Did you guys see this piece in the New York Times this weekend? Jennifer Weiner tweeted it out, and I'm so glad that it caught my eye. (I subscribe to the Times, but I'll be honest in saying that I don't always have time to read it until a few days later!)
Anyway, it's about exactly what we've been discussing here on this blog: how much times have changed in the publishing world, in terms of what is asked of authors. Publishers used to want one book a year. Now they want TWO. And in between that, they want social media, short stories and a variety of other things. It's no wonder a lot of us are tired. (And I'm not slamming the publishers. They're doing what they must, I suppose, to keep reader interest.)
For me personally, I could never write two books a year. I have friends who do, and I applaud them. But I know that my quality would suffer, suffer, suffer, and I also don't think that I'd have anything fresh to write about. And I think it's really detrimental to write a book for the sake of writing a book. But this may just be the brave new world of publishing. Only the strong will survive. :)
That said, and I completely understand why publishers want to have new material at hand all the time, I do wonder about oversaturation. Yes, in the article, they say that there's no concern about this, but I still wonder. People buy fewer and fewer books these days, and unless you're a household name (say a James Patterson - who doesn't even personally write his books anymore, I believe), I really don't know if readers can keep up. In theory, of course they can, but do they? I can only speak anecdotally to this but certainly, I had/have favorite authors who produce book after book, and it's not that I'm trying to lose track but I do. I may not buy the new one if I still haven't read the last one. Again, I know that the industry peeps refute this idea, but I don't know...I'd be curious to see data (which I will never see, so I'm only asking this hypothetically) of authors who publish this frequently. I bet this amped up cycle helps the big names, but for the mid-list authors? I'm unconvinced. Which, then, of course, raises the whole other issue: if you're doing everything that the industry asks of you and not seeing your sales bump up to the big time, what else are you supposed to do?
I guess that's the question that everyone - including the folks in the article - are asking themselves these days. What do you think? Is more product the answer to the lagging industry?