An interesting story from the Boston Globe today , talking about the pressures that many top writers feel from publishers desperate to have them write at least one book a year.
And yet … it annoys the hell out of me in some ways too 🙂 I mean, they’re talking about pop thrillers and adventure here, not “high literature” types (which is not to denigrate their quality at all), but they’re feeling genuinely upset about being forced into a book a year.
Hey … if anyone wants me to write a book a year for them, I’m right here!
There are several levels to this … on the one hand, if you think about workload, it’s really not particularly hard to write 100,000+ words in 6-8 months if that is your full time work (obviously if you’ve also got a day job, this is completely different, but we’re talking about bestsellers here). That’s just the raw workload of course, which doesn’t take research, planning and inspiration into account, but if you think about it, from a practical viewpoint at least, it’s entirely possible.
But the authors do resent being seen as factory producers, and some do want to let inspiration take it’s own way, and some want to let their literary pretension have more time to work (Dennis Lehane did this quite well I guess, as the article mentions). The article does then point out that it’s actually BETTER for most authors, especially in these popular genres, to publish a book a year, as it keeps their name out there and keeps their audience buying — at least one author in the profile talks about his sales going down the longer he went between releases.
I get what they mean … but again, as an outsider, I can’t help but feel like their whinging over nothing as well. I’d do most anything to be able to do nothing but write fiction for a living, and at this stage at least, I’d find it very hard NOT to write a book a year.
In the meantime, I slog away, writing when I can, writing inbetween whatever else I’ve got going on in my life. Will get there eventually 🙂