Spoiler Alert: This article contains a (maybe) spoiler for the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. Honestly, I think you might have to be living without internet not to have stumbled upon said spoiler but this is your formal warning- proceed at your own risk.
I was inspired by the New York Times article Impatience Has Its Reward: Books Are Rolled Out Faster about recent publishing trends that was published today. Honestly, I’d probably not even have the article on my radar had it not been that my good friend and fellow blogger, Krys from Bibliopunkk, being quoted about her opinion on the wait time between releases.
The beginning of this particular article discusses how some publishers are wanting and trying to release books in rapid succession to limit the reader’s painful wait for the follow up book. I’ve noticed that books seem to be released much faster than in the past and admit that I’m excited when I learn that a release date isn’t that far off in the future.
On the other hand, my first thought goes to the master minds behind the stories, the authors. How do they feel about this trend and the ensuing pressure of turning out more words at a faster rate?
I was raised on George RR Martin so I’ve learned to wait for story conclusions (and I’m still waiting). The pressure on Martin to write and finish the series is well documented and even a long running joke and song. Now with his book’s adaptations to TV I’m sure the pressure is even worse.
My opinion is that I’d wait as long as it takes for a story to be fully realized in the author’s mind and translated to their ideal in written form. The wait is painful but I’m of the mind to wait for a really beautifully done story rather than rush the author. I think it takes time to craft a story. I imagine if several books are already written then it’s ok to have little time between each release. The idea of encouraging (in a forceful way) an author to write faster so that marketing can hit when the fire is hot…I’m afraid that’ll make subpar books.
I don’t know about you but there are a few books I’ve read (Hannibal by Thomas Harris and the last I don’t know how many Sookie Stackhouse books come to mind) that felt like the author wasn’t really behind the work. The characters stray from their original heart and most times fans are left angry and disappointed. When reading these books I have to wonder, was the author pressured into writing this? It seems to me that to force someone in any creative profession to produce really hinders the product.
How about sales? Do releasing books faster sell more books? In the NYT’s article they have some evidence that in some genres it does. There are many authors that are able to write on a schedule with little time between releases and are very successful. As with most things I imagine it depends on the person and their technique/style. From my reading experience it seems that I personally favor authors that prefer to take longer between books. Regardless of the wait each time I finally get to hold the long awaited release it feels glorious to finally be diving back in.
So to George RR Martin and all the other authors taking time to fully realize their ideas-I give you patience and time. I am willing to wait.
I’m wondering what you, the readers, think of this trend. Do you mind the wait for an additional book? Do you think it would be horrible for the industry to start expecting a shorter amount of time between books?