How fast can they write? E-books push writer productivity(Read article summary)
A dozen books a year? Some writers are accelerating the pace in this brave new world of e-books.
If you think e-books have changed readersâ lives, consider how theyâve changed the lives of some of your favorite authors â if they havenât already consumed them entirely.
According to a front-page article in the Sunday New York Times, the advent of e-books, instant downloads, and readersâ increasingly insatiable appetite for content translates into unprecedented productivity for novelists specializing in mysteries, thrillers, and romance, with some authors writing as many as 13 books per year to meet demand. Itâs an e-revolution of sorts in which lightning-fast speed has taken over the traditionally snail-paced world of book publishing.
â[T]he e-book age has accelerated the metabolism of book publishing,â Julie Bosman writes for the Times. âAuthors are now pulling the literary equivalent of a double shift, churning out short stories, novellas or even an extra full-length book each year.â
âThey are trying to satisfy impatient readers who have become used to downloading any e-book they want at the touch of a button, and the publishers who are nudging them toward greater productivity in the belief that the more their authorsâ names are out in public, the bigger stars they will become.â
âIt used to be that once a year was a big deal,â Lisa Scottoline, a best-selling author of thrillers,Â told the Times. âYou could saturate the market. But today the culture is a great hungry maw, and you have to feed it.â
According the Times, Ms. Scottoline increased her own output from one book a year to two, âwhich she accomplishes with a brutal writing schedule: 2,000 words a day, seven days a week, usually âstarting at 9 a.m. and going until Colbert,â she said.â
And then thereâs James Patterson, a thriller novelist who wrote 12 books last year (aided in some cases by co-writers). This year his publisher expects to publish 13 Patterson thrillers.
Readers, it seems, are happy to consume the titles as fast as the novelists can write them.
But as we read the NYT piece, we couldnât help but wonder, isnât this trend concerning to anyone? Should books be produced a dime a dozen, with authors churning them out like widgets from a factory? And should we, as readers, encourage these insta-books?
It took Leo Tolstoy seven years to write "War and Peace" and it shows. There may be room for both Tolstoys and Pattersons on your shelf, but weâd like to encourage more of the former. After all, with an output of 12 or 13 books per year, whoâs got space for all those Pattersons?
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.