Nathan Bransford, Author

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Book a Year?

Many published authors, especially those writing in genre fiction, keep up an incredible pace with their books, sometimes publishing one or more books a year. And it can really be a struggle to keep up with such a breakneck pace.

I'm curious about how you feel about this as both a writer and a reader.

As a reader, do you want a new book from your favorite author every year, or perhaps even more often? What about with a series? Do you expect that you'll be able to read the next book soon?

As a writer, do you think you could keep up that pace for a decade? Would you like the steady income or would you prefer to let the creative juices marinate a while?


Dave F. said...

I could live with a book a year for ten years both as author or as reader.

When reading a series, you tend to remember the settings. If it goes too long, you have to work at the remembering. -- I remember reading one of the more literary scifi series when the writer took four and five years to complete the next novel. I hated it.

As a writer, keeping it fresh would be the hardest part.

The obvious latest example is Harry Potter. If you think of sustaining a story for several novels, then that story has to have sufficient complexity and have sufficient characters to fill the stories. Rowling envisioned the seven stories from the very start.

There are other authors on the internet who have series and are doing quite well with them.

Brian said...

I'm a slow writer. Even if I made writing my full time profession, I don't think I could manage one a year. At least, I couldn't manage anything good. (Of course, there are things I've worked on for years and they're STILL not good.)

Which brings me to my next point: I'm OK with waiting for good material. I do tend to shy away from authors who produce too much too often. What I've read of these authors tends to be formulaic and uninteresting. I'm less suspect of and more willing to take a chance on something I know took the author a while.

mlh said...

As a reader, I might be into a book a year. But I can't see an author publishing more often than even that. I would be worried about the quality of the book. There are times when percolating ideas will allow a better plot to brew in the mind.

(My God, I could use a cup of coffee right about now!)

As a writer, I've set my goal at finishing my manuscript before August, which will make it a year. But I'm not sure I would be able to keep it up for a decade. Only time will tell...

Robert Treskillard said...

As a reader, I can handle up to two years between books, but that's because I'm patient and don't read fast.

As an aspiring author with a series in development, to have a one a year schedule is doable, but the danger is to rush it and so sacrifice the quality of the books, and thus, the career.

Because of that, I personally would be more comfortable with an 18 month schedule. I don't know what publishers would think of that, however.

Nathan, what is the range that you have seen for contracts? What is a typical length between books in a series?

Thanks for your blog!

Nathan Bransford said...


I know some authors who write as many as 4-6 books a year. Good ones too, and not necessarily all in a series. But that's pretty unique.

Books in a series are typically spaced a year or two apart, but I've been seeing some spaced 6 months apart recently.

Arwen said...

I think Dave's right with series, but there's some point of diminishing returns. 10 is likely a good cap. Human characters often start going a little batty if trapped too long in a series. And why wouldn't they? As you pointed out, novels are based on conflict, and unrelenting conflict seems to shell shock human characters eventually.

Anyway, I think that with the application of good external editing, a book a year is possible. But in certain bestselling popular and really prolific authors, I think there's some loss of craft over the long term, and I don't think it is representative to the authors' skill. I've read some novels of established (moneymaking) authors that seem a bit like good first drafts.

I think it's the publishing editor's job to catch and resolve those things, but if you've got a mega-superstar on your hands, maybe you just don't. They'll sell, anyway.

Paul West said...

As a reader, I'd love to see more than one book a year from my favorite writers. But as a writer, I know how daunting that can be. I doubt I could write more than one a year if it's going to be any good.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I've read some of the articles floating around and I have a REAL hard time feeling sorry for authors like Patricia Cornwall who write one book a year (and get paid millions to do it).

That said, I have a friend who's like Brian--possibly unable to produce a book a year but she's a hella good writer...and as a reader, I'd rather wait a year for a phenomenal book, than six months for a so-so book.

I don't think I'd ever write less than two books a year, BUT in different genres (there are just too many different genres I want to dabble in)...and in the interest of full disclosure I'm published, I write two books a year now but in one genre and I'm trying to branch out.

wolf said...

As a reader, I would love to see a book a year from my favorite authors, but I'd also be afraid of the books becoming predictable and not as good. If I have to wait for a good book, I'll wait.

As a writer, I don't think I could handle the pace of one a year - particularly if I had to work a 'normal' job as well.

The caveat is that if you're writing a series, than world-building (and characters, to some extent) is already done, so you can concentrate on story and plot.

Anonymous said...

My first book took me years to begin editing. I'm still not comfortable with putting it out. My second book was written in three months, seven years later, but again, it is one of those complicated books that I need to let rest before I edit it.

The third novel is different. This one is just flowing out. The pace is good. I'm excited. I have a balanced forward movement and momentum. I have given myself a year to get it ready to put out and I am currently eight months into that year.
I wrote it in under two months. I have been able to also do the work around it. It is currently in the end of its first complete editing.

In a few weeks I'm going on a trip that I've outlined so that the research is tweaked and completed.

Anyway, it's on schedule for being preped to try to send out by early fall complete through query letter, synopsis, and another editing after the research trip, possibly another after that too.

I think a novel a year is *possible* for me now, but not before I had made it through the process of wrestling down the first two difficult novels (that *I* am still not ready to send out).

However, I think in order for a novel to be given the room it may need to really be an interesting write (and read) and really filled out, that one every two years would be better as far as expectations.
(And, it is probably still pretty doable at every 13 to 18 months.)

The thing is, for me anyway, that This One has my entire focus Now. (And, when it has gone out the door, I may need to refocus on it if more editing is needed, I realize.)

But after it's done, I want at least a month off and then I want to totally focus on my next book just like this one.

But, since you say that it takes two years from acceptance by a publisher to publication, there could be a pretty good back up of novels ready to go, even at my pace.

Another consideration is, if you write to too short a completion deadline, you just may not have the same quality of product in 12 months, that you would with the luxury of letting the story simmer, if it needs that to develop its flavor,before serving it.

Susan Adrian said...

Absolutely, as both a writer and a reader.

Though I write YA, which does make a difference: the word count is around 60k. I seem to be on a 8-9 month schedule per book. That would be a different story if I was writing 120-150k historicals!

Sue said...

Well, if writing is my only gig, and I didn't have to work elsewhere to support myself, I could do a book a year, (but no more).

I myself, prefer one every year & half to two years.

Whirlochre said...

A book a year ought to be do-able (and desirable from a reader's POV) but so many writers have to juggle writing and reflecting with Some Other Thing, and I'm guessing that's why it takes longer in some cases.

18 months sounds good — then it would be three years before anyone got into a routine.

Alex Fayle said...

As a reader, I love reading a new book a year from my favourite authors.

As an author, I would love to be able to publish a book a year - considering right now it's taking me about 2 years to write/edit a novel, then if I have constantly have two books on the go, then it's totally doable.

Anonymous said...

Some people can run a mile in 4 minutes. Some can do it in 12. Others can't run a mile at all.

Why shouldn't it be the same with books? If you can write one, take the time you need to make it good.

As a reader I find there is such a vast wealth of incredible stuff out there to read, I can always wait for a writer to finish the next book.

Anonymous said...

Another issue is that it seems writers are now expected to participate in the promotion of their books. (Blogs, signings, book tours, marketing, etc.)
If one has to focus on that for a year or two, how does one have the room to also focus on a new work?

Anonymous said...

Posting anonymously because this is a situation in flux...

My book is out at auction at the moment, and one offer received from a major publisher stated they would "hope for" a book a year as part of a multi book deal. That's vague wording, but it makes it clear what they're expecting. I'm fine with it, though, as I'm a fairly fast writer.

Avrinell said...

I believe that for someone who loves writing and has actually had the ability to make a profession out of it, up to two or more books a year is possible. Not that they have to be in the same series. Some authers branch out, some even write stories under seperate pen names.
Once a writer falls in love with their characters and the storys they are in, the world aroud them just seems to flow out through the tips of your fingers. I think for a writer just like a reader if you wait to long you loose something, a feeling, an idea, emotions, or even parts of the plot.
To have writing be a full time job i could sit down and write all day long. Me, the laptop, a cup of hot coco(I can't do coffee, Its more cream and sugar than coffee :) ) I don't think that diminishes my ability to write or the ideas that are in my head.
A great writer doesn't always need to sit and stew for eterity before his/her words take flight.

ChadGramling said...

If I could shed the 9-5, I'd live with writing 2 books a year. As a reader, I prefer 1 every 18 months. There are so many great writers and stories out there that I like to take in as many as possible - but liek to go back to one of my favorites at certain times.

Anonymous said...

I actually write at a pace where I could write at more than one book a year. Thing is, though, that I tend to write four or five things as a time, and typically complete several projects within days of each other. Editing adds time to that, but I could get four or five books out within a couple months of each other, but only once every three or four years.

That said, there are other authors who are even faster than that -- John Ringo supposedly has written a complete novel in two weeks (at a writing pace of 25,000 words a day, according to him) that Baen Books later published, and is known for writing faster than his publisher can publish them. JK Rowling has chronicled her writing of the later HP novels, revealing that from start of writing to completion only took a few months, although she had to take a while between books. I've seen other authors (David Drake, David Weber for stretches, probably others I cannot think of right now) who complete novels at a greater than 1 book per year pace (sometimes 2-4 books per year, in fact).

I think the key is that most authors who complete one or more books a year on average are typically writing full-time, which is a luxury most writers don't have. Part-time writers, I suppose, it would depend on how much time they can devote to writing, and what their 'words per day' pace is, and how long they need to polish a book after its complete before sending it off.

