As I stumble my way through my 1 Million Word Challenge, (I’m a bit behind due to editing days, but I’m catching up now!), I wanted to bring up a topic that many people don’t know a whole lot about, and that is being a prolific author. The way that the Big 5 Publishers (“trade houses”) release a series tends to be about one book a year per author. It has made many readers get used to that sort of release schedule, and in turn convince readers that good books take a LONG time to write.
So, is it true?
Well, to write one – 450 page book per year (100,000 words), you would have to write 273 words per day. To put that into perspective, this blog post is about 480 words long, so 273 words doesn’t really seem like that much.
So then, does being prolific (let’s say 3,500 words per day for those prolific authors) mean that you’re putting out trash? Is there a limit of books one might write in a year and have them be any “good?”
Here are a few examples that may surprise you:
- Alexandre Dumas wrote 277 books in his 68 years on the planet.
- Nora Roberts, 200+ and still going strong!
- R.L. Stine of “Goosebumps” fame has written over 330 published works so far
- Stephen King has written 60 novels and 200 short stories, and consistently writes 2,000 words a day, every single day of the year.
Now, these authors may or may not be your cup of tea, but these details can still put things into perspective. An author who wants to be writing for, say, 3-4 hours a day can put out a book roughly every two months. That’s insane! We couldn’t possibly have that many good ideas for stories in our heads … could we?
What may or may not surprise you is that several indies (independent authors) put out waaaay more than a few books a year. There are people out there, very successful people, who write easily 2 million words a year, every year. That brings us back around to that question … is the quality there?
Considering that those books are selling like hotcakes (and that’s being modest), they may not be ready for a Pulitzer, but they sure do have a huge market of readers!
So, will this million word project of mine be worth it in the end? Will I stall out or maybe find my stride? And, more importantly, will it be any good?
You’ll have to tell me once the books start coming out.
As the late Andy Warhol said, “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”
One-Million Word Counter
Story One: Starfall
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