Monday, January 3, 2011

Quantity vs. Quality

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?


Miriam Newman said...

I don't enjoy churning, either by an author or a publisher, and not to say I'm a genius but I can spot it every time. I think most people can. I just cautioned on a loop that I see some publishers who do this and my comment wasn't well received. I'd be curious to know if others agree with me or why someone would disagree with my statement. I was a little surprised that someone would take offense at my cautioning new writers to this effect. I think your post is excellent on both counts--authors who churn and publishers who do it.

Toni V.S. said...

I've never gone by word count by by chapters. Today, I did three chapters on my new book and my word counter says that's about 11,000+ words. For me, that's a small amount since I used to be able to churn out a 125,000-word book in 6 weeks. But then, I've been in a writing slump/block for four years now. Still, I've never knowingly sacrificed quality for quantity. My manuscripts go through at least 5 drafts before they get to that first submission because while I may be having a difficult time writing right now, I'm still a perfectionist who wants it as good as I can get it before anyone other than myself sees it. On the other hand, I have seen stories which looked as if they were first drafts which even a copy editor hadn't checked, and I could only think: What was that author thinking? A writer owes it to herself as well as to her readers to make her noel be as good as it can get.

anny cook said...

My standard... whatever I write, however long or short, whether fast or slow, I want it to be the best I can write at that time, in that place.

Tess MacKall said...

Well, and I may be the sad sacks sitting on the sideline and not in the majority at all. But there ARE publishers who will publish anything--I don't think anyone can deny that.

And there ARE writers out there who simply tap away at the keys and toss it to these publishers. I'm like you. I can spot it.

If your comment wasn't well received on that group--you may have touched a nerve with someone. I think in the long run these authors aren't doing themselves any good and I keep thinking that some of these publishers who engage in churning will go out of business---they don't.

Which really makes me wonder.

Sometimes I think: Why do I work so hard at perfecting my craft is no one gives a happy rat's behind? Ya know?

Thanks for weighing in, Miriam.

V. J. Devereaux aka Valerie Douglas said...

As a writer, I'm like you I just want to write. To me word count doesn't matter, just the quality of the story. And, for me, variety.
As a reader I've seen churning many times especially from writers of series. The first five or so books are fine then after that it's just the same characters with different names. That's usually when I lose interest.
Still for some writers and readers I know there is a comfort in picking up a book by some authors knowing exactly what they'll get when they open it. It's like a brand. Some of those writers have substantial fan bases. It has to be tempting for both the writer and the publisher to churn out those kinds of books since it's safe, easy and almost a guaranteed income. Otherwise why would they do it?
To be honest it's not my cup of tea, I'd be bored senseless, but I can understand the attraction. A steady paycheck...? It's not hard to understand, really.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

A very thought provoking blog, Tess. I have often felt less productive than some productive writers. But, whatever I write, I intend for it to be the best work I can produce and not just another title on my backlist.

Tess MacKall said...

Well, as you mention, Toni, you then go through several more drafts to perfect your book. So 11K in a day can and is done. I've done it. Like I said, rough drafts come with higher word counts.

What I'm talking about are those books that are basically a one-draft book without the polishing behind it. Then off to the publisher and released in nothing flat. Churning. YOU, obviously don't do that.

You've seen those churned books. As you mentioned, the ones that it looks like a copy editor never touched it.

And it's not just punc and grammar that suffers. Content is, after all, KING. And content is what suffers most in these fast turnaround books. It's a matter of simply chasing the almighty buck.

Sad but true. And it happens in e publishing more so than in print--giving the e book industry a black eye for sure.

Thanks,Toni. And good luck on your WIP. Keep 'em comin'!

Tess MacKall said...

THE RIGHT ATTITUDE for sure Anny girl. Damn straight. Put your all into it whether it's short or long, your first, tenth, or fiftieth book.

Hugs...hope you're happily tapping away at the keyboard.

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Tess, you know what a slow writer I am. But I strive to make the story the best it can be by the time it's submitted to a publisher.

If I compared myself to someone like Natalie, or even to you, I'd have to just give up. I write as much as I can...when I can, and that's all I can Life does get in the way, and I'd never churn out a story just to say...hey, I've had so and so releases this year.

What I write come from the heart...and that's why I get stuck so often. But when finally I make it over the hurdle, I feel my characters as realistic as I can make them. Never gonna sacrifice quality for quantity.

Tess MacKall said...

VJ...I can see what you're talking about say in NY houses. God knows I've read some of my favorite all time NYTBS authors and then BAM...I get a book that is nothing but fluff and BAD fluff at that.

So I can see the dollar winning out in the end there--even though I'm a bit upset with the author for not keeping their own standard of quality. But readers will pick up a tried and true author and the big publishing houses know this. Yep, it's comfortable for the reader and money in the bank for the publisher and author.

Now in e publishing, the stakes are much smaller--at least right now. Not nearly as much money is involved for the publisher OR author. Let's face it...these authors aren't on the NYTBSL. Their following--if they have one--is much much smaller. So what does that say? Sort of makes it even less acceptable in my opinion. Odd to say that, I know...but heck, if someone is making half a million dollars off a book as opposed to a few hundred---as you said..."It's not hard to understand."

And series work is where you hear a lot of complaints. When they lose their appeal, it's just more milking. So far, it looks like everyone votes for quality over quantity.

Thanks, VJ. Good luck with your latest work.

Tess MacKall said...

Great attitude, Sarah. You and I and others like us will just have to keep plugging away and getting it right, won't we? Well...let's hope we get it right. lol

Thanks, hon. Keep putting out those great stories.

Tess MacKall said...

"What I write comes from the heart...and that's why I get stuck so often."

As long as you're doing that, Lisa, you'll never go wrong. Keep producing those kinds of works.

We can't all be alike in what we produce or how often we get a book released for sure. As long as we strive for the best???? Then we're doing what we should be doing. And readers will recognize that.

Hugs, Lisa.

C. Zampa said...

Well, heck.
I thought my 3,270 words in a day was phenomenal. And it WAS...for ME.

Today? No words. There are days I can roll on, the words are so clear in my head. But that's not common for me.

It averages out, even with that 3K+ day to...well...slow. Painfully slow.

As to whether an author who 'churns' puts out quality? I honestly can't say. Because, from my end of it, as the reader, I can't keep up with that many novels/novellas by one author. As much as I'd like to follow their releases, they overwhelm me--shooting out like balls at the batting cage. And I simply can't grab one of the new releases fast enough as they're spitting out to actually buy one. Does that make sense?

So--sometimes, even though they can write fast and publish just as quickly, their poor readers can't keep the pace with them.

Nat? Yes, her work IS polished. She is a phenomenon. Very rare, as you said, Tess.

Tess MacKall said...

Yeah, CZ...some of those books do just shoot out, don't they? I can't keep up with a lot of them too. If I read all the books I wanted to, I'd never get anything of my own written for sure.

And your word count sounds great, hon. And I know your work is pretty damn polished too. I've seen your so-called rough drafts. lol

Keep tapping away. Anxiously waiting to see your latest, hon.


Regina Carlysle said...

This is a topic I think about a lot. I usually like to have at least six novellas a year out. I believe a book a month releasing can be troublesome in that the author risks overexposure. Fast doesn't necessarily equate with Good, IMO. I am NOT a fast writer but I'm clean and never,ever go back and write a second draft. When I get to the end, I skim it for errors and send to my editor. That's it. As to word per day goals, yes i have them. I try to get at least 1500 per day. If I get more, great. If not, I try not to beat myself up too badly. Personally speaking, peace of mind is important to me and when I put unrealistic expectations on myself, I am NOT a happy camper.

Hales said...

What a great topic. I don't enjoy churning or reading the same story with a dif title and dif character names.

For me. I think my first year went well published. I also think that quality improves with each release and author growth. I toss out 3k a day normally. I could do more but I promised to be an active parent so I tend to try to get'er done early.

I didn't take into consideration edits and the handful of great pubs I'm with. So the word count of course gets a back burner. Promo for me hasn't been to hard due to my bubbly personality lol drives me insane at times.
I don't want to get to the point where I'm making it perfect as I go because I'm not looking for the perfect story no flaws. Hell I'm a flawed person :) But I do write it best I can and when I'm done snuggle down to self edit and then have the betas go through it.

Tightening as I go would be as difficult as if i'd plotted the story before writing. It's too hard for me. I have a general idea and it just comes together like the perfect baked cake in the end. Stopping would be tantamount to a train wreck for me :)

As for being new... I think the more you churn out doing your best and learning a new skill with each release will show a great trend as readers fall in love with your work. Esp in a place where education is a continuous part of a writers life.

Paul McDermott said...

Lots of food for thought on this blog topic but I notice one thing nobody has commented on (though I admit it's possibly just a TAD 'off topic')
Nothing has been written so far about the "QUALITY vs. QUANTITY" argument as applied to the writing of the SCRIPTS of popular TV "Soap Operas"
GB, Australia and the US all seem to churn out hundreds of weekly 30 to 60 min episodic programmes in this genre, and (to my mind, at least!) they all seem to become so 'contrived', even anodyne, that it is sometimes hard for the viewer to remember which particular soap they happen to be watching ... Am I right,or am I right?

Tess MacKall said...

Fifteen hundred clean/polished words sounds good, Rita. I'm about there and can usually get in a few more hundred---but not by much. So I think 1500 to 2K a day is about average for a writer who edits as they write.

I really agree that churning is a big risk for an author with overexposure. Heck, someone might just get bored with you. lol

Tess MacKall said...

But Hales, do you think there is a point where you can put out too much work? That you, the writer, can sacrifice quality by being so anxious to get the next wip finished and the next and the next?

Promotions play into all of this too. What about over exposure as Rita mentioned and I talked a bit about in the post? Isn't there a line you have to draw with the amount of your work available in general?

I was talking about how prolific Natalie is. And she is. Truly a great writer with plot lines coming at her day and night and she just Wows me. But she also writes under several pen names. Different types of work for a different pen name. So she can get away with having so much work out there. Her Sarah Masters name is for all her M/M work. And Natalie Dae is for her M/F titles--with a menage or two here and there. lol

So even though she's putting out major word count, she's splitting that word count up between different pen names.

Forgetting about quality--let's say all authors write quality books. Don't they still have to think about the issue of over exposure? The more plentiful something is--the less in demand, it seems. What are your thoughts on that?

Tess MacKall said...

Hi Paul,

Christmas week I was sitting in my den waiting on my two girls to get finished with their mirror time so we could finish up the last minute shopping.

As luck would have it, there was a soap opera on and I just sat there and watched. Hadn't seen a soap in maybe ten years--and before that one ten years ago--probably ten years before that. Honestly. I don't watch soaps.

But when I was in high school, I did. My granny watched them and I had to get involved too. lol

But what I've always noticed about those soap scripts and admired about them is the fact they CAN churn them out and do it with so much information in each episode that it's amazing. You can literally go ten years without watching one and then tune in accidentally one day and know exactly what is going on. The familiarity of it all is there--same characters, same story lines.

And that goes back to something that VJ said--there is comfort in knowing you can pick up a book by an author and know what to expect. Same with those soaps.

The romance genre has always been accused of being the same old same old. And that's fine. We take our thirty something plot lines, layer them with twists and turns and manage to put out enough entertainment that romance sells more books than any other kind.

The formula works for the most part. But quality still plays into the writing for me. I want to know that an author has given me their best--not just tried to milk me for a few bucks.

Soap operas? It takes a very talented author to be able to give me an entire plot line every ten years. And I'll tune in again in ten years and see if Stephanie still has religion and is still hugging Brooke who is once again married to Ridge in about ten years. Bet I'll be able to pick right up with the storyline too. lol


Hales said...

LOL Tess. I know Nat does that. I'm comletely floored that she doesn't go crazy keeping up with herself. It's great. I could never do that. About having too much out at once. I think that's a personal thing and an authors responsibility to keep true to their voice. I know pubs push for more, I've seen unneeded padding in books and books that seem off compared to other reads. I wonder if it's a pressure thing and a time thing but I've seen many authors like Nat who I've bought under every name and there isn't a change.

I don't have an answer. Maybe in five years when I've been around a bit more I will.

Natalie Dae said...

A phenomenon, eh? Bleedin' mental, more like! Thank you for your lovely words, Tess and others. As usual, made me cry.

I used to worry about everything you posted here, wondering if I needed to slow down, but once I had the two names, it worked better.

I see where you're coming from, but there are so many things we might not be aware of:

1. Even if someone is churning, readers are still buying it. Maybe they don't mind the churn, perhaps even want it because it's comfortable for them.

2. Maybe an author is asked to churn by their publisher and feel they can't say no.

3. Maybe padding is requested after an author has submitted and signed the contract.

4. Elements the author veered away from through fear of churning are asked to be put into the book after contract signing.

5. Authors won't be publicly saying they hated that part of their own book and it shouldn't be there because they were asked to add it, through fear of getting in trouble with their publisher and getting a bad name.

So many reasons why books appear to have been churned. I don't disagree that there are also those that are literally just churned by the author, but I often wonder how many writers out there are stuck between a rock and a hard place where they're TOLD what to write.

Sounds crazy, but it happens.


Tess MacKall said...

Yep, an author should always be true to their voice. But I'd caution an author and suggest they consider the marketing side of their pen name as well. And that's not just about getting their name out there and branding themselves with readers--but creating such a plan that readers anxiously anticipate new releases from said author. And that starts with quality writing, of course, continuing with titles, book covers, blurbs, etc. and spilling right into when to market the books--how often. But like I said--that's just MY opinion. We all have to go about it the way we see fit in each of our careers for sure.

As for padding? As an editor, that's what I see most of in a book. Heck, as an author I'm guilty of doing it some myself. I'm a tight writer for the most part, but when you're writing, you don't always see everything as we all know. But padding is something I see in books at submission. If we're seeing padding there after they've been published? Something went wrong in the edit. Now if it's just here and there--little things---then those little things can most certainly be overlooked, even by the best editor. But if it's truly noticeable? Bad edit or simply just a case of churning in my humble opinion.

Tess MacKall said...

Nat: Even if someone is churning, readers are still buying it. Maybe they don't mind the churn, perhaps even want it because it's comfortable for them.

Tess: VJ spoke to that. The comfort level of some readers. They become familiar with an author and that's it for them. They know what to expect. And romance in general has been accused of being the same old same old as I mentioned in another comment.

Nat: Maybe an author is asked to churn by their publisher and feel they can't say no.

Tess: I can see some of that. An author being asked to produce more work by a publisher who engages in the practice of churning. But at some point, doesn't the author balk? Recognize what is going on and say: "hey, this is my career." Or at the very least: "I need a bigger cut of the pie." LOL

Nat: Maybe padding is requested after an author has submitted and signed the contract.

Tess: I can see some of that too. It's not unheard of for a publisher to ask for an additional sex scene in erotic romance, or more word count to get a book up to a certain length. But that's not what I would call churning so much as I would just revising a book--and hopefully it will be a good revision with the guiding hand of a good editor.

Nat: Elements the author veered away from through fear of churning are asked to be put into the book after contract signing.

Tess: hmmm...well, I can see that too, but churning isn't about padding/word count--it's the process of producing too much work too closely together--and almost always you'll see quality sacrificed.

Nat: Authors won't be publicly saying they hated that part of their own book and it shouldn't be there because they were asked to add it, through fear of getting in trouble with their publisher and getting a bad name.

Tess: I think we're talking about two different things here. Pushy publishers/editors that require authors to make changes in their books that the author doesn't want vs. churning. While an author may fall in line with a publisher that pushes for more and more work--faster and faster releases, said publisher can't make the author submit those books unless the publisher got them to sign a contract saying they will give them fifteen books in six months. And that's a bad contract to sign if you ask me.

