There are a lot of crappy novels with even crapper cover designs
This is what I was thinking as I scrolled through different selections of self-published novels on Amazon. As a soon to be self-published author, I always try to look through self-published books on Amazon to buy so I can support my fellow indie authors.
I interact with authors and book bloggers on Twitter and started to notice something. Many self-published writers followed a very strict, militant-style writing routine where they would write for several hours every night of the week and anywhere from 5-12 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Some people, who had the luxury of not having to do a full-time 9 to 5 job, said they wrote even more than that. Over and over, I kept hearing about how self-published authors apparently need to write between 2-4 novels a year in order to stay relevant and keep people from forgetting about them.
So there comes to be writers who quick draft their manuscripts and complete the journey of word one to publication in 3 to 6 months. They skimp a bit on editing by either getting a not as experienced editor or by only doing certain editing like developmental editing and then opting to skip proofreading editing and just doing it themselves.
Sometimes this works. A lot of times it doesn’t. Authors get so wrapped up in releasing as many books as possible, they forget that if they built a platform where readers could interact and regularly engage with them, the readers wouldn’t suddenly “forget” them if they didn’t release several books every year.
So many authors put out a bunch of books that are less than stellar but could be a lot better if they took the time to do an extra draft, get good quality editing, and have a good book cover design.
I don’t want to be a self-published author who churns out several okay books per year rather than one great one. I don’t want to be one of those self-published authors that has an abundance of typos/grammatical errors and plot holes in their book. I don’t want to be one of those authors who has a shoddy cover design that doesn’t follow certain design guidelines. I don’t want to be one of those self-published authors that gives a bad name to self-publishing by fueling the stereotype that it’s inferior to traditional publishing.
Self-publishing a book can be expensive, but I’d put the money in to creating one great book rather than spreading my money thin by releasing several books a year and not being able to afford professional high-quality editing and book cover design.
There should be a diligent pace in place when writing a novel but you shouldn’t write it so fast you glaze past making it the best it can possibly be.
I was conflicted about it. Writing several books helps a writer hone his/her craft. In contrast to that, there are also a lot of great authors who have only written one novel.
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird*
*To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee’s only novel for over 50 years before it was announced early this year that she was publishing a second novel
There are a lot of other famous authors who have written only one novel. I’ve been working on my first novel for a while now and felt conflicted about the one novel vs. several novels idea. It didn’t take long before I came to an appropriate response to the idea after another writer on Twitter gave her answer on the question.
I will continue to write several novels since I want to get better at writing. Will those future novels ever see the light of day/get published? Probably not. I don’t mind it though. As long as I’m working on my craft I’m fine. Many “one novel authors” have most likely written several stories but that one novel was the only one published.
There is a happy medium. Writers can publish several great novels. The idea is to only publish novel you (and beta readers and editors) have faith in.
What do you think? Would you rather write one great novel that touches lots of people and gets several accolades or write several okay novels?