As a reader, well, I'd be pleased to read new books from my favorite authors as fast as my favorite authors can produce them. If they started getting out a book a day, I might be a bit outpaced in terms of how much I can read a day, but I think that's the limit for me.

Lehcarjt said...

I am happy to wait two years for a book. I tend to not like the authors that produce two, three books a year. I find that the quality suffers.

I have more problems with authors that do the opposite.

My big example is Diane Gabaldon's Outlander series. The first book came out in 1991. We are now on book six which was pubbed in 2005. Hopefully number 7 comes out next year. This wouldn't bother me quite so much if the time was needed to perfect her huge, historically accurate books. But that isn't what is happening. She's setting the series aside to work on spin-off stories, and that annoys me enough that I'll wait till the library gets her book rather than buy it hardcover like I usually do.

A second author that makes me crazy is Kate Elliott. She wrote half of a great sci-fi series called Jaran. The stopped, wrote a second, really long, fantasy series and never went back to complete Jaran. As a reader that makes me want to pull my hair out.

I feel like when an author starts a series, they are making a committment to the reader. When I plop down my $30.00, I'm doing so with the expectation that I will get to read the series , not just the first half of it. Grrr...

bookboy28 said...

I may have to rant a little about authors who publish a book a year. Of course, with a set schedule some of these books feel forced. At least, to me. I love Stephen King, but it's been hit or miss with him for the past decade. Duma Key was about 200 pages too long. I don't know about you, but I'm a big, big fan of Lee Child. More of a hit with him, but there have been a few misses.

I could go into a whole first-person vs. third-person thing, but I won't. It just seems I like the Jack Reacher novels better in first-person.

Take someone like Michael Chabon. He's probably had something like 8 releases in the past 15 years, and all of them great. Great!. I'm not counting SUMMERLAND, but you can tell he takes great time with his stuff. He doesn't just put something out because it's been 12 months since his last release.

Sorry, just me spouting off.

gwen said...

As a writer, I don't think I could keep up such a pace. I am very meticulous, and sometimes that means I take my sweet time working something over.

As a reader, I am very patient, so I don't mind a few years' wait in between books. I understand the hard work that goes into the writing process, so I wouldn't want my favourite authors to feel taxed or find themselves sacrificing quality just to meet a demand. :)

Victoria Schwab said...

As a reader, I'd love to have the next book as soon as possible. I read The Name of the Wind, and really loved it, and wanted to next one right away.

As a writer, I think I could manage 1+ books a year if I didn't have so many other obligations. As a student who works part time, the physical number of hours I can devote to writing won't allow me that pace. When I am writing, though, I'm pretty fast.

Anonymous said...

i'd be leery of authors who produce books every other month, especially if the books are in the same series.
i know that there's an author who does that, and the book ideas are not unique...i've seen a LOT of books with main characters that have the same name (ex. crimes of the sarahs, the ashleys, the jessicas).

i want to read something the author has been devoted to, like patricia mccormick's controversial CUT. apparently she spent three years doing research.

Kathleen said...

As a reader, I wish my favorite authors could write more like four to six books year! I know that's unrealistic, though, and I am more than willing to wait, in order to keep the quality.

For myself... this is actually one of the concerns I have about being published. Would I be able to do this? I think I would, assuming I sold #1. I mean... if I had a check for #1, and a publisher waiting for #2 (which would mean another check), then writing would be able to replace a few of my other money-making activities, like daycare and sewing.

R.K.L. said...

I could totally hang with producing a book a year if I was working on a series (of which I'm working on now). I would also LOVE to read a book a year from my favorite series writers. Who wouldn't want an 87th precinct novel every year?

Anonymous said...

As a reader.
I wait. With Anticipation.
My daughter and I waited out the Harry Potter releases with countless others! And it caused both of us to go back and reread the others too, several times.

And waiting, keeps the author in mind too.

Nathan, you seem to indicate that a book a year is a steady income. If an author has a book every other year, is that income out the door?

JES said...

I'm with what seems to be the majority: as a writer, a book a year would be fine, IF (big if?) I could put aside the wage-slave existence.

As a reader, the once-a-year output of a favorite author is just about ideal for me. But it's not a pre-condition of loyalty. I'm SO happy I stuck with Stephen King's DARK TOWER series, for one, even though the wait seemed interminable at times.

Somebody else mentioned Michael Chabon in the "two years is okay" category. Agree completely! (And in a different direction, I'd include Jasper Fforde.)

Kristi said...

I get suspicious of authors that put out more than about two books in a year. Some super-prolific high-profile ones make me wonder: are they really writing and editing all their own words, or are they signing their name on someone else's work?

I'm finishing my first book now, which I started during NaNoWriMo07, so 7 months. It's on the second draft. I also work full time and have two small kids and basically write 1-2x a week for a total of under 8 hours. Even during NaNo, I wrote for at most 2 hours a day most days and was pretty productive (average about 1200 words/hour). I don't sit and stare at a blank document for hours though--either my fingers are moving or I do something else with my time.

Maybe it'll be complete crap, or maybe I'd never be able to repeat this pace on a new book. Or maybe, a book or two a year is just a good pace for me. Ask me again in a couple of years.

Heidi the Hick said...

marinate. Please.

I can hardly keep up with new books coming out, and as a writer I wouldn't want to be rushed into doing a book a year. Maybe I'll get faster... but I don't like a lot of pressure on the deadline. I like to work at a good steady pace.

Jessica Clary said...

With fiction, sure. Once you get your idea solidified, writing it isn't much trouble to churn it out, especially full-time working.

With non-fiction, though, I find there's a lot more stew-time involved, and a lot more rewriting.

I know a lot of people who decide to write full-time, and then I run into them at 2:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday in a bar. They say they weren't feeling it that day. If you really think of it as your job, and really commit to it being your job, I think a book a year would be completely feasible.

Sue said...

As a reader and author, a book a year is definitely doable.

A series makes it easier - because you know the characters, you know how they behave, you know what they will do. So once you have the plot, you're golden.

Corked Wine and Cigarettes said...

As a writer, I don't see an issue with getting a book or two out a year, so long as writing was a full time career. Being an attorney, writing a book a year can be a tall order.

As a reader, I don't necessarily need a book (or two) a year from an author, UNLESS the book is in a series and the previous book ended in a cliff-hanger. Waiting two years for a plot payoff can tax one's resolution to continue reading the author.

ladyn said...

I don't see any reason not to be able to write 1-2 books a year. I think to do so and have them be good you would have to be completely devoted to your writing.

As a reader I'd love 1-2 books a year as long as they're good. A year wait isn't too long for me, although I start getting irritated if it's a series and there is more than 1 year in between.

Polenth said...

As a reader, I don't need a book a year. In fantasy/science fiction, I'll buy the book if it's an author I like. I don't care if it's five years later. I do care if it's too fast, because I might not be able to afford it. One a year is fine, but faster than that and I'll start skipping books.

As a writer, I don't know for sure how long a novel will take. I'm estimating under a year. The issue would be the pressure to keep that output. Everyone needs a break sometimes. I don't think it benefits anyone to have an author burnout from stress.

Lori Benton said...

As a writer, I doubt I could keep up the book-a-year pace. That doubt has never been put to the test, since I'm unpublished, but I'll admit to strong misgivings about the pressure I see authors subjected to, in this area.

As a reader, I don't mind waiting as long as the author needs to write the best book they can write. A year, two, five. Whatever. If I like their work, I'm not going to forget about them.

Kerry Blaisdell said...

What an eye-opening discussion. I have to say I'm surprised by the responses from both readers and writers alike.

If a book by one of my favorite authors comes out less than a year after the previous one, I'd be excited. It would never cross my mind to worry about the quality. But then, I'm a very picky reader, and tend to go for authors I know I can "trust" to deliver a great story.

As a writer, I write fast. One of my most complex mss (a romantic mystery, 100,000 words, 4 viewpoints, lots of vaccine/medical research issues) I wrote in approximately 16 weeks, including advance plotting and one full round of edits. I also edit as I go, so the "first draft" is really more like draft 3 or 4 by the time it's done.

So my own goal would be to write at least one book per year, if not more. But it's interesting to see the negative side of this, and learn that readers might be suspicious of the quality of my writing, simply because of its speed.

Margaret Yang said...

@lehcarjt: don't be too angry at your favorite authors for "abandoning" series halfway through. That may have been a publishing decision that was not the author's choice. It happens all the time. (Shanna Swendson discussed it on her blog when it happened to her.)

jjdebenedictis said...

Given a choice between a mediocre book every [x] months or a great book every [y] years, I'll take the great books, thanks.

That said, I do agree with Stephen King that anyone who takes more than two years to write a book is just dicking around.

Pierre Roustan said...

I could definitely handle a book a year--both writing and reading. Currently, my schedule is so hectic that I don't get large blocks of time to write, or even read. So I write (and read) in short, quick bursts. And it balances out as a result. I work fast. Just in spurts.

Anonymous said...

I'd give my right arm if I made enough money writing to write a book a year, but I don't. As with most first timers, my first advance was average and the royalties don't roll in for a while. So, if I could breakout and make enough to ditch the old "day job", I could easily write one a year and promote at the same time.

I do write a series and I currently have no shortage of ideas for it. I've always been a person who had stories playing in my head all the time - and new ones come to me when I hear things on the news, or just see things when I'm out and about. I start that "what if" thing and I'm off and running.

