I think that’s true in writing. One thing that seems to be changing, whether you like it or not, is that authors are being expected to write multiple books per year. Some authors seem to have no problem with that. Others balk.
I don’t necessarily count James Patterson as one of those putting out multiple books per year. That’s because, despite his name being on many books, now he seems mostly to plot the book, writing what he has said is a 50-page outline, then turning that over to other writers. But there are writers who seem to thrive on many projects. I cite Diane Fanning as an example. She writes true crime, mystery, updates on her true crimes, and more, all within the same year, sometimes juggling multiple projects simultaneously.
And there are some writers who say, no way. Dennis Lehane has said that he not only won’t do more than one book a year, he’s not even going to be pressured into doing one a year.
Few authors can stand up to the pressure, though. Publishers are pressing for one a year. According to the Boston Globe, Matthew Shear, publisher of St. Martin’s Press, put the screws to Michael Palmer who had been writing a medical thriller every two or three years:
"I told him, 'I'm a big fan, but in this competitive market, I need a book a year. If you do that, I can increase your sales...'"
There’s also pressure from booksellers:
Retailers are also in a funk. First-quarter sales slumped by a combined 0.3 percent at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million, the nation's biggest booksellers. One result is more pressure on authors to gin up bigger and more frequent blockbusters.
Some authors can keep up with the fast pace. Robert B. Parker (Spenser detective series) publishes four books a year in several different series. Allison Brennan has published eight suspense/romance novels in the past two and a half years.
On the other hand, thriller writer Brad Meltzer says:
"Every time you get a bunch of writers together, this is all they complain about. The trend is, 'How many books can you put out?' From building your reputation to get on the best-seller list, it's gone to trying to get to the tippy-top of the list. It's not worth it to me."
Will those who can’t produce multiple books per year get left behind in sales? What about you? How many books do you write each year?