Two Months Per Book

Fantasy Debut has an interview with Jennifer Rardin, in which she talks about writing a book every two months so that people can become fans of her work that much faster. It sounds like a great idea to me from a marketing perspective, and if you can make it happen, hey, then make it happen.

So, how does a novelist go about having her first three novels published every two months? Did you have all three books written when you sold the first one? Or are you undead, allowing you to write around the clock?

Har! I often think what a lousy vampire I’d make with my passion for open spaces (shut me in a casket for the day, are you nuts?) and my love of sunlight. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I probably worshiped Ra at some point along my journey.

But with the deadlines imposed on me by the publishing schedule you mentioned, I spent plenty of days inside looking out, wishing I could go play when instead I had to work. Pretty much nonstop. Because I only had the first book, Once Bitten, Twice Shy, finished when my agent sold it and two more as yet untitled (and unplotted!) novels to my editor at Orbit. Yeah, so lots of evenings and weekends, a very intense workload I have only now, with the completion of book five of the series, been able to drop. My next books will be written on a much saner, nine-month timeline.

However, we didn’t tackle such a big project without good reason. New, unknown writers like me have a tough time selling books when they only come out on an annual basis. This way, readers could almost immediately grab the first three in the series and hopefully figure out, sooner rather than later, that this Rardin chick had a way with words.

I always like to think that if I worked on writing full-time then I’d be able to turn out books at that kind of pace. Right now, though, I enjoy my day job enough that I don’t really want to quit (though I do sometimes wish I could turn down the stress level, even though most of the time it’s just me freaking out about deadlines that are much softer than I always think they are). I’m hoping that if I keep writing (or, practicing writing) at the “hobby” level until the house is paid off, then I’ll have put in enough time to where I’ll be able to generate a “part-time job” amount of income from my writing. In today’s dollars, I’d estimate that amounts to A “Meh” Deal on John Scalzi’s Real World Book Deal scale.


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