The Sequel Can Wait

18 Oct

Announcements:

The third section of my interactive poetry series has begun, and you can read the first poem – Miscarriage – by clicking the title. Here are the opening lines:

If I hadn’t stepped outside, I would not

have seen the cloud buried deep in the approaching

storm I vaguely remembering hearing about.

(Vote, share, and comment for your chance to be mentioned during my next YouTube video.)

Special thanks goes out to The Incorrigible Reader for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise, book 1 and book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, here. Find out why she said, “I really did love this series! It was intriguing, exciting, romantic, and so hard to put down!’ 

Another huge thank you goes out to SDAV Reads for reviewing Take Me Tomorrow. She describes both the character development and the world-building, but here’s a quote, “So even amidst some very serious fights, explosions, and runaway escapes worthy of Doctor Who, there is a lot of time spent with the emotions of the characters so that you end up feeling as connected to them as you ought to. They’re very well developed…If you like Dystopic books, or even if you don’t and you just want a good thriller, Take Me Tomorrow is certainly one to add to your shelf!” Read her full review here.

And I am thanking one more book blogger – Note to Selph Book Reviews – for also reading Take Me Tomorrow. You can read her full review by clicking the link, but here is a quote from her, “The overall plot was intriguing and exciting, filled with plenty of action running from police and sneaking out at night.”

I cannot thank you all enough! Please check out my books by clicking these links: Minutes Before Sunset and Take Me Tomorrow. If you write a review, let me know, and I will be sure to share it right here!

The Sequel Can Wait:

Before anyone freaks out, no, this is not about the release dates of Take Me Yesterday or Death Before Daylight. Not entirely anyway. Instead, it’s rather about the pressure writers can put on themselves to get the next book out – and fast – and how destructive it can be to the entire writing (and reading) experience.

You see, I once heard that authors nowadays are expected to release a novel every six months. I’ve actually heard this more than once, but I believe one of the times was during a discussion author, Ryan Attard, had on his podcast, The Lurking Voice. He was simply discussing this trend, not necessarily agreeing with it. I want to clarify that because I think the idea of getting a novel out every six months is fantastic. It’s just extremely difficult, and it should not be expected. Ever.

A lot goes on behind the scenes in the publishing world. Writing isn’t even half of it. Content editing is completely different than line-editing, and a line edit is different than just an edit. Those are just three types of editing, not to mention formatting for both an eBook or a paperback or – god forbid – the hours that go behind an audio book. And cover art! Geez. I could go on forever, and I’m not even talking about the amount of hours, people, or cost behind it all (or the fact that most of these people have second jobs).

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Don’t get me wrong. I think it is great if an author can get a book out every six months. It can be done, and it can, in fact, be professional. After all, four months passed between the release of Seconds Before Sunrise and Take Me Tomorrow (but that explanation is for another post). It can be done, and it can be done well, but that does not – by any means – mean that every author should do this. Unfortunately, especially in the Indie market, authors are often competing with one another (a rather ridiculous notion in itself, but moving on…) and I’ve seen a lot of arguments that authors can’t possibly release books that quickly.

Again, it can be done, but I think authors should pick their timelines based on nothing but themselves. Basing it on readers’ expectations can be really destructive. For instance, you might rush editing to meet a deadline, and now, there are more mistakes readers are picking out in your novels, but if you hadn’t been trying to meet a deadline, you might have been more careful.

I say this with great caution. I know that this topic can cause a lot of bad blood, but I am author, and I go through the pressures of releasing the next book every day. The pressures are mainly focused on three things: get it out quickly, efficiently, and professionally. I’ve lost sleep over it. I’ve worried I was going to lose readers if Death Before Daylight took an extra three months to release. I’ve given myself writer’s block over it. And let me tell you – it isn’t worth it.

How do I know this?

Well, to be quite honest, I don’t. I’m still learning, and I still mess up. I estimated that Death Before Daylight could be cut down to 80,000 words in content edits, and I’ve already surpassed it. That being said, this had added time to my timeline, so it will probably come out later than AEC has been anticipating, and I have been losing my little writer’s mind over it. I feel guilty, and a huge part of me feels irresponsible at timing, satisfying my readers, and estimating my work abilities. That is a hard pill to swallow. But it is even harder to realize it isn’t a pill I have to swallow. Things happen in this industry, and we must roll with the punches, and readers will, too.

In fact, the other day, one of my all-time favorite authors, Meg Cabot, announced she will be releasing book 7 of the Mediator in 2015. Just to let you all know, it has been 15 years since book 6 came out. 15. And you know what? Readers are ecstatic. I’m ecstatic. 15 years is nothing for a fan. Look at all the talk about Harry Potter coming back. That’s about 10 years, and everyone is practically begging for it. And The Mortal Instruments movie was canceled, but the T.V. show is coming out, and although some are reluctant, I think most fans will give it a shot.

