Two Books a Year Aren’t Enough??

Post image for Two Books a Year Aren’t Enough??

This is the first news that’s made me feel glad I’m not a best-selling author:  Last week, the NY Times reported that Lee Childs, Lisa Scottoline, and other A-list genre writers are now expected to crank out two books a year instead of one, because we, their avid readers, can’t wait a whole 11 months to read their next entry.  They’re also expected to tweet, be active on Facebook, and, oh, yeah, toss off a little 40,000-word novella at least once a year to serve as a teaser for their next “actual” book.

Scottoline, who I heard speak live at a Barnes & Nobles in End-of-nowhere New Jersey two years ago says she’s now writing from the crack of dawn until Colbert comes on.  With a schedule like that, it’s unlikely that her fans are going to find her tossing out candy bars (yes, she did) at an event for 100 people who adore her and were thrilled to be up close.  In fact, it’s unlikely that she goes out of her house at all.

These blistering expectations are all well and good for someone like Nora Roberts, whose writing philosophy, according to a profile in the New Yorker, is “ass in the chair,” and who was already writing for 70 hours a week before some publisher told her she had to.  But they’re  something else entirely (how about, insane!) for mere human beings who are trying to also be friends, parents, partners, and people who occasionally sleep.

In the 1990s, I did my time in corporate America, working 100 hours a week, writing and raising my daughter on the side.  It was fun in a masochistic way, and the money was really gratifying.  But not for nothing would I do it again; and the funny thing is, now that I’m pulling some long hours with my speaker coaching business, I keep thinking that maybe, someday, I’ll go back to my old dream of writing genre fiction so that I can sit at my desk and relax.

Looks like that train has left the station!




Previous post:

Next post: