The Modern Writer: Pace

Continuing with the theme of the Modern Writer, today I wanted to touch on Pace.

With the advent of all of the modern technology that I’ve talked about in previous posts, and the explosion of self-publishing websites and services, the pace of writing has increased by a massive factor. But how fast is too fast, and how slow is too slow?

I know that every writer is different and that stories will come out when they come out, but at some point there’s the risk of losing readers if you’re too slow, or risking a non-quality product if you rush them out too fast.

For some authors, there isn’t really a pace that needs to be maintained. Whenever a new Honor Harrington novel comes out from David Weber, I’ll go buy it; millions are waiting for the next George RR Martin A Song of Ice and Fire novel (though we may be waiting a while yet on that one if history is any indicator). These authors have gathered such a reputation for their work that it doesn’t matter how long it takes for the next book: people will buy it in droves.

But on the flip side there are authors whose books I enjoyed and would have gladly continued reading, but they took too long to release the next one. I got distracted and never returned to the series.

Personally, I’ve been shooting for 1 book per year and I feel that if you aren’t a pop sensation or an author with a rock solid fan base, this might be a good pace to maintain. I’ve been a bit behind because of a variety of factors over the last 12 months, but I’m getting back on track. But what do you think? Is there a pace that you think that there is a pace that the average reader will accept? If you’re an author, what is your writing goal?

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8 comments on “The Modern Writer: Pace

  1. That is such a tough question. I think any writer who has full time which isn’t writing (much less may have a family, pets, hobbies…), publishing once a year is all that can be expected. This is different from the question ‘how often should you publish to keep readers interested but not affect quality.’ Really, I’d love to publish a great novel twice a year… but I haven’t figured out how to get that flow going yet. Well, be able to write and edit that well while maintaining a full time job, husband, house, hobbies, and dogs. Maybe with a part time job…

  2. I shoot for 3 novel releases per year. That’s as much as I can manage with a full-time job, family, etc., and requires very little free time on my part (because it all goes to writing, editing, etc.). I’ve been told by a few people that I’m totally nuts. ;D

  3. I published 5 last year while I was full-time. Now that I’m back working, I’ll shoot for 2-3 this year. I know of some authors (including some very successful ones) who publish full-length novels about once every 6 weeks.

  4. Wow, 3-5 novela a year! Don’t know if I could manage that.
    This year I did one novel, a novella and around 9 x5000 word short stories. Granted the ss’s were rehashed from shorter versions that I’d worked on years ago, but it has taken a toll on my social life and my housekeeping. -Husband is now throwing out broad hints about the service not being what it used to be, and the cat has become demanding and attention seeking.
    Still the writing bug has bitten, and I might well be able to complete another novel and a few more ss’s this year. – Husband and cat permitting.

  5. I waited to finish the first two books before simultaneously publishing them. I hope to have the next one published within nine months, so as not to lose the momentum. I agree with weifarer though, that it’s tough when juggling a family and a full-time job at the same time!

  6. Great question. I try to have two novels our per year, but last year was a little off for me and I only released a novella and a short story in an anthology. I’m expecting to get back into the saddle this year.

  7. I’m a slow writer, so rather than risk losing readers, I’m going to wait until I have the entire series completed before I self publish any more books. It may sound a bit insane, but in this wild west of publishing, anything and everything is possible. 🙂

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