As a reader, I also like one a year.


R.J. Keller said...

As a reader, it seems very assembly line-ish when I see an author pumping out a book or more a year, and it makes me assume the books aren't all that good. Or at least not very deep. I'm sure that's not always the case, but it's the impression I usually get when I see it. As a way I could do it.

calendula-witch said...

I could write a book a year. In fact I've written five books in the last two years, or maybe three years, depending on when you start counting. But they're not really that good, just yet. :-) And I've got a day job. So now I'm learning to self-edit. When my craft improves to where I land an agent and a book deal (hey, one can dream), I still think a book a year would be do-able. I write a lot and I write fast.

As a reader...yes, a book a year is plenty, even in a series. I read SO MUCH, yet there is always so much more to read. There's always a huge backlog on my pile. So, writers: take your time, put out a quality product. I'll still be there, buying your books.

Ken D. said...

Cool thread, Nathan.

I'm curious -- as an agent, what would be your ideal, say if you had a client writing genre fiction? Would you want one book a year? Two? What would make the publisher happy (aside from selling good numbers, that is)?

Miss Viola Bookworm said...

As a reader, I love to get books from my favorite authors as often as I can, especially in a series. One a year seems perfect, but not just for the reader. The timing of a novel's release, particularly those in a series, is important for an author's sales and fan base. Make the reader wait too long, and an author may lose a reader. Don't make them wait long enough, and an author can lose the anticipation, excitement, and hype that comes with a big release. Half the fun of reading a series is the waiting and wondering what will happen next, so not making readers wait too long is important to hold on to a fan base.

Each writer is different though, and I think that it just depends on the writer. I wouldn't want a favorite author of mine to release books faster if they A) weren't enjoying the process and B) weren't producing the same quality of their previous novels. As much as I love seeing novels by favorite authors of mine come out yearly, I would happily wait ten years for Ian McEwan's next novel. If it takes him that long to come up with his next masterpiece, so be it.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind a book a year. With some authors that come out with several... like more than four... to me their writing can become rather stale to me. But that is just me.

elizaw said...

My favorite authors don't seem to be able to keep up at that pace (AhemGeorgeMartin). I'll still wait for them, if impatiently, and in the meantime, there's plenty of other things to read...

On the other hand, I've been working on my current novel for eight months now, and in order to make it the best I can, I know I'm going to be doing another entire rewrite to really polish it up. A year really doesn't seem like long enough to make something you're completely proud of.

Reid said...

As a reader, I definitely want at least a book a year. As a writer, I want to write, but maybe not in the same genre all the time. That's why I could envision writing under a pseudonym in another genre, just to stay fresh.

Nathan Bransford said...

ken d.-

The "ideal" really depends a lot on the author and the publisher. It's all a case-by-case thing.

Ulysses said...

My two favorite authors represent extremes of this situation. The one publishes a book a year as part of his series, and publishes other books as well. The other often takes years to put out a book... but when he does, it's amazing.

In general:
If the writer is writing a series, I like my books to come out quick. I like reading them successively.
If the writer is not writing a series, then timing isn't a big issue for me. I'll wait eight years for the next book, and read other authors in the meantime.

As a writer, I don't know if I could sustain a book a year for ten years. On the one hand, I struggle with completing one book. On the other, pressure to produce would force me to make writing a higher priority. It might be good.

I'd like to be as prolific as Asimov (over 500 books). And while I'm wishing, I'd also like to be taller 8).

Jana Lubina said...

I prefer not to wait, but I will if it that means quality.

I tend to stay away (with exeptions) from author's who produce books at breakneck speeds. At least one writer, previously a favourite, has lost me because her quality of writing dropped severely.

Kristin Laughtin said...

As a writer, the idea of a book a year is a bit daunting. My current work did take several months less than a year, so I know I could do it. I will admit that I worry about burning out from doing it on top of a full-time job and anything else going on in my life. I wonder if it would prevent me from having anything in my life besides work and writing, and how that would stifle my creativity. (Of course, if I were able to quit the day job and support myself with my writing, I don't think it'd be an issue at all, but that's a rare situation.)

As a reader, I'm patient. I don't mind waiting two years for the next book, even if it's a series. I actually raise my eyebrows at writers who put out more than 2 books a year. I'm sure they have the talent to do so in most cases, but I can't imagine producing something from scratch so quickly. Maybe if they had a bunch of outlines to start with already...

Anthony Tardiff said...

Usually I prefer to let my favorite authors take as long as they need, since I know that will result in the best book. I'm quite happy when those great books come quickly, though. I'm reading and loving House of Many Ways right now and I'm very happy that Diana Wynne Jones turns out great books relatively frequently. On the other end of the spectrum, I can't STAND waiting another few years for the next Attolia book (it took Megan Whalen Turner five or six years to write King of Attolia!), but I know it will be worth the wait when it finally arrives.

Joe Iriarte

Yes and Yes. :)

Even with a full-time job, I could write a book a year. If I ditched the job, could I write more than one a year? I don't know, for sure. I tend to need percolating time.

My current WIP, on which I just cracked 100,000 words this week, was begun in January. And written while also meeting the needs of my job.

Other Lisa said...

It depends...and it depends!

(my answer to most of these questions)

I don't spend a lot of time noticing how long it's been between books of series that I read, unless, as one commenter here says, they are a cliff-hanger and I really want to know what happened. Keeping up a long running series, a book a year, at a high quality - most writers run out of steam at some point, or start repeating themselves. So of course, I'd rather wait for the better book than demand a mediocre one on schedule.

As for writing, I once wrote a pretty good first draft of a pretty long novel in about six months. That book, I could write in a year.

The last book I was one of those where I was incorporating all kinds of new things, taking in a lot of overwhelming data from the outside world, trying to figure out how to structure it, how to write it...slow going. And hard.

Now I'm feeling like I've learned some stuff, I'm not struggling so much and this next one should go a lot faster and easier.

But I think - ideally if you are growing as a writer, you are generally going to have books that are easy and books that are hard, depending on what it is you're attempting to do and where you are in your own creative process.

Anonymous said...

As a reader I tend to cover such a wide variety that I’m not concerned about when or how often an author comes out with a new book. But, I seldom have any interest in reading a series. There are too many great writers that I want to explore to let myself get too hung up on just a few.

As a writer I could probably turn out a passable book every year, but I’d prefer not to. I’d much rather strive for excellence, with total disregard for timelines and deadlines, even if it take two or three years. As has been mentioned in previous comments, I realize that for those who write series, a tighter schedule is possible, perhaps even imperative. It largely depends on what genre you write and the limitations of expected or publishable word count.

Richard Mabry said...

As a writer, a book a year seems do-able. As a reader, I'd be willing to read a new book each quarter from some authors, one every two years from others. Depends on the quality and how much I like their work. Robert B. Parker turns out two to four per year, and I can't wait for the next one.

Lupina said...

I've been writing two books a year for five years, all published. In that time I've also written two and one third novels, so far unpublished.

I can't imagine writing fewer than two books a year. Only one book per year would feel like luxurious sloth to me. I might like it, though.

However, there are books and there are books. I'm not writing "War and Peace." Some books will always take longer to write, whether due to intense research, amazing literary greatness, or plain old slow writing habits. Personally, I'd go crazy waiting five years to finish something. But then, I eat a lot of caffeine-rich dark chocolate.

Robena Grant said...

As a reader it doesn't bother me to wait. I loved The Shadow of Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It's been something like eight years and his second book is coming out in 2009.

As a writer I could easily manage a book a year but writing is my only job now. I do agree with other commenters, if you have a day job or a family, or are naturally a slow writer then one a year might be tough.

I think the ideal is to have at least two books ready when you go hunting the wild agent. You get one out, maybe rework the other, start a third and you're ahead of the game. Hey, it's my plan and I'm sticking to it. Grin.

Anonymous said...

No way could I keep up the pace of writing a book a year. But I don't write genre books, or series books. Even as a YA author in order to have something be original and fresh I doubt I'd be able to produce more than one a year, nor would I want to.

Im really happy waiting two years between books of a fav author.

Lupina said...

Second answer: If the fiction series writer is rocking and keeping the quality up, I'm greedy enough to want one every year. But if it's someone who really needs more time to do a good job, I'll gladly wait for the superior book. Even worse than waiting for the next sequel is getting the sequel and being disappointed.

Linda said...

As a reader some time ago, I might've said YES, author X, give me a book a year! But, as a writer myself, I'm starting to see quality dwindle in those who churn out words. I was SO disappointed by the latest Pat Cornwall, but that disappointment was growing over the past 3-4 books. It seems she poops out at the end... and other authors as well.

As a writer, I'm a every-two-years kind of gal. At least I hope so. It took me 2 years, 4 months, and five days to really finish novel #1, and while I hope I'm more efficient the second go-round, I'm sure the m/s will be in draft mode this time next summer.

I do a lot of pottery and sculpture. My clay friends all bemoan how in order to make a living doing what they love, they need to go into 'production mode' - quick wheel-thrown and mold-made mugs, plates, bowls. They pay their bills, but are left with little time or energy to create the items of beauty - the REAL art - they desire to produce.

I hope for success as a writer, but not at the price my clay artist colleagues have paid. Peace, Linda

melissalobianco said...

