How Many Stories Out This Year? How Many Is Too Many?

This year I’m a bit stunned. I’ve got a lot of stories coming out or that have already been released. Pretty much it was by accident because the universe lined up that way. But how many books is too many? Bear with me. I have a point to make eventually. Here’s what I have out this year:

Under Fire

One London Night

Before There Was You (March 10–Available for preorder now)

One Chance With You (release date TBA)

Cooper’s Haven (release date TBA)

Double Threat (release date TBA)

Meet Me At The Castle (May 12, 2014 release)

Body Language (July 7, 2014 release)

WHEW. That’s a lot. Eight stories. I must qualify by saying that Under Fire, Once Chance With You, Cooper’s Haven, Double Threat, Meet Me At The Castle and Body Language are either short stories or novellas. Only Before There Was You and One London Night are novel length.

That being said, there are authors who average writing twelve books/novellas a year. I couldn’t do it. Probably not even if I had to. Why? Because my creativity doesn’t work as well under the pressure of deadlines or “shoulds.” It shuts down and has a temper tantrum. Not only does my creativity demand I write what I want when I want, it won’t create series that goes on forever or allow me to stay in one genre of romance. That’s why I can’t say I have a “brand” because I refuse to be slotted into being one type of romance writer. I’m just not happy if I’m not writing whatever blows my skirt up and when it blows my skirt up. Man, did it take a long time for me to understand that.

Under Fire and Double Threat are in the erotic military romantic suspense arena. One London Night is World War Two romance, Body Language is erotic romantic suspense, Before There Was You qualifies as contemporary with a little romantic suspense, Cooper’s Haven and Once Chance With You aren’t erotic, but they do have suspense. Meet Me At The Castle is a historical paranormal romance. So I’m all over the map. And that’s the way my muse likes it. Body Language and Meet Me At The Castle (in their original form…they’ve been revised) were written several years ago. It took me two years to write Under Fire and Double Threat (and the first story in the trilogy, Sudden Heat) because I was writing other stuff and paused. One London Night, with research and writing, took about five or six months to write in first draft. Before There Was You took about two months, and it’s a good size novel, but it is unusual for me to crank out a first draft that fast. Cooper’s Haven and Once Chance With You took less than a month or two to write both, but again they are short.

What’s my point in telling anyone this? Because as a writer and creativity coach, I’ve seen many writers beating themselves up because a New York Times best seller they know writes ten or twelve books a year. The author lamenting that they don’t write that many books thinks they should. I mean, isn’t that what “real” success is? Nonsense. The only number of books an author should write is what keeps them sane. If that means one book a  year, so be it. Writing twelve books a year or publishing six a year means there’s all the promotion and other add on that goes with it. Writing sixteen hours a day, seven days a week isn’t generally healthy either, but some people do it.

Point is this…the number of books you write a year should be what is comfortable and feels just right. Not so many that your health suffers, your relationships suffer and you never leave the house. When you start to feel stress, it’s time to reassess.

Your public service announcement for the day. :)

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Responses to “How Many Stories Out This Year? How Many Is Too Many?”

  1. anny cook says:

    Exactly, Denise. The first year I wrote eleven books (mostly on the longer length) in fourteen months. The next year? six. By the time I hit year three, I was down to three. Last year…um, none.

    In the last three years, the hunk and I have dealt with all sorts of medical issues. At first I felt like a failure because I couldn’t seem to concentrate on my “work”. It took me a while to understand life sometimes interferes.

    I haven’t given up writing. But I’m no longer obsessing about it. And I suspect once I get my life straightened out, then the writing will come back into focus.

    So the answer is…the correct number of books is what is right for you!

  2. I’ve been wrestling with this issue lately and have come to this same conclusion. It’s a good thing to stretch our comfort zone a little, not so good to put so much pressure on ourselves that we lose the ability to enjoy our work and our lives.

    Congratulations on the releases!

  3. I’ve noticed a lot of people wrestling with it Frankie. I finally had to say something. :)

  4. Anny, that second that says “that’s a lot” was supposed to be a reply to your note. Sorry about that. LOL.

    Anny, if you find that the writing ISN’T coming back, let me know! I’m also a creativity coach. :)

    As for write number of books a year for me? It depends on the year. LOL. I can probably write two full length or maybe three a year full length before I’d be pushing it. :) Realistically it’s probably better for me to do two full length a year and maybe a short one here and there.

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