Dear Author, You’re a Slacker

Attention writers: if you publish one book a year, you’re a slacker! So says this article in The New York Times. It says, in this age of eBooks, readers require more, more, more. Publishers advise their authors to produce short stories and novellas between full-length novels if they want to remain competitive.

Also, the article says, readers now expect to connect with their favorite authors on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and more. Long gone is the reclusive author of times past. It seems authors today need to be writing, writing, writing as well as socializing 24/7.

How is that possible?

I know writers who’ve dropped out of the social media circus to concentrate solely on writing. I don’t believe I know a writer who hasn’t considered doing that. So, if these drop-out writers feel their work suffers when they don’t give it their full attention, what does that mean for the work of writers who are trying to do it all?

My reading has slowed quite a bit since I started writing seriously. I now consider it a good month if I read two novels, so I’m not tapping my foot waiting for a few favorite authors to crank out two or more books a year. I suppose, if you’re a voracious reader and limit your reading to the works of only three or four authors, you might often be at a loss for something new to read. Then again, you could give some new authors a chance and possibly discover additional favorites.

Your turn: Do you demand more than one book a year from your favorite authors? If you’re a writer, have you stepped up production? Do you think, in this era of “impatient readers”, writing quality will suffer—or already has? Could these “impatient readers” be mythical creations born of publishers’ desperation for increased profits?

63 thoughts on “Dear Author, You’re a Slacker

  1. I’ve definitely been noticing a trend with the novellas and short stories popping up in YA between yearly novel releases. Me being me, I have to get those and read them as well.

    As a writer I think more than one book a year is difficult. I know of some authors who do two books a year, but that’s in YA and MG, not adult. I don’t know how anyone can do it. I’ve pulled back from the social aspect as well since it can be so demanding. At some point something has to give.

    You’re not a slacker at all! 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Heather. 🙂

      I know some people truly are prolific writers and able to maintain a fairly consistent high-quality, so I imagine they have no problem with their publishers demanding more, but I feel for those who aren’t naturally that way. I wonder how many of these writers who are increasing production while staying active in social media will crash and burn.

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  2. I’m an impatient reader in that always want the next book as quickly as possible. But I also want the next book to be as good as it can possibly be so that my experience with the series stays good. I don’t know if I believe that most writers can produce more than one book a year and do it well. Some can, I’m sure, but as the norm? I’m skeptical.

    Also, I saw you got a RAOK shoutout this week. Congrats!

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    1. Thank you, Miriam. 🙂

      Yes, I’d rather wait for a good book than have a slew of mediocre ones quickly. And I simply can’t write my books any faster, so I’m not accepting any pressure to do so.

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  3. I don’t demand an increase in the number of books, but I think I do demand a writer’s ability to grow with each book. It makes perfect sense, the more she writes, the better her writing. I just finished the latest Sookie Stackhouse book and you can tell the author was just going through the motions. It makes me sad because the earlier books in the serious were fun, engaging and a great escape. Now I read out of obligation … which is seriously waning.

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    1. Kimberly, it sounds like that author has lost interest in the series, but her publisher (and fans?) demand more. I suppose that’s a risk with series writing. Like you said, we readers excuse a weak book now and then from our favorite authors, but there’s a limit.

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  4. I happily wait a year for new books from my fave authors. I think the demand to produce and produce and produce is way too much pressure and I think the quality could suffer. Personally I would rather read a story the author felt needed telling rather than one demanded by public pressure. Now I am off to read that article!

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