There was an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times today about a YA writer named John Green and his success in the realm of social media. Green produces a popular video blog and has over one million followers on Twitter. That's an awful lot compared to my 14 followers! What really struck me about the article, however, was this quote from Green:
"When you're writing a novel, you spend four years sitting in your basement and a year waiting for the book to come out and then you get the feedback. When you do work online, the moment you're finished making it, people start responding to it which is really fun and allows for a kind of community development you just can't have in novels."
Now obviously, Green isn't considering the world of online publishing. When "Indie" novelists like myself finish a book, we design a cover, have the book proofread, and put it up right away. No year-long wait to get it up or to get feedback
This quote points out another huge difference between the traditional publishing model and "Indie" publishing. Successful indie novelists don't generally have the luxury of taking four years to work on a book. They crank out the titles. All of the big names in online self-publishing these days put out titles at an amazing rate. This is something they just couldn't do in the traditional system, where writers do have to wait around to be fit into their publisher's schedule.
Amanda Hocking famously wrote many of her 70,000-word novels in just 2-3 weeks each, finishing 17 novels by the time she was 26. If she'd gone with the four-year model, that would have taken her 68 years just to write them, never mind getting them out!
So one thing that this self-publishing revolution is doing is most definitely speeding up the process. Successful indie authors are often those who can write and get their books out the fastest, and without a publishing house schedule, they can get them out as fast as they write them.
But what of those writers who need more time to write them? Those of us who can't just crank them out? I'm currently working on a draft of my latest novel, and I definitely feel pressure to get it done and out as soon as possible. Time is money, right?! But I just can't rush it. I have to let it develop in my subconscious and mature as the process goes along. If I want to make a living at this, though, I don't have the luxury of John Green. I can't take four years to write a book. I'd starve in the meantime. So I need to find a balance.
At the moment it has been more than six months since I came out with my last book, Sweet Ophelia. I'd hoped to have my next done by now, but maybe if I can get a book out every nine months or so that will be enough to get by. I guess only time will tell!