One particular author who came onto the scene several years ago like a brushfire wrote his series of (say, for instance) legal thrillers and drenched the market with his work; he burned-out for me after three books. Still, that's three paperback editions purhased -- I haven't heard tell of this author's bankruptcy in the papers. As a reader, I was caught up in the heatwave the brushfire, but soon -- I have to admit -- I was turned off. Peculiar, though: as a writer, I'm all more power to ya', Mr. G. May we all be that fortunate.

Based on my own current trend, I doubt I could keep a-book-a-year pace in the adult market. I imagine it takes a brand of discipline to which I just don't have access.

Anonymous said...

My question is, do you, as an agent, believe that one book a year is a difficult pace to maintain? Or are you simply quoting the recent articles on the subject? (Yeah, I've read them.) You wouldn't want a client that could produce 2,3, even 4 or 5 salable books a year?

I am multi-published, and just signed on for a 3-book series, all due within 10 months. But if I believe what is in the comments section, I should just give up now, because anything I write that fast will be dreck.

I guess it's a matter of actually breaking down the work into chunks that make sense. To write a book a year requires ONE PAGE a day, that's all. To write three books a year takes three pages a day. So, in order to make my deadlines, I need to do 4-5 pages a day, while working full-time. For me, that's completely doable, and my editors seem to agree.

But you guys are saying if a writer produces 2 or 3 pages in a day, they're writing too fast, and sacrificing quality?

Needless to say, I disagree. YMMV, of course.

You may now lob rotten fruit and vegetables - I have to go do pages!

Nathan Bransford said...


For most authors I know it's a difficult pace to maintain. But like I said, it depends on the author.

Anonymous said...

As a reader, the question is fairly easy. I want at least a book a year from my favorite authors. Much longer than 18 months from the last book, and I find that I've found new favorite authors and I'm not actively looking for that author's book. I keep a list of when my favorite authors books will be out next so I don't miss it. Most of my favorite authors write series - I read a lot of urban fantasy. A year seems like a long time to wait for the next book in the series. I will admit that part of the enthusiasm in the series is created by being able to read the next book fairly soon (if you consider 8 - 12 months soon.) Knowing when the next book is coming out helps build the anticipation.

As a writer, I don't know that I could write more than a book a year. I think it is important to have at least the one a year in order to build a good relationship with readers.

melissalobianco said...

Also, I should apend here: I've been into a lot of non-fiction for about the last two years. How does that change the weight of my opinion?

(Does my opinion make my butt look big?)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

As a reader, I can do a book a year. I don't like this latest trend of cramming more in. I feel like more than one a year locks me in to reading ONLY this series or this author, or I run the risk of falling behind. Also, as a reader, I like to explore other reads than just THIS series or THAT one. (I say this as someone who reads about 100 books a year)

As a writer? I could do it, sure, especially once school starts back up. But I've also spoken to a number of writers who have tight deadlines and they are saying, off the record, that they are close to burning out. They are too busy writing to get out and promote their books or attend conferences and meet their fans.

And from both perspectives, I worry about quality. I think we're already seeing some of it in certain series.

Marilynn Byerly said...

It's become standard in single title romance, particularly urban fantasy series novels, for the author to have the first three books printed in very short succession. I've seen several authors with three books out in three months.

The closely spaced books allow a synergy of promotion, word of mouth, the short attention spans of readers, and the addictive nature of romance readers to build phenomenal sales.

I've heard through various sources, both editors and authors, that this method is so successful that sf and fantasy lines as well as thrillers are starting to try the same thing.

The good news for authors is novels in short intervals are great for the career. The bad news is the schedule is a physical, emotional, and creative monster some authors don't survive.

I know of several publishers who have told authors that if they can't produce on a fast schedule, the publisher isn't really interested.

Sam Hranac said...

As a reader I love having something new from my favorite authors every year. Of course! Right now I'm breathing down D.M. Cornish's neck to get the 3rd Monster-Blood Tattoo book out.

As a writer just sliding down the other side of the learning curve and nearly ready for submissions, I feel like I have a sufficient backlog of ideas to produce at the pace of one per year. And now that I understand more about the craft and business, I think I could keep up (continue to raise) the quality.

Ask me again after I've had 10 years as a best selling author. 8-)

Bernita said...

Certainly, I could write a book a year.

superwench83 said...

From a reader's perspective, especially if we're talking series, I really want a book a year...if it's doable for the author. As someone else said, "Some people can run a mile in 4 minutes. Some can do it in 12. Others can't run a mile at all." So some authors can put out a book or even more a year and still keep quality, while others can't. And even though I'd prefer a book a year, I'll wait for quality. I'm still waiting on George R.R. Martin's next book, and I can handle it because I know the book will be stellar.

As writers, I think we should look at what readers want and then give it to them. They want the books to come out as soon as they possibly can while still keeping up quality. So to shoot for writing a book a year is a good thing. It might take you longer to write a quality book, but I think we should strive to get it done as quickly and with as much quality as possible.

And I do believe that the type of books an author writes plays into their ability to write fast. I wrote one of my first drafts in two months, but it's a historical fantasy. It might take me a year or more to do and then incorporate the research. So it all depends. I certainly don't think every author who puts out more than one book a year is sacrificing quality. One of my favorite authors usually puts out two.

Josephine Damian said...

Nathan, there's a big power house agent (I won't name names) who reps a slew of thriller scribes.

As a thriller scribe wannabe myself, you'd think he'd be on top of my list to query (after, of course, you ;-). Will I?

No f---ing way! Some of his writers are churning out 2 books/year! The rest, at least 1book/year. On top of that these writers are out promoting their asses off and/or blogging (they blog about the stress of their writing/promoting schedules and the lousy reviews they get). And many of these agent's clients still have day jobs on top of that.

I don't read series (especially by this agent's clients) for these very reasons. Too many thin plots, too much emphasis on character backstory/filler, too many derivative "ripped from the headlines" plots.

None of my favorite authors write a book a year. I'm more that happy to wait for quality.

Me? If the only way I'd get my thriller published is to sign a book a year contract, my reply would be: No thanks. I'd rather be un-published than a hamster on a tread -mill, churning out nothing but drek for mass consumption.

Colorado Writer said...

I'd be good with doing one 40k middle grade book a year (with a great editor).

Anonymous said...

I like authors to produce as often as they're able to do so and keep up the quality of their work. I certainly don't mind waiting when I know the end result will delight.

Two years doesn't seem unreasonable to me at all. I'm willing to wait much longer than that for some authors-- although I should point out most of them write stand alone books. In a series, a wait of over 2-3 years can get frustrating.

On the other hand, it's nice to have something to look forward to. :)

Anonymous said...

I view all artwork the same.

Where would we be if Vivaldi, Beethoven and Amadeus were pressured by the deadlines of a record company?

Where would we be if Shakespeare had a publisher who demanded a new tragedy every six months?

Evard Munch's Scream might have been a Smirk if he had been rushed.

You can't rush perfection.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Musicians and their vaults

I think the first novel can take forever've never written one before, and so you are in serious learning curve mode. Then the next one is easier (as far as mechanics/technical aspects go), and so on...because you know what you are doing.

But...if it takes you forever to finish your first novel...all that time, you are probably writing letters, emails, keeping a journal, reading, blogging, you should have a mass of material just waiting to be shaped into your next novel (or two, or three), by the time you get the first one published. So there is the illusion of "a novel a year," when actually, you've been sitting on that material for quite some time, but didn't have an agent yet, etc...

...kind of like musicians who have vaults full of material, they can go digging around in, to put together a new CD...everyone is like, wow! brand new music from X band...but it could be bits and pieces and riffs that have been sitting around for a decade or more...some little bit they came up with in their garage when they were 15.

Oh well...leave of absence starts in 2 weeks...if I can just make it through the next two weeks!!!!! Crapzilla roams the countryside, flattening creative urges, incinerating insights into one's characters etc...

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

I have no favorite authors. So therefore can't have an opinion on their productivity.


I just throw that out to be contrary, with Crapzilla breathing down my neck.

Adaora A. said...

I would love to churn out a book a year. I think it sounds reasonable enough. Most writers have numerous book ideas which they haven't been able to get to and I'm sure they would love it. As a reader, I would be euphoric to see my favorite authors coming out with new stuff on a yearly basis. It takes me 24 hours or less to read my favorite authors novels so once a year is incredibly generous.

Wow! 78 comments. That's quite a dip in there.

emeraldcite said...

For some authors, I'd buy two books a year if they put them out there. When I discover a new author that I love to read, I have no problem going to the store and picking up three or four of their backlist.

As a writer, I could do a book a year and would have no problem with that kind of output (with the caveat that it would have to be quality output).

A book a year makes it easy for publishers to put out the softcover of the previous title right as the hardcover comes out.

leesmiley said...

As a reader, I realize there are more books out there that I want to read than there is time for me to read them, so I'm fine with an author taking as long as needed to produce a good story--within reason, of course. I'm still waiting on Harper Lee, of course, but aren't we all.

As a writer, I try to peck out 1000 words a day, a very doable goal even for people like me with a demanding day job and family responsibilities. Even taking a day off per week, that's over 300,000 words a year--enough for two or three decent-sized novels. I think being prolific depends more on the support structure around you--readers willing to help you edit, family willing to give you time to write, etc.--than any other factor.

I do prefer to move on to something completely different once I complete a project. The change of pace and atmosphere keeps me from getting bogged down and keeps the creativity flowing in new directions.

Suzanne said...

I could write a book a year. That's about how long it takes me anyway.

As a reader, I would prefer a book a year from my favorites, and at the very longest, every other year. More and it would be rather frustrating--or I might end up releasing that author into the jumbled up part of my mind where I remember them occasionally but don't look for them particularly. Course, it all depends on the author.