Nat:So many reasons why books appear to have been churned. I don't disagree that there are also those that are literally just churned by the author, but I often wonder how many writers out there are stuck between a rock and a hard place where they're TOLD what to write.

Tess: Told what to write maybe, but how fast? I don't know, Nat. I think we're talking about two different things here. Publishers who want it their way vs. authors and publishers who put books out too fast in hopes of milking all the money they can...OR authors who simply don't understand that they may very well be sacrificing quality and possibly overexposing themselves too.

And again, I want to say that your work is like nothing I've ever seen. There has never been any sacrifice of quality and you are a true phenom for sure.

Natalie Dae said...

Yeah, I've got the wrong end of the bloody stick here. So, bear with me, cos my mind's foggy today, are we discussing churning as the same plot/different people, or are we talking churning as in people just writing fast and having lots of releases? Or both? LOL


Natalie Dae said...

PS I think I should just go back to bed and start again hahaha.


Tess MacKall said...

Churning, overall, means putting out book after book after book--and fast. But in doing so--plots may come across as being the same. Cardboard characters---just the names changed. So what we are discussing spills over into what you were saying.

As for your foggy mind? You should have been in my head yesterday. I was LOST. lol

Natalie Dae said...

Ah, I'm with you now. I'm just a fuzz of not getting it today.


C. Zampa said...

I enjoyed this topic, and came back today to follow up.

You know, again--as a reader--not speaking as an author---I have to revert back to my answer.

No matter why an author spits out so many books--whether it's THEM doing so or the pubslisher---it STILL can be overwhelming for the reader.

And, I can speak from experience. It can, as Tess says, drop in value in the reader's eyes an become less of a demand, less of a thing to look forward to.

One of the delights--and agonies---of having a favorite author is anticipating their new books. If they're being produced too fast, there's no excited waiting, there's just 'trying to keep up' with their production. And yes. Then, for the reader, it does finally become blase.

Whether it IS the publisher or the writer, I think there should be a pace.
If not, for me, it's like Lucy and Ethel at the candy factory assembly line. Goodies coming out too fast to be able to enjoy them.

But Nat had a very good point. It sometimes is not the author at all. Maybe, in the background where the reader can't see, there IS a publihser who has a high demand for more, more, more of an author. Supply and demand, then, is the name of the game.

But the question was whether it affects quality. Depends, I guess on the writer. With some really bigs publishers, I've seen where it certainly DOES affect the quality of the story--and many are cookie cutter. Same charactes, just change setting and hair colors.

Such a good, thought-provoking question.

Ana Lee Kennedy said...

I can see churning out a series or two because many readers love those, but one full novel after another? No, I don't see that unless one has a special block of time every day, 6 to 7 days a week. Then I see a couple novels a year published once the first is published and the others start following.

No, I don't back off from writing one ms after another. I can't get my brain to turn off, so I have no choice but to write on several dif projects at the same time. I have contracts coming out of my ears now as a result, but it's how my brain functions, so all's good.

And as a reader, yes, I've seen many a book where the author has sacrificed quality, and when I start finding their books are staying in that shape, I stop buying his or her work.

James L. Hatch said...

I commented on Natalie Dae's word count at the time, having never produced more than 10,000 in a weekend. Normally, I can do 1,000 to 1,500 in a LONG day. The Substitute was written in 2 months (76,500 words), but it was an exception because the topic was fresh. The sequel is taking longer (57,000 words in two months and still a WIP). My problem is formulating the concepts, not in the writing. I want everything to be new material, new ideas. That requires a great deal of "think time" between words, sentences and paragraphs.

Delaney Diamond said...

Interesting topic, Tess. I've read a few books that clearly were churned and they did turn me off of the author. They were riddled with errors and there were holes in the plot.

There are prolific authors who produce full length novels every month or two. Readers follow these favorite authors religiously, anticipating their next work with bated breath. Good for them, I say.

Over exposure? Is that really a problem? I'm not so sure that it is. If people weren't buying the books, the author and publisher wouldn't put them on the market.

