First off, I need to apologize for the lateness of my post today. I had two appointments and thought I'd set my draft to post but apparently hadn't. So much for my mind and how well it works, right? lol Both my appts ran late and when I got home I had to start dinner. So here I am just realizing my post didn't post. Sorry. Anyway, here's what I'm wondering about today.
With the New Year came new writing goals for a lot of authors I’m sure. I have my own writing goal this year—to actually write. Lol Yeah, I just want to write. Not sure how much or when I’ll finish each work or how many novellas I’ll have contracted by the end of the year or how many novels. I just want to write.
I’m amazed by my friend Natalie Dae and just how prolific she is. Before she signed off on Facebook last night, she posted an 8K word count for the day. Now some of you may be thinking---oh rough draft—heck yeah, if I work ten hours I can get down some word count too. No, Natalie’s work is polished. Meaning when those 8K are down?—they are submission ready. Yeah, she’s amazing.
I’m not like Nat. Writers like her are very rare. When I’m in the zone (which isn’t every day), I’ll get down about 3K polished words. My personal best was 5200. Now rough count, just banging away at the keys and getting the story down—which I haven’t done in a couple of years now—I could produce 10K in a day. But that’s just it. It’s a rough rough draft. Going back over it seven or eight more times to get the book submission ready is a lot of work and not the way I do it anymore. I constantly self edit as I write.
And I can’t predict how much work I’ll be able to produce in a year either. The last two months of my life have netted about 10K. That’s it. A freebie Christmas story and about four K on a WIP. Bronchitis got in the way of my productivity for sure. Then add to that the holidays, and well…
Basically, life seems to throw a lot of curve balls at me.
So all of these goals I see posted everywhere about how much work this author or that author plans for the coming year make me feel kind of…well…stupid. Lol Yeah, stupid. I so wish I could simply say: Book X will be finished by the end of January. Book M will be finished by the end of March, etc etc. But I can’t.
Now, in my head I have what I consider the optimum number of releases for an author who is electronically published--and quasi full time. I tend to believe that a novella release every couple of months with one or two full blown novels a year is about what every author should shoot for. The every two-month schedule being a good timeline to keep interest up in an author’s work and keep their pen name out there, but at the same time not flood the market with too much—and I have more thoughts coming up on that too. So why one or two big novels? Some authors don’t write longer works and that’s fine. But for me, I like the idea of showcasing just how well I can handle a more complicated storyline and maintain interest without the work coming across as padded. But…that’s just me and doesn’t apply to anyone else.
In addition to those reasons for my optimum number of releases, I have concerns over the quality of the work I produce. Like I said at the beginning of the post, authors like Natalie Dae are extremely rare. And I most certainly AM NOT one of them. When you’re just the average author—like me—how can you maintain quality and produce more work than I’ve described. Let’s see…a novella every two months in a year is six novellas. At an average of 30K each, allowing for some to be shorter and some to be longer, that’s 180,000 words. Or?
Figure that as writing five days a week and taking off weekends…that’s 693 words each day—five days a week. Doesn’t sound like a lot does it?
Yeah, right. Doesn’t SOUND like a lot. But now let’s figure in the days you just don’t feel like writing. Writers block. Uh huh. Now let’s figure in the latest virus going around the schools or at your church. Add in the fact that you just fell off your front porch (been there, done that) and twisted your knee to the point you can’t walk and sure as hell don’t feel like writing. Ohhhh…and don’t forget you have to clean the house, do the laundry, pick up the kids at school, make dinner, help with homework, have a social life (what’s that?), and figure in snuggle time with the love of your life (what’s that?).
Can you really get in 693 words a day? Or are you just hoping you’ll do 3K in one day, lol—like I do, and make up for the days you didn’t.
And I still haven’t figured in the full blown novel at an average of 60K. sighhhhhh And I haven’t figured in all that time you have to put into promotions.
And then there is this…in producing all that word count, do you sacrifice quality? Now granted I’ve given what you may now be thinking is a pretty high word count as what I think is the optimum level a quasi-full time author should be working at. But really? I think I can meet that goal of six novellas a year and one or two big novels. I might miss it by one novella or one big book, but close. And I think I can maintain quality.
But what about those authors who are producing more than that? Half a million words a year? It’s called churning. Simply getting down the words and putting it out there. And there are publishers who will publish it, too. Now I’m not talking about authors like Natalie who can easily produce half a million words in quality works a year. And I’m not talking about authors who may have submitted a book to publisher B a year ago and it is just now releasing along with a book they submitted two months ago at a different publisher—making it appear as though they have two books that were written closely together and really weren’t.
I’m talking about true churning. Here are my questions:
Does the author involved in churning think they are doing themselves a favor in the long run? Or do they even realize their work isn’t quite up to snuff?
Do YOU, the author, ever worry that you’re producing too much and back off?
Do YOU, the reader, ever read a book and know that the author has sacrificed quality to simply get out another title? And if so, how does that affect your buying habits where this author is concerned?
It’s a hard subject with some hard questions. What does everyone think?