Of course readers want the sequel now. I am a reader myself. I understand the anticipation. Waiting for City of Heavenly Fire was so painful I cannot even begin to describe the countdown on my iCalendar, but I still picked the book up when it finally did release, and I never held it against Cassandra Clare, and I will always be excited for the release of a sequel whenever it happens. But – sometimes – I forget that as an author. On the writer side of things, I tear myself down, but on the reader side, I am only filled with excitement, and I think every author can benefit by remembering the support readers feel for authors. That pressure to release the next book is not pressure. It is support. It is encouragement. It is an excited fan-base authors should be proud of, not worried about, and it is the next step to enjoying every release, no matter how long it takes.

No matter how much time passes, words are endless, and there will be someone to read them. 

~SAT

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22 Responses to “The Sequel Can Wait”

  1. Holly Michael October 18, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    Love that quote at the end. I’m seriously trying to do my sequel in six months but I may have my goal too high.

    • Shannon A Thompson October 18, 2014 at 12:45 am #

      I am glad you enjoyed the quote at the end! Thank you for reading. I hope you hit your goal, but either way, I’m sure you’ll have your readers. :]
      ~SAT

  2. emilyannbenedict October 18, 2014 at 12:22 am #

    I cannot tell you how much this post means to me. I just recently decided to hold off the last book in a series I’ve been releasing, even though people tell me if I don’t do it this year I’ll loose readers. I just knew it wouldn’t be any good if I rushed to my original deadline and to me that would be the worst fate a book can find. Thanks you for encouragement! Sometimes indie writers need it.

    • Shannon A Thompson October 18, 2014 at 12:48 am #

      I look at it this way: even if you lose readers, you will gain new ones that will stick through the waiting periods, and waiting never breaks my love for my favorite books. I am returning 15 years later to read Meg Cabot’s book, and I think that’s why I was reminded of how dedicated readers truly are. Sure, they might be sad that they cannot get the sequel, but they will be very happy when they finally can – as long as you had the time to be true to the story. Like you said, it matters that the book is told correctly, with passion and care, and if that takes extra time, I’m sure readers will understand and support you. I know I would.
      ~SAT

  3. rosewaterfall October 18, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    Take Me Tomorro sounds brilliant! I’ll definitely have to read that soon! 🙂 xx

  4. enkousama October 18, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    I remember talking about this and I agree with publishing every 6 months. What I meant was to put something out there, even if it’s a new series.

    We’re in a situation where we must either fill out libraries really quick or risk dying out. Patrick Rothfuss and JK Rowling can take years or decades to publish cos they can afford it – we can’t. We’re lucky if a book gets us 200 bucks a month and that is good because that means that the more we publish the more we earn.

    I also like your comment about competition. We still think this is a zero sum game and that sends most of indie authors down the well. We need co-petition not competition

    • Shannon A Thompson October 18, 2014 at 6:21 am #

      I agree! I think 6 months is really good. That’s why I’m always submitting short stories and poetry, and so far, so good, but – at the same time – I think the expectation of it can be really damaging to some authors, and therefore, be damaging to the market. The Indie market already has a bad reputation for poor-quality products, and I think trying to meet these expectations contributes a lot to the stereotype. (Hence, the slow down part, but also why I added that it can be done and done well.) It’s really up to the author, and I think it’s important to remember Rowling and Cabot weren’t Rowling and Cabot at one point. I have Indie authors I follow with just as much excitement as traditionally published authors. Readers will always be there. It might not be the same readers, but readers will be there, and I think that’s what matters.
      ~SAT

      • enkousama October 18, 2014 at 11:25 am #

        Yeah i agree. An there is this misconception that quick means poor quality. But this is like any sport: the more you practice, the better you get – and the faster you get.
        But i agree with the expectation part

  5. Charles Yallowitz October 18, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    This is reminding me about all the articles that came out about fans fearing that George R.R. Martin will die before he finishes Game of Thrones. People really don’t have much patience these days. I remember having to wait a year for the next book of a series unless I jumped in late.

    I think it’s around 3 or 4 months that I start getting messages about when my next book will come out. I typically have a good chance of pulling off a release every 3-4 months because I’m going full-time writer. I also didn’t start publishing on Kindle until I had my first 3 books written and mostly edited. So that created a huge cushion for me to write, outline, and edit ahead. So it’s really all about the situation of the author. Are they full-time or do they have a day job? How much prep work have they done on the future books? How busy is their editor and cover artist with other projects/life? Will they have a dang hard drive crash that leaves them crying and cursing on their blog? That last one still hurts.

    I’ve talked with several Indie Authors who try to push for releasing a 99 cent novella every month. They tell me it’s because the only way to survive is remaining in a constant state of new release. Some of these people release quality work, but most do mediocre editing (if any) and release shoddy material. Trying hard not to be a snob since I don’t catch every typo, but I think these actions are what helped give Indie Authors the reputation of being low quality. The market got flooded by the quickly produced, unrefined books.

