KNOWING HOW OFTEN TO PUBLISH
This is a topic that has been on my to-do list when it comes to writing pieces that I've kept putting off for the simple reason that I don't think it's as cut and dried as people might like to think. After all, it should be a case of you publish whenever you have a book that's ready, right? Yes, a resounding yes, but there are other factors that come into play. Some of them apply across the board, some of them are a more nuanced thing and I guess part of me writing this is me trying to ascertain which ones apply to me, and to the writing community as a whole.
For backstory, I'm 41, and will be publishing my 21st book this year (pre-order it here) I have drafted, as in finished the first draft, almost 50 books. So I have a massive backlog, and for some writers this wouldn't be the case in that if they have a finished draft, they will go through the publishing process and get every single one of them up and ready to buy ASAP. I both can't, and don't want, to do that. A lot of things come into play for my decision, I'm disabled and I struggle with deadlines as much as the next person. Editing a book takes a long time and a lot out of me. I don't have the funds to pay for editing another 20-odd books, and even if they were to instantly sell and become massive things, I just don't want to spend what little time and energy I have on that process.
It sounds like what I'm saying is that I don't want to publish them, which just isn't the case. I do, but in my own time. For a lot of authors, their own time is doing it when the book is finished, but for others, like me, it's a case of taking time to revise and edit, and do it right the first time around. Now before someone comes for me in the comments, that is not me saying that those who publish a lot and fast don't take their time, it's just me saying that every one has a different twenty-four hours, and that's completely okay.
So how do you decide how often to publish? How do you navigate that minefield, because it certainly feels like that at times, and hit the right mark when it comes to your own works? How do you know whether something like rapid release is good for you, for your readers, for your genre and so on? I can't answer all of those completely, but I can give you some insight in to how I personally made, and will continue to make, those choices.
#1 WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
This, I feel, is the most important one. If you're someone who knows you can keep up with both drafting, and editing and all of that, then obviously your choice is going to be different compared to me, who just can't do all of that. Rapid release is a viable marketing and publishing tool, and if you know that you can keep up, and it's something that fits your personal genre and age category, then it might be something you choose to do. As far as I can remember, rapid release is defined as more than four books a year. I'm not even close to that bar one year when I did three, and I really struggled with it, and wouldn't do it again, so I'm not the best person to ask about it.
But if, like me, you find that publishing one or two books a year is more than enough for you, that's completely okay too. Some people find a happy medium between the two, where they'll do more one year and less the next. It's more about working out what's going to fit your goals, and your work load, and you commitments. After all, I can write fast, but I don't edit and the like fast, so I know that me trying to churn out a massive amount of my backlog is only going to stress me out and lead to burnout which no one wants.
#2 WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR GENRE/CATEGORY
This is a big one, because I know that there are some genres in young adult that do better with shorter times between releases. I know that if you have a series, it's a good idea to try and release them pretty close together. It was for that reason that I did the three books in a year, to end out a long series, and start a new one. I then did two books for a time, before dropping back down to the one. Now there are ways around not wanting to overload yourself, there are authors who will write, edit and all of that, taking as much time as they need, before they then do a burst of releases of the finished books and series, and then drop off to write and repeat the cycle, so all is not lost if you, like me, can't pump them out fast enough.
Of course, this again is not an absolute. If you don't want to do that, or you feel like even though your genre can sometimes call for it, you just don't have the money or the time, or whatever reason, then you don't have to. I know that adult romance is a big one for more releases a year, but at the same time, there are, and will continue to be, successful authors who don't release a lot of books every year, some don't even release every year full stop, and that is very much a valid way of doing things.
At the end of the day, no one can make these choices for you. I didn't use to be someone who'd put a book on pre-order before I was done with edits and the like. It was something that would stress me out, but as my readership grew, and the publishing landscaped changed, I realised I was losing a lot of potential readers that way. How you choose to approach publishing, from the path you choose, to how many books you publish in any given time, is very personal. It's not something that anyone else can do for you, so remember that and keep moving forward at your own pace. There will always be readers waiting for your story.
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!
Monday, 24 July 2023
Knowing How Often To Publish - The After Process
KNOWING HOW OFTEN TO PUBLISH