Jul 22, 2011

They Say Things Move Slowly in the Publishing World

Are you signed up for the  Publishers Weekly newsletters? I receive the Children's Bookshelf edition each week to stay abreast on book deals, e-book news, and whatever else is going on in the kidlit world.

This week's edition included an article titled YA Series Making Fast Tracks, which discusses the frequency with which sequels are published. Publishers are allowing less and less time between installments in hopes of keeping readers interested. Too long of a wait and you lose the readership, they say.

I hope you read the article because if you think about it, this demand affects us more than it affects the reader's experience. If your publisher required you to pump out books as fast as James Patterson (without the writer horde to write for you), how would you deal?

I think the notion that readers do not keep interest over the course of two years is a bit absurd. When I discovered the Percy Jackson series, the first three books had been published. I finished the third book just in time for the fourth's debut, and then I waited a year for book five. Of course the wait was difficult, I NEEDED to know what happened to Percy, Annabelle, and Grover, but life needed living and took up the time between my visits to Camp Half Blood.

Similar story with The Hunger Games. I read the first book shortly after it was published, just as the first wave of hype hit book lovers. When Catching Fire came out, I took the day off from work. As book three approached, I was beyond excited. I had pre-ordered my copy seven months ahead of time. Over the three years that it took for  The Hunger Games trilogy to be published, my excitement never waned.

I think some publishers need a lesson in quality vs quantity.


  1. I totally agree. Sometimes waiting for something is part of what makes it so good.


  2. I agree. Another thing writers need to consider, though is this: Write the first book, and then while you're doing the agent/publisher search and getting the first book edited and published, etc. write that second novel.

  3. Heh, heh. You said abreast.

    I agree, but if a writer is doing a sequel, one shouldn't delay in writing the next one once the first is polished and ready to publish. Sequels shouldn't be a 2+ yr wait. Because I can't wait that long to know what happens! :)

  4. *snicker* Oh Kelly. I <3 ya.

    I honestly have no problem waiting. I find myself loving series that often take years between books, and that is okay by me. I've been reading one series since I was 17, and only about 3 books have come out since then, but you know, when one came out, I celebrated by going to Scotland (where the books take place) and it was awesome.

    So, idk. I'd rather a book be RIGHT than published quickly.

  5. Shelley - Yes, the wait is great - when it's worth it...

    Anita - Great point, but you're talking about working on the novel's first couple of drafts. What that article is suggesting is that those books are being drafted, revised, edited, and designed within a year! Holy moley.

    Kelly - :P I agree about not waiting to do a sequel, but I do not think taking it's release time into consideration would be a good idea for me. I need to do what's best for the story.

    Marisa - You are way in the quality camp then! Me too, obvs. I just think it's silly to write for the readers who are anticipating the book, and not to the readers who will discover the books years after their release.

  6. I don't think publishing a book a year in a series is too short. Most of the time the publishing process is slow but not because of the writer! Plus, the writing process for a sequel goes much faster. I think they are trying to keep up with ebooks, which is probably a good thing.

  7. I remember waiting SO LONG between Harry Potter books, and I would just re-read them over and over and write fanfiction and waste all my free time over on Mugglenet.

    I do wonder if expecting sequels to come out SO quickly might cause some kind of deterioration in quality, especially if later books are written very quickly or with a strict deadline in mind. But at the same time, it seems foolish to write several books in a series before the first one has even been picked up by an editor, because what if something huge changes and you have to scrap everything you've done?

    I wonder about this often. I also wonder about what this means for the stand-alone novel, which is my favorite thing to write and to read.

  8. Laura - A year is probably not a long time in several cases, but the article made me feel like a standard was being set.

    Alexandra - Stand-alone novels are my preference too because with a series you have to invest so much time and interest. Of course, when the series is amazing like with Harry Potter, the payoff is huge for me as a reader.

  9. Definitely if a series is astoundingly awesome like Harry Potter, I really enjoy the long series. Though it did help that I knew from the beginning that Harry Potter would end with book 7. With other books, if I can't remember what happened in the first one, but don't have the energy or time to re-read it before the second, I often just give up on the series, unfortunately. (Sometimes I can get around this if it's a really well-known series and I can refresh my memory with Wikipedia.)