In my opinion, the real problem is quality. If you're putting out good work, people will buy it. Once your work suffers, it doesn't matter how many books you produce.

Tess MacKall said...

"Dropping in value" that's a good way to put it CZ. I honestly have to wonder if having book after book after book out there--even if you have not skimped on quality--takes away from you as an author.

It works that way in all other facets of our lives--so why not this one? If you eat steak three times a week, you get tired of it after a while. If you wear the same color day after day you get tired of it.

Then's that comfort thing. Familiarity is comforting. But then again---lol---familiarity breeds contempt.

Catch 22 maybe?

Tess MacKall said...

Well, when we're talking length here--say short stories--that's a whole other animal. Heck, you could put out a 10K short once a week and get away with it probably.

But when you write one big book or big novella back to back--that's fine too. You should be writing back to back. An author should never NOT write. Unless, of course, you're me and you just can't. lol

But releasing them back to back? Savvy publishers won't release series work back to back. Those publishers wait anywhere from four to six months and sometimes even up to a year. That's just plain Marketing 101.

YOU, the author, do not have to turn off your brain. Not at all. But back to back releases? One a month? Two a month? Not sure that's good, Faith. write under different pen names too. So all of those contracts aren't coming out from just one author. Like Nat, your work isn't considered to be from the same author. And you've chosen those different pen names for a reason--because you're writing different kinds of work under each. So while you CAN have some of the same following under one pen name to another pen name--not all followers from one pen name will follow the other.Right?

That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about authors who churn out one, two, three releases a month and keep them coming. AND the characters are just cardboard cut outs of the last with hair color changed and setting changed. Basically the same tired old story simply recycled. That's churning. The churning doesn't happen in that you have to continually write. It happens in that you're sacrificing quality work for the sake of getting out another release.

Tess MacKall said...

Sounds like you have a good handle on it, James. And I'd think that a sequel requires a lot more thought and harder work than the first. You most certainly want to keep the newness of it all, don't you?

Tess MacKall said...

Delaney said:

"Over exposure? Is that really a problem? I'm not so sure that it is. If people weren't buying the books, the author and publisher wouldn't put them on the market."

That's true to a degree I think. I was just on a group where there was a bit of talk about sales and e books. It's sort of a taboo subject. As we all know, there are pubs out there that just publish anything and do it to make the almighty buck. Those pubs don't care about quality or actually helping the author to market their books.

They just keep putting out books and getting whatever they can. If a publisher has a thousand books out and makes just one buck per book per month???? That's a thousand bucks. A hell of a lot more than the authors made I'm sure.

I talked to an author a long time ago who was involved in churning. The author's theory was this:

I make thirty bucks in a month on one 15K book. So if I have ten more out there? Then I make $300.

I saw the logic in this, but the quality just wasn't there.

Delaney said:

"If you're putting out good work, people will buy it. Once your work suffers, it doesn't matter how many books you produce."

Totally agree that's the way it should be.

Madison Scott said...

Good question. I think a release every few months is good if they're novellas.

Tess MacKall said...

Hiya, Madison. Yep, I think fewer is better. Not overwhelming the market with our author names--but producing quality work that readers look forward to.

Nicki (D.N.) said...


I wrote 1.01 million words last year. But believe you me, it is not easy, and I couldn't name a time I had a night off.

I'm compulsive like that. I will write until my fingers crack nearly in half. But I'm not an interesting person when I write----I'm either a bump, or someone will say, "What, mushroom people? You're on drugs," or something like that, and I'll snap and slap them.

But from August 8th to the 10th, I wrote a novel----and that still makes my brain bleed thinking about working for just that time period.

Be cool with your own counts. If I wasn't writing, I'd probably be dead right now from inactivity. And be comfortable too! I mean, mine's practically a disease in my head. Hypergraphia is not fun all the time----not when you bring a binder with you to the gym and soak while writing chapters. I could literally be richer if I'd *stop* writing once in a while.

But high-octane writing is at least habit to me, I guess, because I'm sitting on six novels that need to go out and I can't decide where to send them. Being ready is sadder than being unprepared if you don't know the where and when. :(