Heather Wardell said...

I am fortunate enough (thank you, husband!) to be writing full-time even though I'm unpubbed. I write for two hours, longhand, in the morning (why longhand? just feels right) and then type in and polish in the afternoon.

This morning didn't flow as much as usual. I got 2200 words. At that pace, absolutely I can do a book a year, two most likely.

I'm lucky that the words come quickly (and yes, occasionally they don't, but a lot of days I hit 3000 words, so that balances out) and my first drafts are usually done in two months. I then spend at least two or three months to revise.

In fact, I DID do two books last year, as I wrote one and then completely rewrote it (think Harry Potter with Ron as the hero - that level of change) and had both polished in twelve months.

I don't write series books, though, at least I haven't thus far. I much prefer new characters/settings/situations every time... keeps me entertained. :)


AstonWest said...

12-18 months between books would be a fairly good clip. I think it could be done both as a reader and author (if I didn't have to work at a day job and worry about things like paying bills, etc.).

Vieva said...

I tend to write about one novel every nine months or so - and I'm a full time writer and stay at home mom. (two full time jobs!)

If my son was at school, I'd probably write even faster - and I don't think quality would suffer.

Anonymous said...

As a thriller writer closing in on a first deal, a book a year sounds right for me, maybe more if I didn't have the day job. Or, maybe I'd just put the extra time into promotion and still only do 1 a year. But definitely at least 1 book a year. If you can do it, why not?

Some guys, like the Silence of the Lambs author, who only releases 1 every 7 years, are on a higher level of quality, so to speak. But I'd be more than happy to bang out one seat-of-your-pants thrill ride that ends up in airport bookstores once a year, without any real literary aspirations.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm curious about you, Nathan. How long can you keep up with your (almost) blog-a-day pace?

It's an impressive achievement considering how busy you must already be.

Anonymous said...

I suppose many people can "just churn out" a book a year. But I'd rather read something not just churned out.

It took Joyce seven years to write "Ulysses."

Lehcarjt said...

But if I believe what is in the comments section, I should just give up now, because anything I write that fast will be dreck.

I am one of the people who tends to not like authors that write multiple books a year. I'm wondering if part of this is my personal expectations of books. I love language and metaphors and zingers. I love depth and poetry of word. I love a story with meat - the more meat, the better - and at least an elephant-sized heart.

All of that takes a huge amount of time to create. It isn't just writing so many pages a day, it is rewriting and rewriting and rewriting the same passage until it rings on the page. And then doing so with the paragraph, the page, the chapter.

That is what I want from stories.

However, not every reader wants the same thing. If you are selling your books then someone must believe that it is not dreck and that six months or four months or whatever, is more than enough time to produce the type of story they want.

My complaint is when an author tries to write a book that would usually take them 18 months and squish it down to 6 months. Suddenly the quality is gone and the story diminished. That is what I am talking about. The book is not what it could have been, and I am disappointed for spending my money.

Joe Iriarte said...

Anon@3:03, I agree with you . . . if I didn't have a day job I'd be more inclined to put the extra time into promotion. I seem to have no difficulty making time to write, but when I hear about all that authors are doing these days in the name of promotion, that's when I wonder how anybody can find the time--particularly the many authors who still must work day jobs.


anon@3:22, I don't know if you're doing your case a world of good by citing Ulysses. ;)


I've been coming to the conclusion that nobody can really tell others how they should do it . . . everyone seems to have a different thing that works for them. But I can certainly tell you what I feel capable of, speaking only of myself.

2readornot said...

I write about 3-4 books a year. I work on more than one at once, and I'll revise one while starting another and tweaking another, etc. I think I could certainly put out 2 a year once I'm published.

As a reader, I'd LOVE to see my favorite authors put out more than one book a year. I'll wait, of course, because I love their writing, but it would be wonderful if I could get their books more often! But then, I'm a fast reader (and writer).

Shell I said...

I have to weigh in on this. I think so much of it depends on the story. When I first had my book idea I started writing, then I thought "What good is one book" got scared about the whole process and shelved it for about 6 months. Then I let it all perculate and the ideas flow.

Now I am sitting on 3 different stories, all loosly plotted just waiting to be filled out. Each night a different thread of one of these stories hits me so I write on that story for as long as the idea runs. It is all about inspiration and time for me. I can get inspired and write 2000 - 3000 words in one day (around full time work and 2-yo daughter). By the time I submit any of these stories for publishing I would hope the other two are still simmering somewhere near finished. I would then concentrate on getting those finished, so three books within very short space of each other.
I think this might be my way of writing. When the mood is right for the story it all just flows. I also agree that the first novel you write is the hardest, they would get easier from there. Surely?

Anonymous said...

Yes, if I could write full time, a book a year is my goal. Since I have other characters in other stories, screaming to get out, I think it would drive me batty not to write.

Gwen Hayes said...

As a reader, one book a year is fine, unless it's a series, then I want two. I shy away from reading book one until I know book two and three are already out there waiting for me.

As a writer, I try to discipline myself to write 1000 words a day, and play catch up on the weekends if I have too. Even if I wrote a 200,000 word book that is 200 days.

1000 words a day is less than two hours of writing a day. It's not always easy to get it in around the day job and my busy family, but the discipline is worth the effort because I know that it will be easier to sell myself out there if I can show that I'm not a one book wonder. If I were an agent or an editor, that would be something I looked at in a potential client.

Kiki said...

If a writer is not very prolific, I tend to forget about them, unfortunately.
Any wait longer than a year means either I'll forget to check when the next book comes out or I'll just stumble upon it whenever (if I'm lucky), or on the other hand, I'll have such high expectations that the book had better be worth the wait.
I think this is obviously somewhat more important in a series, or at the start of an author's career.

I adore prolific writers as it means I can get more in their voicesooner.

As a writer (of reasonably short genre fiction), I tend to have drive for about 2-3 books a year in me at this stage, and I can't see myself slowing down any time soon. if I had free time, I'd just write for something else for fun.

So for me, it' read a lot, write a lot, read a lot more.

Anonymous said...

This spring I finished four books for four different editors - two for educational publishers, two for children's trade publishers. It was too much. AT one point, I was deep in revisions for two publishers, finishing up another project, and worrying about the fourth. Never again. Now I'm taking some time off to clean my floors and pay attention to my wayward teens... And, no, I don't expect my favorite authors to churn them out, either...

Eva Gale said...

All of my perceptions have changed since I became a writer. It's like playing classical music. You may not like it, but by the time you can play the instrument and learn the pieces you have an appreciation for it.

As a reader I would love to have my favorite writers pump them out like Peeps at Easter, but I understand the process and I know to make a great story-at the least the great stories I read-they need at least a year. There are exceptions, but they are the exception.

Some days 1k words flows-some times it tkes 12 hours. I have a respect for the process, and I want other writers to have the freedom they need to write the best stories possible.

Nikki Duncan said...

I much prefer to have multiple books from an author each year, but understand why it doesn't always happen.

That said, as an unpubbed, I wrote four books last year andinbetween the revisions on a couple of those this year I have plans to do at least 2 more before the end of the year. For me, because I'd like a steady income from writing, it's a matter of teaching myself now how to do multiple books without losing any of the creativity. That way, when I do get published I'll be better equipped to keep up with publisher demands, and hopefully will be able to build a name and readership for myself a little quicker.

Two of the four books from last year are part of a series and the plot that overarchs three books is so complex that I find it harder and harder to keep it all straight if I take too much time between the books. I've also found it increasingly difficult to maintain the subtle nuances of the character relationships, as the series as reoccurring character appearances, if I take too much time away from them.

I firmly believe in time off between projects, to keep from burning out, but too much is problematic too. It's a balance that each person, writer and reader, has to find for themselves. For me, the more steady the pace the better the quality.

Cheryl said...

As a reader, I'm happy to wait longer than a year between books from my favorite authors, if the books are quality books. Often books that are rushed don't have the same quality or depth or writing that grabs you and keeps you in a book--and that's what I want in a book. It's no fun buying a book from a favorite author and then being disappointed in the writing.

As a writer, I prefer to write at my own pace--to write and edit the best book I can--but I don't like to take too long. Maybe a year and a half. Maybe less. I want my writing to mean something.

Christopher M. Park said...

As a reader, I'm generally happy to wait however long the author takes. I mean, I read a wide variety of authors, so it's not like I have nothing to read while my favorite authors are laboring over their next works. The main thing I care about is that the author take enough time to do a good job, however much time that might be. For some authors I like, they seem to be able to do multiple books per year. For others, it's more like a book every 3-5 years.

I guess the sweet spot, for me, seems to be somewhere in the middle -- 18-24 months per book seems, to me, to have the overall best quality-to-timeliness ratio. But your mileage may vary, and different authors definitely seem to vary. I certainly don't penalize books for coming out too quickly or too slowly.

For me, personally, I think I could do a book per year, though I have not managed it yet. So far my best is two years for a book, and before that it was five. With my current WIP, I look to be on schedule for two years again. But a lot of the time spent on these early books is me figuring out the craft, finding my voice, and other things that take time and/or many rewrites. So I think I'm getting faster as I establish myself -- not that I want to fall into a routine, or start doing cookie-cutter novels, but there are certain things that get easier with repetition.

