoying. As a writer, it worried me a little. It made me wonder if I was publishing fast enough. Some authors write much faster than others. That’s just a fact. Some authors who have been writing awhile won’t have to have to edit their books as much as those who are newer to the business. Some authors write a pretty clean first draft. There are so many factors involved in writing and publishing, so there’s no set rule as to how often you should publish. I’ve heard authors that take a year claim that no one can write a good book in three or four months. I’ve heard authors that write quickly claim that there’s no way it can possibly take a year to write a book. Sometimes, I just get tired of hearing authors criticize other authors. But I digress from my original point. I personally think it’s important to publish as often as you can as long as you can maintain quality. I had a reader email me recently, asking when my third Libby Fox novella was coming out. She was getting impatient because she actually wanted to read something I had written. It made me feel good, but something like that also puts pressure on an author. It had only been three or four months since I published the second one. Then I got a text from my uncle who lives about 600 miles away telling me I needed to get writing because he had read all my books and wanted another one. He said after he would read one, he had to pick up the next one and start reading. Again, a compliment, but more pressure. But if people want to read my next book that badly, shouldn’t I make an effort to give it to them?

If you’re not publishing at least two books a year, what’s holding you back? Is it fear? I know for a fact this is the case for some authors because they’ve told me so. But what are you afraid of? If you’re afraid someone won’t like your book, then you’re right. Lots of people won’t like it. But lots of people will. How will you know unless you take the plunge? Maybe you’re not publishing because you’re a “tweaker”. No matter how many times you go over your book, you find things you aren’t satisfied with. The thing is, after you publish, you’ll STILL be finding things you aren’t happy with. I certainly do. But you have to publish it sometime. Otherwise, what was the point in writing it? Or are you a lazy writer who only dabbles a bit here and there, but don’t really want to put in the effort it takes to actually write a book? If you’re just doing this for fun, that’s okay. In that case, your goal isn’t necessarily to be published.

I published three novellas during ROW80 this year (I probably would have written one more if my mom hadn’t had the heart attack in February). In fact, it was because of ROW80 that I was able to do it because I am just a little bit lazy as a writer sometimes. ROW80 kept me accountable. My goal is to produce at least two full length novels during 2012. I don’t want my readers to have to wait a year on my next book. I would love to write even faster than that, but with a full time job, that’s almost impossible. And there are other factors, I know, that can hold up writing and publishing. Life just happens. But I feel like my goal should be to put as much out there as I possibly can…without sacrificing quality. I don’t want a reader to forget my name because they couldn’t find my next book.

What about you? What are your writing and publishing goals? Why have you set the goals you have? I would love to hear from you, even if you disagree with me. I’m always open to comments and I love to hear what my fellow authors think.

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