We’re a generation of impatient consumers who want everything all at once–movies, music, television, and now books. Because we’re also a generation of people who love stories. We love to live in them and not just for an hour but for days. We love to curl up on the couch in front of the television indulging in a little (or a lot) of Netflix or with our tablet reading an entire series in one sitting.
It’s the ultimate and most immersive form of escapism and has become such a popular way of consuming media that television series are now being released all at once and publishing companies are looking to mimic that model by releasing books in a series closer together and demanding more than just one novel a year from their contracted authors. Something that indie authors have already been doing for years and yet with traditional publishers jumping on the bandwagon the pressure to produce a high quality product in half the time is no doubt going to change the every day life of writers everywhere.
As a consumer nothing sounds better than waiting three months rather than a year for the next book in a series I love to come out. But as a writer the whole idea of releasing three to four projects a year is no doubt a daunting one. I released three books in 2013 but I didn’t write three books in just twelve months and I’m not sure that I could. It takes me 6-8 months to write an entire novel, start to finish, revisions included but with the new model that’s emerging that might not be quick enough.
Quality is going to become a big issue of contention for a lot of authors out there feeling the pressure to be more prolific and one that might have some unfortunate effects on the landscape of literature. Not to mention, with even more books on the market, the competition for ideal release dates, attention on blogs and other media outlets, and reaching the consumer might only become even more fierce. And yet I can’t deny that there will also be some amazing benefits.
We as writers will have the opportunity to cut out the waiting game completely and release things when we’re ready rather than when our publisher is ready and because of this we’ll be able to reach out and connect to our readers even more. Stories will stay fresh in their minds and so will the anticipation of the next installment which means that finding an audience will not only become easier but more sustainable. We’ll also be able to let go of things more freely and in a more timely manner, moving on to whatever new projects happen to be exciting and inspiring us at that moment. Which might also inspire us to explore other genres or other topics resulting in more original stories that might not have been born otherwise. We’ll also have the amazing opportunity to earn a more sustainable living which means more of us will be able to make the transition to writing full time.
But despite all of these opportunities it will still be readers who benefit the most from this. They’ll have even more books at their disposal and the fact that they won’t have to wait as long for releases from their favorite authors will only increase their appetite. People will start devouring books the way we devour everything else and just like it’s done for television, it will create this trickle down effect, inspiring readers to discover other authors and give their books a chance.
It’s not just about writing books anymore, it’s about becoming a living, breathing part of our culture. And that means adapting to change. No doubt change is scary and this new way of writing won’t be ideal for everyone but there are ways to make the most of this next revolution of publishing, especially when we stop to consider that writing more in less time doesn’t have to restrict us. In fact, if we can learn to marry our own expectations with those of our readers, it might actually turn out to be quite liberating.