I don't think I'd want to commit to a book per year at the start of my career, but a book every 18-24 months would be doable. If things were then going faster and still working, or if I was writing full time, then that timetable might well shrink. But I think six months is a stretch for me, as some degree of marination is simply a must. Maybe if I was writing two books at a time...


kidzeppelin said...

I think a good compromise between authors and readers is one book a year. It gives the author time to do the book signings, readings, etc. while writing the next one on the side, also some time to maybe write some short stories, other little projects, etc. And I think one a year is enough for readers too. Most have other authors, like to read other things. They can fill that time between your books with other books.

the music industry tends to be on this schedule too. Artists typically try to release an album a year. Sometimes more (Lil' Wayne, Ryan Adams), sometimes less, (Axl Rose).

Deborah Blake said...

As a reader, I prefer an author who does about a book a year (if it takes longer than that, I often have to go back and reread the last one...but that's my bad memory at fault, not their writing). I'll certainly wait for a writer I like. Stephen Gould's Jumper (now out in so-so movie form) was fabulous, and his follow-up book didn't come out until many (eight, maybe?) years later. I was still darned happy to get it.

As a writer...I am currently published in nonfiction, and managing to do one a year on top of my regular job/life, etc. And last year I wrote a novel, too, which I am now shopping for an agent for.(Wow, awkward sentence...and I call myself a writer.) So I'm thinking that I could do two books a year (one NF and one fiction), especially if I was writing full time.

On the other hand, I am just starting to find out how much non-writing work goes into being an author. Publicity, blogging, checking other people's blogs (like this one), author appearances, and of course, the ever popular edits and rewrites. I spend as much time on those things as I do writing the books, and it is likely to get worse as I get betten known. Just comes with the territory these days.

So I'm guessing that a book or possibly two a year is the best I could manage.

Interesting question, Nathan.

Anonymous said...

I have especially appreciated the comments referring to the other arts here.
As a visual artist, it took me years to be ready for my first solo exhibition. Then, for a long time, I was so prolific, I could do as many solo exhibitions as were offered.
But when I was growing, I held back.
During those times, I have germinated and developed and then shown very big growth in my work.
The important thing for me, (aside, of course from striving to earn an income and meeting deadlines and expectations of my reps) has been the integrity of the work and how it interests me, as a creative.
When the work, (written, visual, musical, and so on) is interesting to make, it is usually interesting to view/read/listen to too.

Furious D said...

It's hard to say for me.

If I can avoid the constant interruptions, otherwise known as a life, I could probably go better than a book a year. I often do what I think is my best work when I'm running at top speed and not overthinking the project. Because while marinating is good, I gotta move before it spoils. ;)

Betty Atkins Dominguez said...

I like series, and yes, historical fiction can be a series. I'd see no problem writing a book a year, since I already have 'take outs' from novel one ready for novel two and the background is done, the characters are alive. I'd just have to come up with new conflict for novel's two and three.

When I write, I tend to have too much happening and have to cull back. Current manuscript started out covering an entire year, then realized I needed to shorten the time frame. Now, I actually have outlines (minus new conflicts) for 4 novels.

Betty Atkins Dominguez said...

Addendum: For historical fiction, From the amount of research put in, I'd be very unhappy not to be able to use all that 'new' knowledge.

Ben Sloan said...

Some people seem to think that if you produce books too quickly you must suck. Elitist, I say!

I'll take them however quickly an author can comfortably crank them out, though any more than 1 book a week would probably out pace my reading habits.

TALON said...

Interesting question. Myself, I've always loved anticipating a new release from a favorite author. Back in the days when hard covers were the norm before the book came out in paperback, 2 years might pass before I could afford to pick up the latest book and the anticipation was almost as good as reading the book. Plus, I'd have time to absorb all the reviews. I've never been one to read serial books...the few I've read were already long out so I had the advantage of picking them all up at once and being able to read one after the other. Sometimes this was an enjoyable experience, sometimes not so much - lol!

As a writer, there's an ebb and flow that takes place. There are times when the flow is sweet and pure and plentiful. There are times when the flow slows to a trickle.

It becomes obvious (at least to me) when reviewing a body of work, when the author has churned out a novel as opposed to having crafted a good read.

whatever trevor. said...

as a writer, i think that if i can write a book in two weeks, then i think i could publish at least two a year.

and as a reader, i crave more by my favorite authors. they usually take too long for me and i try not to lose interest.

fake consultant said...

there are bloggers who are surely keeping up that pace...on my own site last year i posted more than 100 original stories, typically running to 1500 words--and i'm hardly the only one.

teacherken's blog and the wesminster wisdom blog are superbly written anthology sites that are essentially a book a year.

Simon Haynes said...

I started writing the fourth novel in the Hal Spacejock series in April 2007, and it was just released a couple of weeks ago. Now I'm working on book five, and I expect that one to be released late next year.

12-14 months seems about right to me. I couldn't possibly write two a year - not when I do about 20-25 drafts of a novel before my editor even gets to see it.

Those authors talented enough to bash out half a dozen print-ready novels a year .. well, good luck to them.

Joe Iriarte said...

Ben Sloan: You crack me up! :D

Cloudscudding said...

As a reader, I'd prefer once every six months, especially for a continuing series, but I'm okay with one a year. Mostly, I want to have a way to be notified when the new books will come out, so I won't miss any.

As a writer, my first (unpublished) novel took six months. My second took about two years, and I'm doing the revisions now. It's a question of density.

JDuncan said...

Honestly, it probably depends a lot on what you write. If you write romances, which tend on average to have some of the lower word counts, it would be easier to put out two or more books in a year. To do that though generally requires the time to dedicate and unless one is established enough to make ends meet just on writing, I think it would be very difficult for an author to write more than one, at best two books in a year. I'd be quite happy selling a book a year. If I was fortunate enough to make decent money off of my books, and could write full time, I could likely do 2-3 books a year without too much difficulty. When you think about the numbers, if you consistently wrote 8-10 pages a day for most of the year, which if you write full time is not an absurd number, you'd put out a draft of a 100k novel in under six weeks. Throw in editing time and the back and forth with publishers and such, and doing four books a year does not sound like the insane amount that most folks think. On the otherhand, I do believe that not all writers are capable of doing that on a consistent basis. I'd stick with two books a year myself, even if I could write like that. As a reader, a book a year form someone works fine for me.


Betty Atkins Dominguez said...

I have a friend who puts out at least two books a year. Mysteries. She writes them start to finish and out they go. She is pubbed in about 5 countries. Can you imagine?

tys said...

My favourite author just released his latest book... 7 years since his previous one. I'd happily read a new book from him every six months, but I love his books because they are almost flawless, and I wouldn't expect less... so I wait.

I'm amazed at those people who write 2-3K per day and still finish 1-2 books in a year.

I can churn out the words, but it takes me 3 months to have my work critiqued, another couple of months to re-write, and 3 months to have the re-write critiqued. And that doesn't count the 6 months that I leave them to rest in the bottom drawer.

So I'm a 2 books every 2 years kind of person... working on a second project whilst the first is stewing or being critiqued.

That equates to a book per year (if they're staggered) but I'd hate anything I actually wrote from start to finish in a year or less.

Each to their own process I guess.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I constantly have more than one project going--short stories, books, screenplays, and editing. I drafted what I consider my best book in four months. Right now I'm revising a book, drafting another (very different story), pondering a new short story, editing content for an internet product, and I'm knee-deep in final production for our next issue, which comes out in, gulp, 6 days. I could feature writing more than one book a year. As I go I get more efficient.

pomonahall said...

Series with worlds that have already been built and characters that have already been created are conducive to the book-a-year pace. Writing entire self-contained novels where even if it's in the same universe a few generations (and historical changes) have passed? I think not. Not if you want rich and realistic stories, AFAIK.

aiwritingfic said...

I wrote over 144,400 words last year, so one could say I've done two novels' worth of words. But if I told you that 144,400 words was accumulated over almost 100 stories ranging from 100-word drabbles to 28,000-word novellas, what would you say?

ManiacScribbler said...

If I had the creative juices to write something high quality once per year, that would be awesome.
And I like being able to read something new from authors each year, but with some it doesn't matter. I have such a limited book budget (and my home town's library is pitiful in a way), that I have a lot of back log with some authors, so I have to catch up with them (and am still playing that catch up. Haha). So it all depends.
I would love to be able to write that much, but I enjoy being able to read and savour over a longer period of time. A year is good.
ManiacScribbler =^..^=

Dawn Colclasure said...

Yes to both. I definitely like seeing new books from my favorite authors every year. Also, I really think I could do a book a year. If only my editor would set aside the time to pencil me in and work with me to get my manuscript into shape -- instead of it taking 2+ years. A book a year? Totally doable! Especially since I have novel ideas like crazy. :D

Simon Haynes said...

"If I was fortunate enough to make decent money off of my books, and could write full time, I could likely do 2-3 books a year without too much difficulty."

I DO write full time, and one book a year is it for me. (I have two school-age kids and also run a software business, but they don't really cut into my writing. There's just a limit to how much intensive creative work I can put in over 12 months.)

Why only one book? Because my ratio of draft wordcount to written, edited, published words is about 1 to 4 ... or worse.

For example: my latest published novel is 95,000 words. To get that 95K I wrote over 160,000 and then chopped out nearly half during edits. I then rewrote the remaining half ... twice. That's well over 300,000 words worth of writing for a single short-ish book, which makes completing it in eight months or so suddenly seem very quick indeed.

April Hollands said...

