Publish or Perish
One can attribute this phrase to academia, but it also applies to the fiction author. We are in competition with the thousands of books uploaded every week on Amazon. A book uploaded today for sale will be yesterday’s news unless we are hard at work not only writing a new book but also promoting it as what we’re working on at the present.
I’ve heard far too many authors recently talking about how you shouldn’t publish a novel more than every two years. That was the rule for decades. It takes time to write a novel, or to clean up what can only be described as a sad mess once you finish your annual NaNoWriMo madness during November. You not only need to write, revise, and edit your novel, but you also have to go through the submission process for agents and/or publishers, and then the pre-publication editing and proofreading before your book actually is ready for upload.
Okay, sounds pretty daunting, doesn’t it?
In a way, it is daunting, especially if you’re writing a series. Or several series. There are only so many hours in the day and you do have a real life that needs attention too. But the stories in our heads won’t go away. And that leads to a scheduling problem that will make the most compulsive person in the world scream in terror.
How do you manage to write so many books?
I’m asked that questions constantly, and not just by other authors. My fans also ask. My response is that I’ve been in this game for many years before I was published. Therefore, I have a huge stock of stories I’ve written—shorts, novellas, and novels—that are ready for a final polish and a query to my publisher. A little over twenty years ago, writing became my life. I learned how to work around housework, children’s activities, and a loving husband in order to pound out the stories in my head. With the children all adults now, I have a little more time, but the daily grind still presses against me, especially when I’m plotting through a difficult scene in order to make it work.
On top of all this, you, as the author, are also expected to promote your work daily on social media, to make appearances at the local library or schools, and to do your best to always be on display. Authors must always have a smile on their face and be willing to speak to total strangers about their work.
Yet, through all of this, we must also continue to pour out new tales, to contrive new scenarios, and to get that next book written far faster than any author has done in past decades. All of this is done so that our fans don’t move on to the newest author on Amazon. We want to whet their interest in our latest creation and still maintain a balance of being available.
So, yes, fiction authors are now living in a publish or perish world. We have the intense pressure of putting out new work every few months instead of every few years in order to keep people looking for our books. Yet, despite all that, I will stay with this crazy job I have, because I love it.