Writerly corners of the internet have been abuzz this week about this little piece in the New York Times: Impatience Has Its Reward: Books Are Rolled Out Faster:
The practice of spacing an author’s books at least one year apart is gradually being discarded as publishers appeal to the same “must-know-now” impulse that drives binge viewing of shows like “
House of Cards” and “Breaking Bad.”
While 24-7 internet culture may be shifting our entertainment expectations, digital publishing is surely of influence as well, with its quicker production schedules and near-instant distribution options. Digitally published authors often hope to capitalize on the binge impulse by including sell pages in the back of their e-books with links to their other titles. As the article quotes,
“It’s so much easier to buy books online,” Ms. Weis said. “The temptation is right at your fingertips because you don’t have to go to the bookstore. We have to play to that.”
As with any new innovation, an accelerated pub schedule is not going to be one-size-fits-all success for every book. As traditional publishers experiment with some of the speedy strategies that have served self-pubbers well, they’re accepting some risks alongside the advantages:
But for many writers out there, all this talk of release dates and market trends is still ahead of you, in the tantalizing future when your book is published. It’s a dream come true for readers to discover your work at all! Don’t be impatient as you pursue this dream – the most important place to slow down is before your project even gets to the market. Not just writing a great book, but revising and re-writing, polling beta readers, incorporating professional editorial input. Digital publishing can seem like a quicker path to the finish line, but it’s still more of a marathon, even a relay, than a sprint.
What do you think? Is the binge-watching spirit of Netflix spreading to the book business?
Do authors need plenty of time to hone their work and build anticipation, or should they shift their focus to publishing schedule that feeds a (hopefully) hungry market?