Surely a book takes as long as it takes, and we all spend different amounts of time per week writing. So, if I write a novel that takes me five years to write, based on one hour a week, why would it be any better than a novel that you write in a year, spending a typical 40hr work week doing so.
In fact, by my calculations, the one-year novel would be lavished with 2,080 hours of love compared with just 260 hours for the five-year novel. Hopefully this unrealistic exaggeration makes sense!

Anonymous said...

As a reader, I prefer a book every two years. I've never come across an author who could write them faster *and* keep up the quality I want.

As a writer, it depends on so many things -- manuscript length, amount of revision needed, time available to write (and think), life circumstances, etc. I think I could probably do 80-100,000 words of polished final draft per year on average.

(I cruise at about 200-250,000 words of first draft per year, but that's a long way from final draft.)

My experience is that prolific authors generally publish works I'd consider to be second or third drafts. Personally, I don't think they're worth paying money for.


cc said...

I don't want to "churn out" a book. I don't want to be a production line, a shoe factory of some sort. Maybe it's because I'm not a huge genre reader -- but I don't know, crafting a real live story, where the characters linger long after you close the book takes more time than "churning out" a book.

My literary tastes aren't that high-brow, but I think most in the camp of wanting to read/and write 2-4 books a year by the same author are talking about "Beach Reads." Which, for me is a whole different matter. Who among us doesn't stuff a paperback in their bag to read along the way to somewhere?

But I admire staying power. Write a handful of books that really resonate -- in the long run you'll earn out your advance and make royalties, which is better than 20 different churned out versions of the same story that will never earn out your advance.


Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of quality vs quantity. If a writer can create 3 quality books in one year - fantastic. However, I think that scenario is the exception rather than the rule.

Unless it's a series or I'm interested in the concept, I tend to shy away from books written by the same author within a year. The exception would be reviews, usually on Amazon. If I see one of several books published by the same author very quickly, but it has at least a 4 star rating with 10+ reviews, then I'll give it a try.

As a writer, I think the number of quality books I can create in a year depends on my time. If I could afford to write full-time, I could definately deliver at least one book per year. I may do two if it's part of a series in which the world, characters and plot are continuous. However I don't think I would ever commit to anything more than two per year.

I would rather have 5 high quality books that people loved instead of 30 average books with average reviews, but that's just me!

eli.civilunrest said...

I would have to say, as a reader, it depends on the author. I know for some authors who publish two to three books a year I'm waiting impatiently, foot tapping, between installments. For others I may need a year to recover from their last book.

I've also read some where I'd wished the author would have waited for the editor to come back with some comments (I'm thinking of a certain bestselling horror novelists.

Sheila Lamb said...

As a reader, I can wait for a book. I would rather wait and have it be good...the worst is waiting years and it's not that great. Maybe that's a sign it is time to end the series :-)

As a writer (unpublished) I think I could write a book a year, if I didn't have to work at my real life job.

superwench83 said...

I don't want to "churn out" a book. I don't want to be a production line, a shoe factory of some sort. Maybe it's because I'm not a huge genre reader -- but I don't know, crafting a real live story, where the characters linger long after you close the book takes more time than "churning out" a book.

Maybe I'm understanding your comment wrong, but to me it seems like you're saying that genre fiction as a rule is churned out and of a lesser quality than other books. If that's really what you believe, then I would say you're not reading the right genre fiction books.

ORION said...

oizqrcwThere is a difference between "writing" a book a year and "publishing" a book a year.
In my case?
The initial learning curve of what it takes to have a publishable novel and being involved in a situation in which my first novel was put out there really fast (and fast in this case was 19 months from the start of the novel to it being released in hardcover). I can say that it takes an extraordinarily disciplined and focused individual to put out a book a year -- and I mean a finished product not just a draft manuscript.
It will take me longer even though I have other manuscripts ready.
That's just me. I am not all that disciplined. I write on the average 2000 words a day but those words are not necessarily all "keepable" & I do lots of revisions on the same passages.
While actively promoting a debut novel and doing book clubs and interviews it's hard to leave behind the previous book and move forward to the next. It might be easier to do this with a series or sequel -- I don't know -- but the question asked was "Do you think YOU could keep up that pace for a decade?" In my case no. My ideal is to to take 2 years to write a book and a year to publish- Then I can really enjoy the process. I've seen more authors than not feel forced to finish a book sooner than they would like.
As a reader? I'll wait for as long as it takes.

Carolyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn said...

As a reader, when I love an author, I HATE waiting a year. I'm happy happy happy when there's more than one in year. But I have to love the author to care.

As an author, one book a year? You're kidding me, right? I'm now doing two books a year, in two different genres. I have a full time job and a family. And for a while there I was also in grad school. Two books a year is more than doable now that the degree is done.

I have been told by the buyer for a national chain that they like to see 2 books a year from genre authors. That's not a statement I took lightly when she told me.

I took a month off between the book I delivered (early!) this April and the book that's due in November, and I was getting antsy toward the end. What if I just never started? What if all this down time made me too lazy to write? What if I run into trouble on the Nov. book and end up needing the time I took off? Ack! I've worked too hard, and writing is too hard, to screw up for reasons of laziness. Obviously, that reaction is a personal one. I hope other writers are less freaked about time off.

I used to believe, fervently, that I needed at least a year to write a book. Believed it with all my heart. Until I was offered the chance to write in a high profile series, only the deadline was in 4 months. Could I do that, the editor asked? If I said no, he'd just find someone else... I was still in grad school then, too. But I made the leap of faith in myself and holy cow. I could write a book in 4 months.

That was one hell of a discovery for me. It fundamentally challenged everything I believed about myself as a writer.

Two books a year? Not a problem. If I'm ever going to quit the day job, one book a year just isn't going to get me there. That's just the reality for most authors.

Anonymous said...

A book a year is too much. Readers can see the sloppiness creeping into the writing due to rush, as well as the flatter or at least less rich storytelling. Books become shorter and more throw-away.

As a writer, I doubt I could push out a good novel every year.

Patience is a virtue.

Roberta said...

C'mon writers, we all know a book a year doesn't mean each book took 12 months to write. Many W-I-P manuscripts have been dug out from the bottom desk drawer or discovered on five-inch disks.

Inner Child said...

I'm so happy to hear that my creative juices are marinating - I thought they had dried up!

As a reader, I want my favorite authors locked in a closet and forced to publish a book every month. That's totally unrealistic, but it's a true reflection of my passion for the works of certain authors.

As an unpublished writer, I would consider myself blessed to receive even one critique.

Amie Stuart said...

>>A great writer doesn't always need to sit and stew for eterity before his/her words take flight.

Avrinell...a great writer SHOULDN'T let it sit and stew. You can't just sit around waiting for inspiration to happen (though I do understand we sometimes write ourselves into corners), you have to MAKE inspiration happen if you plan on being a working, published author (and I say You in the general sense, not specifically you =) )

Amie Stuart said...

As a reader I'm good on one a year. I'm anxiously awaiting Lisa Gardner and KMM's new books and even though it's been a year, I haven't forgotten them!

As a writer, I know that doing 3-4 books a year can help you build a following and allow you branch out faster but I'm also a single mom so that's not doable.

I also think, as someone else said, there's a stale factor that comes into play. After a while do you just kinda go, "Oh look so-and-so has ANOTHER book out," instead of squeeing?

I'd love to quit my dayjob and write two books a year in two different genres.

cc said...


I didn't imply genre fiction is ALL "churned out" and is all of a lesser quality. And you yourself stated in an earlier post that for a series you'd want one a year. For me, every two years would be fine.

My larger point was... there is absolutely a different sort of "beach read" book mentality to the 2-4 book a year production rate. God bless the authors that can do it and stay sane. And if that's your goal there's nothing wrong with that.

Me, I like to miss an author a little. David Sedaris has a new book out that I'm giddy to buy. I would't be nearly as excited without that 3 years (maybe longer) between books.

Anonymous said...

Ben Sloan said: "Some people seem to think that if you produce books too quickly you must suck. Elitist, I say!"

I don't think that if you produce books quickly you MUST suck, but I do think many writers who produce books quickly DO suck. There isn't a direct correlation, of course, but the point is that EVERY WRITER IS UNIQUE, and they should produce at their own speed. Trying to keep up with a publisher's schedule can, and, IMHO, often does, lead to sub-par books.

I am not an elitist (though I believe this word is overused and thrown around whenever anyone hears someone else criticizing what they enjoy), but take Stephen King for example. I like a good deal of his work. But I also think some of it is lousy and ought not to have been published the way it was. He could've benefitted, I believe, from some slower writing and more editing. That doesn't mean I don't think he's a good and naturally prolific writer. He is. But his best stuff is head and shoulders above his worst.

Our society is fixated on getting product out at high speed, and on money. This tends to favor rapid production of less-than-great material.

Adaora A. said...

I really do believe it depends on the person and their circumstance and ability. By circumstance I mean having a part-time or full-time job, children, etc and so on. By ability I mean if they tend to take breaks between or if they write quite religiously on a daily basis. Do they set time brackets in their day or do they go with the flow? I think if the impulse is there, and if the opportunity is there, it CAN happen.

Anonymous said...

>>there is absolutely a different sort of "beach read" book mentality to the 2-4 book a year production rate.

CC Not quite sure what you mean here but, for the record, Sandra Brown puts out one book a year and has been called a beach read too. Beach reads are generally genre fiction (romance, suspense, thriller etc). The way you've referenced it here, it DOES sound derogatory (though you might not have meant it to).


