Too Many Books? Is it Possible?

We all know you can’t read too much, right? There’s no such thing as owning too many books, dusting and shelf space aside. But can you write too many books? Some of us are prolific, some of us are not–although of course that’s a very relative statement. I was Chez Target the other day and saw a Nora Roberts book that sounded kinda familiar, and I couldn’t remember if I’d read it or not. I scoured the book for rerelease info until my husband urged me into auto supplies and out of the space-time warp that book sections become to me.
I wondered: has Nora written too many books? I suppose she hasn’t received too many advances. I remember when I’d pick up each of her new releases, but they’ve all run together in my head! (I’m still a fan.)
Seriously, for the rest of us who are just getting started: is more better? Should we have a release every month (which generally means writing for several companies)–and I’m obviously not talking about NY print here. Every two months? Three? Do we gain readers with more books or press our luck with our loyal readership? How long are you comfortable going without a release?
I’m slowing down in the coming months, charting a course, plodding along on a big WIP and gradually checking off my current commitments. How about you?


6 thoughts on “Too Many Books? Is it Possible?

  1. Becka says:

    Hey Ciar, I don’t think that there is such a thing as too many books. My first year on the scene (2005, not that long ago LOL) I kind of exploded everywhere. Books coming out of my ears, just about every month. I think that really helped get my name out there fast, even though it was a promotion nightmare for me.

    2006 has been a calmer year. In fact, I only have TWO books out this year (three if you count the reprint of the Christmas Anthol), as opposed to my NINE books in 2005…

    But 2007 will see me exploding again. 😛 I am both excited and terrified of the 2nd promotion nightmare I’m going to have to live again. Six books with a possible seven if my HEARTS ETERNAL sequel gets picked up.

    Having so many books out is a blessing for an author, because they have a giant backlist, nice royalties, and a decent fan base. For readers, I think if they have a favorite author, they’ll buy any book they have out, even if it’s 12 in one year. 🙂 And that’s good news for those readers who can read three books in a single day.

    It might suck for those readers who don’t have a lot of money to spend on each and every book, they can always buy from the backlist whenever they can. 🙂


  2. Jenn on the Island says:

    I’ve actually been holding off submitting to publishers until I have a greater volume of work. I don’t want to be a one-hit-wonder.

    I’ve only been writing for a year and it’s pretty slow going, but when I do finally get out there I want at least 2 releases a year to keep my name current and readers interests peaked.

    One a month, though, I would imagine gets a bit formulaic. Never read Nora, but Bertrice Small comes to mind. Much as I love Lady Small’s books none seem new and interesting lately.

  3. Toni Sue says:

    As long as there is quality among the masses, then quantity is good. Unfortunately, if someone is striving for quantity, they may end up losing more readership than they gained. It’s all about quality for me as a reader. I can’t really speak as a writer as my first release is in November 🙂

  4. Becka says:

    Yes, quality is a big issue with having many books out a year. The prolific writer might bang out that many books, but are they all *that* good??

    What happened to me was what Jenn is talking about. As I submitted my books, I kept on writing more and more until I finally got a nibble. Then another nibble. And another, until all the stories I’d written had contracts. I was drowning in contracts and that’s how I had so many books so fast.

    So for me, it wasn’t so much that I was just trying to get the next book out and sold, it was the fact that I love to write and I wrote a lot while waiting on New York (they take forever). By the time the e-publishing houses took interest in me, I had a big list of books for them to choose from. 😛


  5. Nonny says:

    I think it depends on several things. One, as others have mentioned, quality. It’s easy to bang out several books a year — but it’s not as easy to do several GOOD books.

    The other thing would be demand. If you have an established series that people like and want more of, I think you’ll have a lot more response than you would if you were doing one-offs all over the place. Just IMO. 🙂

  6. Laurie D. says:

    We all seem to be in agreement that we want quality over quantity. You need to think about yourself in the equasion – does the stress of cranking out one book right after the other take a toll on your mind and/or your body – what about relationships with those you love? Are you spread too thin? If so, then it doesn’t matter what your adoring readers want. I’m not so selfish that I want my favorite authors to suffer for trying to keep me in books. I want them as happy as they make me with their great work!

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