The Writer’s Journey: Quality vs Quantity

There are two main reasons why I’m writing this blog post. (Well, actually three, but I can’t really talk about that last one so let’s all pretend I’m whistling innocently here.)

Reason number one: I have a shit ton of writing to do and I just finished two more chapters for Legacy book 3 (gotta write in advance, you see). Essentially I need a break so why not blog?

Reason number two is that I’m gonna talk about this on tomorrow’s podcast (a special episode where I talk about the business side of mah business – see what I did there?) so I might as well give you a preview.

This post will serve well as an artist’s guide cos really, we are all artists. It’s just our medium that differs. I’ve heard tons of arguments about quality versus quantity – mainly along these lines:

(Pretend these are in pretentious voice)

“Good art takes time.” “If you spend two years on something instead of one, it’ll be a better piece of work.” “You can’t rush greatness.”

BULLSHIT

Our reality nowadays is that of the video-game generation: we want content hard and fast, today instead of tomorrow and as perfect as possible if you please. Our market is changing by the month, as opposed by the year as was the case merely five years ago.

The reality is that we can no longer rely on our work to represent us. Whatever idea you just had, a million and one other people just had it. So how on Earth do you establish yourself?

People have always looked for a voice in someone – that thing that makes the artist unique. THAT is what you sell.

Look at my story. Wizard detective. It’s been done a billion times. Almost every Urban Fantasy story is based on that concept.

But only I can do LEGACY series. ONLY Ryan (me) can write it in that specific way with those specific elements, because that story has my VOICE.

Hence, you must establish you voice first and this is usually done with your debut work. A singular work to give people a taste of what has yet to come.

But we live in a gluttonous world, where people cannot wait any longer. There are way too many distractions around and you are easily forgotten. What I’m talking about here is basic Supply and Demand.

So instead of waiting a year to release that sequel, you better have it ready to ship out in a few months. That way people will have not one but two books of yours to buy that year. They will hear your VOICE not once but twice.

Quod Est Demonstratim – you are TWICE as hard to forget.

I can hear you say it already: “Ryan what if I have a trilogy? Won’t that be two years of making money instead of three?”

Yes.

Which is why you must write something else.

Almost every established author got their name from one hit series, but let me assure you Mr. Purist, that even seasoned writers will tell you that you cannot eat with just one series.

And guess what: writing a second, or third, series will be nothing but positive.

First off: if you can’t write book 2 of series 1 quick enough, just write book 1 of series 2 and then guess what – by the end you’ll have 2 books of TWO different series.

TAA DAA.

Also you have to Genre hop – i.e. write in more than one genre.

If you’re one of those people who think artists should stick to just one thing and do it well, then you gotta pull your head outta your ass.

This boils down to simple math.

You write in market A and have 1000 loyal followers.

Then you write in market B and gain 500 followers.

Then when you release you next book for market A, those 1000 followers will buy it, but you’ll also have a few from market B checking it out just in case they don’t care about your genre and LIKE THE WAY YOU WRITE.

Your voice.

So, to conclude this:

  • write well (no substitute for this)
  • write constantly
  • at least 2-3 novels per year and publish them (about a novel every 4-6 months)
  • write in more than one genre

 

Tune in to The Lurking Voice tomorrow for more about this.

See you then,

Ryan

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6 comments on “The Writer’s Journey: Quality vs Quantity
  1. I agree. I think it’s completely possible to publish more than one novel a year, and (in fact) a lot of readers on the market expect that today. I published book two of my trilogy only 8 months after book 1, and readers still mentioned that it had been too long. Amazed me considering most authors release one per year. I think genre hopping is not only important for a reader base but also for a writer to expand their voice. We learn by doing what scares us, by accomplishing something we thought we couldn’t, by pushing our boundaries. Writing in another genre can teach writers so much, even if they don’t want to share it with the world.
    ~SAT

  2. […] ← The Writer’s Journey: Quality vs Quantity […]

  3. aedmonds315 says:

    Ryan where the heck were you last August, lol. I published my first erotic romance and had no idea I wouldn’t be able to keep writing as life and promoting got in the way. Now I am blogging and writing my second book. But yes I wish I would have had two books to put out back to back. And I guess I could have but I didn’t want a cliff hanger. Cutting my first book in half at just the right moment and then releasing the second book which is really still the first is what most authors are doing. What are your feeling about cliff hangers?

    • enkousama says:

      Last August I was busy editing Firstborn (my first novel). Cliff hangers are OK so long as they tie in properly . . . and make the readers want to throw the author off a cliff! The writing life is a life style – life becomes writing regardless of hurdles, although that is easier said than done. I wish you luck with your novels and look forward to hearing from you again. updates are always welcome 🙂

  4. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really loved browsing your blog posts.

    After all I’ll be subscribing in your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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