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Friday, 19 August 2011

How Much Time Should Leave Between Books?

How much time should you leave between publishing books? In the traditional print book industry this system works a little different to ebooks. If you're an author of print books then your publishing house will take care of this area, ensuring you have enough time to start on the next novel.

Getting published the traditional way often takes years so authors have time just to solely concentrate on writing their next book. But in the ebook industry a lot of writers choose to self publish their books, thus taking complete control over everything. Digital publishing is unbelievably quick, it only takes a matter of hours to upload your work online before its out there and ready to market. While waiting for their book to be published, printed writers have a year or so to focus on their next book before they can worry about their current one selling. But as an author of ebooks, I find it difficult to juggle both marketing and writing.

Since being published in April I have noticed a lot of discussions about the time frame in between releasing ebooks. Since the industry is so flexible, writers can choose exactly when to publish their next book, and many will argue that if you publish several ebooks over the space of the year then you will do well because your readers will remember you. Some will argue that you should write your first three ebooks before you publish any, so you will have the option to release all three over a short space of time. I know people like Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath have followed this method and I can understand their logic. But I think I would like to argue the case of why it could be better to wait a while before you start writing and publishing your next book...

I only started to actively participate in these online discussions after I had been published so it was too late for me to consider doing things another way. But even if I had been aware of the opinions of some people in this community, I doubt that I would have done things differently. While I can appreciate the argument for releasing several ebooks in a short space of time, I would have lost the chance to learn from my professional editor if I had presented all three manuscripts to her at once. Her advice and comments have been invaluable to me, and they have made me much more aware of how to become a better writer. As my second book is a follow on to my first, I am absolutely convinced that I would have made the same mistakes over again.

Because my first book is already online, I have also become more comfortable in my marketing techniques, and I know I'm going to feel less stressed about the whole process this time round. While people are concerned with their readers forgetting them if they leave it too long before another release, I think this factor has more weight in the traditional publishing industry because you only have a certain amount of time for your books to sell well before you potentially get pulled. If ebooks don't sell well at first, no one is going to force you to take them down. Ebooks are forever, and as J.A. Konrath says, forever is a long time. The time factor is not an issue. I like to think of myself as a marathon runner, in this for the long haul, so I would rather take the time to ensure my books are the best I can possibly make them instead of stressing that all my readers are going to forget me. I know a lot of people doubt the quality of a book that is written in just a matter of months. I know this space of time I could never write a book, get it edited to a high standard and then have it published, so I'm wary of this myself. Maybe as I become a more established writer, I'll be able to pick up the pace a lot more but until then I'm not going to worry about the time issue.


  1. When I first set up my blog in 2007 I had completed four novels and had enough short stories for two collections plus more poems than I knew what to do with. In 2008 I published my first novel, in 2009 my second and in 2010 a collection of poetry. This year I intend to publish the first two novels as e-books and my next novel (actually the fourth written). In the meantime I’ve written a fifth novel. My plan has always been to pace myself. I’m publishing faster than I’m writing and so it is only a matter of time before I run out of material but I see no point in chucking it all out there at once. In between each release I concentrate on marketing the books and on trying to increase my popularity online. It was always meant to be paced.

  2. I completely agree with you there, Jim. It is all about the pace. As long as you're comfortable with the progress you are making then no one should say you should be doing things differently. If you have found a method that works for you then you should stick with it. And whether you're happier publishing ten books a year or one book a year, if that particular method works for you, great!
    Thanks very much for your comment.

  3. I just published my first eBook and have another novel and collection of short stories already completed, but I will delay releasing them for a little bit because I'm trying to figure out how I want to do the covers. One I can do easily myself, the other I might commission something. I also have another older novel I'm reworking for the future.

    I'm debating whether or not to release them all quickly or space them out 6 months or so. Since I don't really have a readership right now, it probably doesn't matter, but I figure it's a good idea to always have another work in reserve in case something happens.