Speaking of frequency, I read somewhere that Grisham thought A Time to Kill, his first novel, was perhaps his best and attributes that to not having a deadline of any sort. It was published small. The Firm went big quick. The pressure to produce again was easy in that A Time to Kill was published again on a big scale. Pressure was then great for a third. In response, and this is the amazing part as I believe was related by Grisham, he wrote The Pelican Brief in about a month. Wow.

Tom Burchfield said...

Well, I tell ya it all depends. I'm happy to read a Richard Stark novel a year (though I think it was more than a year between the last two. Some, like Stark/Westlake can keep the quality up at a good pace. But definitely some should slow down. It makes me think of Patrica Cornwell, who I thought started out pretty well, but quickly got very very bad.

As for Self, there's the side of me that thinks I'm taking too long with mine ("It's a vampire novel, Burchfield, get it over with") vs. the side that tells me to get it right ("But there's a million of those out there, so this one has to be *right*). I hope the next one goes a little faster.

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between writing a book a year and publishing a book a year.

Simply writing a certain number of words in a certain period of time doesn't necessarily equate to a publishable novel.

Also, some authors have a drawerful of old material sitting around, and after they publish book #1, this old stuff is dredged out and reworked, which leads to faster production times.

So if you can publish a book a year consistently, you're way aheaad of the curve. Say you start off with a 2-book deal 9pub company likesbook 1, obviously, so that gets published, and then they contract you to write #2. Well, by the time #2 comes out, the sales figures for #1 will have been established. If they're not good, then there's an awful lot of pressure on #2, and if that one doesn't do well, then byebye. There won't be interest in a third.

So writing a book a year is not the trick, it's publishing a abook a year (which means you're constantly working on new deals and promoting, too) and then having those books sell so that you get more contracts to write more books.

nymeria87 said...

Both as a reader and a writer I think one book a year is doable, but it definitely depends on genre and word count. As an urban fantasy writer I'm not too worried, but then again actual publication is quite another business. Personally I work well with deadlines though :)

Gabriele C. said...

No way I could keep a book a year schedule. I'm a GRRM when it comes to the time I need, only not as good. ;)

As reader, I'm willing to wait for a good book. Steady releases are nice, of course, but a bit of editing won't hurt in some cases (Malazan Book of the Fallen, much as I love the series, would have benefitted from a few more months between the later books and better editing).

Beth said...

I always seem to come late to these parties...

Yes, I love seeing a book (or more) a year from my favorite authors.

As a writer, no way could I write that fast. I probably shouldn't admit that...

Beth said...

lehcarjt said: A second author that makes me crazy is Kate Elliott. She wrote half of a great sci-fi series called Jaran. The stopped, wrote a second, really long, fantasy series and never went back to complete Jaran.

Yeah, I've been waiting on that one, too. But to be fair to Kate, her agent told her to set it aside and turn her efforts to writing fantasy because that was selling better. She does plan to return to the Jaran world eventually. (Though in a way, she already has. Her new series appears to be set there, in a much earlier time period.)

As to Diana, one of the ways she keeps her writing and motivation fresh is to work on more than one project at a time. Speaking for myself, she's one of those writers for whom I'm willing to wait a long time for the next book.

Jess said...

As a writer, a year is an enormous amount of time to me because I'm a naturally fast writer. I spent four months on my most recent book from start to polished finish.

I'm unpublished, so that is to be taken with a grain of salt, but I can say that spending more time on it will not necessarily improve it; I've made it the best I can. I just happen to have done that in four months.

Some books will take me longer, but a whole year? We'll have to wait and see.

I understand many people are not that fast. I think a year is a decent chunk of time. I also think it's probably the limit a reader can wait before they forget or stop caring, though.

Lisa said...

As a reader I would like a book or more per year. I recently read Triptych by Karin Slaughter which was her first stand alone novel. I would love it if she published one or more novels a year whether they were stand alones or in her Grant County series.

As a writer I could deal with producing one book a year only because as of right now I know I have it in me. I can't get the writing out of my head fast enough.

Lisa R.
Philadelphia, PA

Jess said...

Oh! I noticed it in someone else's comment and in the interest of full disclosure - I write 70k YA novels currently, although I know from past experience I can produce a typical 90k first draft in one to three months, and polish always depends on how much is needed so the total time would vary.

(I do think having a typing speed near 100wpm helps immensely.)

Christopher M. Park said...

Jess -- I can type just as fast as you, but it still takes me two years to write novels at present. It's all the thinking and planning and decisions and such that slow me down... lots of staring at the screen, lots of tweaking sentences for the 30th time, etc. I imagine that most here suffer from the same sort of thing, not being slow typists.


czar said...

As a professional reader (editor/proofreader/indexer), I can consume quite a number of books a year. Sorry to say (or not), the climax always involves a paycheck. And since most of what I read is academic/scholarly, that little bit of incentive helps. Not many old-style page-turners cross my desk.

If you're in the publish-or-perish cycle, look me up and file the name away. Never know when you might need me:

Jill said...

I like my favorite authors who are writing a series to have one a year. I'm a fast reader, so there are several series writers that I watch for.

As a writer, I could do a book a year for a long time if I didn't have a day job. I love writing.

Thank you for having this blog.

Jill Roberts

Kat said...

As a librarian, I like to see from a "quick read" type series (such as the Private books) a couple of volumes a year. A slightly more in-depth series, like the Percy Jackson series, 1-1.5 years per volume. Harry Potter, I was fine with the longer wait.

Non-series books, I think that it all depends on how the author writes and having a somewhat consistent time frame between books would be nice. Of course somewhat consistent could mean a lot of things. Some authors I know will take a few years between their stand alone books, others can put out at least one a year (series and/or stand alone). I do think I've seen some authors whose work has suffered because they are putting too many books out too quickly.

Jess said...

Chris: I didn't say that slow writers must simply not be able to type fast enough to have a higher output, I said that I imagine *my* typing ability contributes to my own faster output.

If you type slowly but make your decisions and have your plot points lined up in your head, you're still only able to produce the story as fast as you can type it. I'm blessed to make my connections quickly and be able to type quickly as well, thus a faster output. Everyone's case is different.

Anonymous said...

writing is like playing an instrument, yu have 2 do it everidai, then again, given that i am bi far the best living writer in the universe, this does not really apply 2 moi, because mi talent surpasses ani literari giants worque in herstori and use of orthogaphical conventions is not 4 me eitha

Kate H said...

As a reader, I always like to discover writers late in their careers because then I can devour all their books one after another without waiting. But if I happen to catch them early on, I'd rather wait longer and get a better next book.

As a writer, I can't imagine producing a consistent book a year. But then, at this point it's hard to imagine being in a position to write full time. If publishers want a book a year, they should definitely be paying enough to let the writer quit his/her day job. And even then, I think two years would make for a much better book.

Joe Iriarte said...


I believe I've read one of your masterpieces.

Joe Iriarte said...

(That was to anon@6:05, by the way.)

Chris said...

Echoing what many are saying. As a reader, I'd love a book a year--at least, especially if I really enjoyed the book and the author.

As a writer, I can appreciate the enormity of that task. As it is with blogging, if you don't post often enough, you lose readers.

keikomushi said...

I always go for quality over quantity and realize that even an established writer can turn out rubbish. This can a result of arrogance or laziness, or external pressures, but if an author's mind is not in the right place during the plotting, writing and editorial process than they should hold back on releasing the material until the quality is sufficient enough for the general public.
Knowing what I do about the requirements of signed authors, Ipart of their time is dedicated to book signings, conventions etcetera... not to mention the work requirements of many authors who are just starting out. And what about family obligations for parents? Heck, what about the case of juvenile authors in school?
There are lots of variables, but the focus should be on quality because there is enough poor quality prose being printed today.

allan said...

I read that article with something approaching amused interest. During my period as a staff writer at local publisher, I was expected to produce a completely new manuscript every 3 1/2 to four months (although near the end it was strongly implied that I was a lazy bastard if I took more than three). During 2004, my most productive year, I produced two collections of short fiction, a book on urban legends and another on my six favorite horror movies. But rather than suffer from this pace, these four books are easily my favourites of the 12 and 1/2 I wrote during my time at the company.

I have found, and this could only apply to myself, that the length of time a person spends on a work ultimately does not contribute a whole lot to its success as a finished project. I've gotten just as big responses from works I wrote in two hours as I have from that which I've written in two weeks.

In the article Lehane laments not having his epiphany until after one of his books was already on store shelves, but I would argue that there is no guarantee that had he had that same epiphany earlier or had the time he needed to implement it that it would have resulted in a better work. It may have left himself feeling more satisfied, but that satisfaction might not have necessarily translated into anything for his readers.

Knowing myself, as well as other writers, I interpreted the article as further proof of our own natural laziness. Yes, writers write because they have to, but they also do it because it is so totally better than having a real job.

heather simmons said...

In the past, I've counted the days until a new Dean Koontz or Janet Evanovich book came out. With JE, I'm following a series and when I have to wait,I actually miss her characters. I've identified deeply with Stephanie Plum, the main character and I'm obsessed with her hot Cuban bounty hunter, Ranger. (?) Seriously, I actually see and hear these people in my mind. You could chalk it up to either great writing on her part or mental health issues on mine. With DK, there's no series; only the promise of an amazing ride and that's enough for me. Personally, I have written exactly one book and it took me exactly one year, just as I knew it would. I think a year is long enough to miss the characters but soon enough to keep your juices flowing until the next one comes out.

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