This morning, as I was scrolling Twitter looking for tips, tricks and things I can re-tweet, I came across a link to a blog post about the problem with quantity-driven writing.
As an author of romantic fiction, this is something I—along with my legion of fellow scribblers—struggle with. You need to stay relevant; you need readers to keep finding more new stuff from you. So you’re under constant pressure to keep writing, keep publishing, keep developing storylines.
But heaven help you if you start pushing out crap!
It’s a hard balance to maintain, and many authors, even traditionally published authors, can’t keep up the pace. In Goodreads I came across one review for a book I’d recently read which stated, “I don’t bother with anything that [author name omitted] has written post 1999.”
My own mother warned me off reading a certain well-known romance author because her newer books were nothing but insufferable, second-rate rehashes of her previous successes (my mom’s words, not mine).
What’s a writer to do?
If world-renowned New York Times-ers can’t manage that balance over the long haul … what hope do I have?
Or, in a less self-pitying tone, how do I stay fresh and deliver quality content, and how do I balance that with getting it out fast?
… I don’t have any answers. I’m sorry if you’ve read this far thinking I was going to divulge the secret.
Writing for the long-haul
I’ve made no secret of it before: I have no pity for writers who are out solely to make money. Of course earning a living off your writing is important, but if you’re not in it for the long-haul, if writing is not your true vocation, then I’m not talking about you in this post.
For me, my books are important. What readers think of my books are important. I care deeply about pleasing. So it’s with the long-haul in mind that I ask the following question:
Readers, what is important to you?
What do you make of this need to push out books with a high degree of frequency, and what does that mean for the kinds of stories you want to read? Do you know and love an author that delivers quality stories with consistency? Do you lament an author who has perhaps let his or her standards slide in the constant push for quantity and relevance?
I’d love to hear from you.