Thursday 21 July 2016

Inside The Author: Why Don't I Release All The Ones I've Written?


For those of you who have been following either my blog, or this book blog tour, you'll have realised that I'm working on books that are further ahead than the number I've released. For example, DYING THOUGHTS - FOURTH WEEK is my eighth book and at the time of writing, I'm working on the first chapters of books fifteen and sixteen. I have had a number of people ask me why I haven't just done a mass release as I've obviously finished the books and if I just got them all edited and ready, I would have a bigger arsenal to my name.

There are a number of reasons why I don't do that. One of these is that when I was first published through AuthorHouse, I couldn't afford to get more than one book published, yet I kept writing. This led to me accumulating a "backlog", so to speak. When I started as an indie author under the Bug Books label, I did release a number of books at once. My first four were all released within the space of a few months. I then followed six months later with my fifth, LYNNE & HOPE and since then have done one a year. I did initially plan to release one in the summer and another the following winter and continue on that pattern, but the amount of time, effort and energy spent getting a book ready meant that I couldn't keep up with it, and neither could my editor.

I am chronically ill and my energy is closely guarded. I wanted to keep writing, and I am also terrified of getting to the point where I'm working on the book that is the next to be released. I know that everyone has to work to some kind of deadline, but since I got sick, I don't do well with them. I was the same with my uni work - I got ahead of the schedule so that when not feeling 100%, I could take time off without the added stress of falling behind and having to catch up. I spend a lot of time in the hospital and also in bed resting, as well as time spent when I am just too ill to even think about writing.

I work around it in some ways by having a tablet which I can use to write with when I'm in the hospital, or when I'm just stuck in bed. I'm usually well enough to at least sit in my wheelchair at my desk, but sometimes I just can't cope with the energy spent typing and thinking. I know it sounds weird to people who have no experience of this kind of chronic illness, but for me, it's a fact of life.

So, I choose to avoid the stress and worry of disappointing readers because I have not yet finished the latest book by having a backlog of books. It's another reason why I write two at once, not just because it works for me, but because when (and it will happen eventually) I get to the point where I am working on my latest release, I will hopefully also be working on the one that comes after it.

Another reason is the sheer amount of energy it takes for me to read through my first draft and get it ready to send to my editor. I also like to let my work sit and rest for a while before going back to it with fresh eyes and reading it through. It helps me to be more objective about what needs to be in the story and what doesn't and it means that I can read it as if I were a reader and not the author. I found that when I read and edit my first draft so soon after writing, I'm still in the whole "it's my baby and perfect, don't criticise" mindset, which some writers get after they've slaved away at a keyboard for a year or so.

On top of that, it allows me time to work out what design I want for the front cover, and gives my artist time to work on that. Both my cover designer and editor have other life commitments that mean it is not their full time job and while they both work very hard to bring their A game to the table, life sometimes gets in the way. Overall, it gives us all a bit of breathing space to make sure that when the book is released, it's the best it can be, with the best cover it can have and tells the story in the best way possible. So, while it may seem that it's a bit backward, it's the way I found allows for any ill health and also keeps me steadily releasing a book a year and still finding the time (and energy) to write more!

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