    All of this really boils down to a simple fact: Just because you can release a book every few months, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. The readers might be upset about the wait, but the alternative is a terrible book and no professional author is going to say ‘my readers rushed me’.

    • Shannon A Thompson October 18, 2014 at 7:22 am #

      Charles,
      I could not have said it better! I agree with you completely. Your last two paragraphs are absolute gold (although everything is). Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!
      ~SAT
      P.S. Did you see Martin’s reaction to that? He flipped everyone off, and I loved it. He also pointed out how sad it was that readers cared more about the stories than an author’s actual life – almost as if the market has forgotten there are people behind the words.

      • Charles Yallowitz October 18, 2014 at 8:10 am #

        That was a great reaction. I was hoping he’d do something like that. It’s funny in the fantasy genre since it’s known for long epics. Readers are always terrified of a series stopping before the end. With what happened to Robert Jordan, it’s become a fear of an author dying. Like Martin said, it’s rather disturbing.

        On a lesser note, I have had readers learn that I’m also the full time parent here. So one or two have tried to blame my son for delays. That’s kind of creepy.

    • Heather October 18, 2014 at 9:02 am #

      Charles,

      That’s awful that people are blaming you’re son! I agree that readers often forget about the person behind the words.

      Also, I’m not an author, so I can’t speak from experience, but as I reader I think authors can add a nice cushion between release dates by keeping fans posted and keeping in contact with them. I’m not saying this is a responsibility of authors (that’s another discussion entirely), but it helps a lot.

      • Charles Yallowitz October 18, 2014 at 10:52 am #

        I agree. I think there’s this belief that children are living distractions and nobody can deny it. He does get underfoot at times, but I’ve been able to work while he plays with his trains in the room. I might not be able to focus to the extreme with him around, but I can chip away at things. Also the kid is bound to go to sleep at some point. Sometimes it’s even before I pass out. 😀

        I used to do book excerpts from the upcoming volumes. Maybe once every week or two. I’ve hit a point where most excerpts have spoilers and even those that don’t get some people complaining that I’ve ruined something. It really does fall into a can’t please everyone category. Still, it’s best to stay active with the readers. Even if it isn’t about the current series, one can discuss future ideas, character origins, or simply a stance on something writing based. I think it’s the act of interaction that helps bridge the gap between volumes.

      • Heather October 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

        I think it is great that your child is a priority though! It will mean far more to him as he grows older that his dad took time to be with him instead of writing all the time and pushing your son away. Not to mention, one day that little one will grow up and go to school and participate in his own activities, leaving you even more time to write in the future.

        Some people get upset by the tiniest, most insignificant snippets of information! (I live with one of those people, and I try to be mindful of that when reviewing books as well.) You definitely cannot please everyone, but the benefits of those excepts keep readers’ interest piqued. I would think that would far outweigh the negatives. 🙂

      • Charles Yallowitz October 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

        He’s actually in kindergarten, so I get most of the day to write . . . after errands and cleaning. Though don’t seem to have much for after-school activities at his age. Not that he can drive himself there. As he’s pointed out, he can’t reach the pedals.

        They do, but there is one secret in my series that I’ve managed to keep off my blog. That one causes a few issues that I can’t get around. I’ve been surprised how often it comes up too. I’ll be trying for a week of excerpts at the end of November if it seems like my next book will be out by December. Hopefully I can find a few juicy pieces that will work.

  6. Heather October 18, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    “That pressure to release the next book is not pressure. It is support. It is encouragement. It is an excited fan-base authors should be proud of, not worried about, and it is the next step to enjoying every release, no matter how long it takes.”

    So true! I love this quote. I remember everyone being afraid JK Rowling wasn’t going to finish the Harry Potter series because it took so long between some books. Yet when it finally came out, I think we all cried with excitement. 🙂 Readers love a good sequel, but I would always much rather read something well written and thought out than something rushed for a deadline. I truly appreciate your honesty, and I think you’re doing great!

    • Shannon A Thompson October 18, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! Thank you for your encouragement. 😀 Every word means a lot to me.
      ~SAT

  7. theowllady October 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

  8. theowllady October 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Reblogged this on MARSocial Author Business Enhancement Interviews.

  9. aetherhouse October 21, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    If one is writing full time, that might be possible. If one has a day job and writes in their spare time….geez. That’s pretty difficult. Not impossible, but REALLY difficult. Especially when we have other hobbies outside of writing! I make writing my primary hobby, but I also dabble in cosplay, film, and music too. There’s no way I could put out two novels a year with all that on my plate.

    After completing the first beta draft of my novel, I seriously considered starting the sequel for it. But that book really isn’t finished yet, so I don’t want to get started on a sequel. I want to make sure all the plot points are cooked and done before I start expanding them into another book.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. October Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - October 30, 2014

    […] The Sequel Can Wait: Again, putting off writing isn’t a bad thing if it’s the right thing to do. […]

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