Just Keep Writing!
Guest Post by Isabel Anders:
This morning I read in The New York Times that “In the E-reader era, a book a year is slacking.”
Julie Bosman writes (5/12/12): “For years, it was a schedule as predictable as a calendar: novelists who specialized in mysteries, thrillers and romance would write one book a year, output that was considered not only sufficient, but productive.”
But now, she informs us, authors are having to pull the literary equivalent of a “double shift”—just to keep up with the fast pace and heavy demand that reasonably priced books have led consumers to expect—all available at a click of a mouse.
What about taking our time to allow a book to take shape naturally, doing our homework (that is, research), and honing our craft so that we can offer readers our best work?
All of that, apparently, is having to be newly fit into the reality of 21st-century publishing expectations, at least for top writers who want to keep themselves “out there” and not be forgotten in the time it takes to create their next saleable work.
“It used to be that once a year was a big deal,” Bosman quotes Lisa Scottoline, best-selling author of thrillers. “You could saturate the market. But today the culture is a great big hungry maw, and you have to feed it.”
What does this mean for those of us who are not serial producers of blockbuster titles, but for whom a lovingly produced book of a smaller scale still engenders excitement and satisfaction?
Well, we may be catching some of the fever as well, working a little harder, setting our deadlines a little closer, thinking ahead to our next book before the ink is dry on the one we’ve just finished.
The message seems clear: Just keep writing! After all, it will always be those with passion and industriousness who will win the day. And these new, faster times will naturally separate the not-so-serious would-be writers from those who will rise to the challenge, even if it means burning some extra late-night oil.
If a book a year is not enough, what IS enough? Some writers are working on short stories to bridge the gap between novels, often involving the same characters and shorter plots. Others are looking to their files of unpublished manuscripts and resurrecting them to publish in E-book form. Some writers, however, will just write at their own pace regardless, and trust their inner promptings as to timing and release. When publishers are involved, much of the scheduling of publication is out of our hands, anyway.
My sequel to Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom (2010) has taken two years to emerge, but the continuity I’ve achieved and having the two books to offer as a series has been worth it. Spinning Straw, Weaving Gold: A Tapestry of Mother-Daughter Wisdom has just been released:
And yes, the new book I’m working on for 2013 is nearly ready to go to production. At least I’ve learned that much!
Isabel Anders is the author or co-author of 25 inspirational titles.