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Rapid Release: The Pros and Cons

How often should a romance author release a new book? The answer depends on who you ask. If it's a traditionally published author, the answer can range from every six months to once a year, depending on the publishing company's schedule. If you ask an indie author, their answer will range from once a quarter to three-to-four times a year. But if you ask a romance reader, they'll respond once a month, if possible.

Romance readers are a voracious bunch. It's no secret that the book it took an author months or years to write and publish, a reader can consume in a few hours and immediately look for the author's next release. It's gratifying but also frustrating and can cause authors to feel pressured to keep up with the demand.

When I first began writing, I had a goal of two or three releases a year. Actually, that's not accurate. When I first began my publishing journey, I was traditionally published. My only responsibility was to write, submit, and write the next book. Now that I'm independently published, my goal is two to three books a year, depending on their length. However, I'm also responsible for everything my publisher previously did. It gives me more control, but I also have more responsibilities. Responsibilities that have taken away from my writing time.

But, to be honest, I'm tired. I could devote more time to writing and push myself to publish my next book to meet my goals. Releasing a book a quarter is nice for the bottom line. Those first few royalty checks on a new release look really nice. However, it's also stressful, and no matter how often you release, someone will still be asked, when does the next book release? This, as stated before, is a blessing and a curse.

Even if I could manage it, I doubt I'd be a super producer. First, I'm not a fast writer. Second, I tend to be a moody writer. I have to be in the mood to sit down and write. Otherwise, it's a waste of time. And some days, I just don't see the point.

Back during the days when I was an editor for a publisher, there was an author who released a book a month. I'd begun reading her books, but after a while, it got to be too much. I hadn't finished the last one when the next was released. Before I knew it, I was behind by several books. Some readers would take that as a challenge to catch up. It overwhelmed me. That's been over ten years ago, and I don't think I've read a book by her since.

From a business standpoint, rapid release might sound good on the surface. However, rapid release doesn't allow a reader time to explore your back catalog. It also doesn't give an author time to advertise previously published books. Worse, it assumes that readers have already read everything you've written, which is a little arrogant, in my opinion. (This applies to me, too, as I frequently find myself not advertising my backlist on the assumption that readers have already read it.)

These last two years, my goal of publishing two to three books a year has slowly dwindled to being grateful to have published one. Some of it is because my focus has shifted. I don't want to spend every free moment writing, publishing, and advertising. I've reclaimed my personal life, and it feels good. Do I miss the larger royalty checks? You bet, but if I do my job right and keep pushing my backlist, those royalties will keep rolling in as new readers get introduced to my work.

So, if you're an author, how many books do you plan to release next year? If you're a reader, how often would you like your favorite authors to release?

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