If you’re an indie author, how often should you publish? Is there such a thing as publishing too often? Can you “compete with yourself?”
Victoria posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page:
Using the Snowflake design process, I have completed a YA fantasy novel and am in the last stages of structuring its sequel. I am not yet published and plan to do so independently. I can comfortably write and polish a full-length novel in four months, but I realize that four months is quite a narrow schedule for systematically releasing new novels. How closely together do you think is reasonable to release novels in the YA fantasy genre?
Randy sez: If you’re an indie author, four months between releases is fine. Many indies publish more often that that, and it doesn’t hurt them. Most indies, in fact, think it helps.
This is the opposite of what most traditional publishers believe, at least those whose focus is getting paper editions into bookstores. In that case, they’re fighting with the problem of limited bookshelf space, and it’s certainly true that bookstores will have a problem with authors who publish very frequently.
So traditionally published authors have to worry about competing with themselves. Bookstores just don’t want to order copies of different books that are produced at the same time by the same author.
You can argue that this isn’t rational, because you aren’t really competing with yourself–you’re competing with the million other authors out there. Doesn’t matter. This is reality.
But most indies aren’t in brick-and-mortar bookstores. Most indies only sell online, and for them, the more often they publish, the better. Indies don’t worry about competing with themselves, because the online stores have unlimited shelf space.
If you read the January issue of my Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, you’ll remember my “Success Equation”, which goes like this:
Success = (Target Audience Size) x Quality x Discoverability x Production
You multiply the four terms on the right to determine your success.
That last term on the right, “Production,” is the number of books you publish per year.
All other things being equal, the higher your Production, the better.
So 3 books per year is excellent. If you can maintain the same Quality and produce 4 or 5 or 10 books per year, then all the better.
Good luck, Victoria! I’m glad the Snowflake Method has been helpful to you and I hope you have fun in your writing and build an audience who loves your work.
If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer them in the order they come in.