This article was originally posted on the NY Times.com.
Writer’s Cramp: In the E-Reader Era, a Book a Year Is Slacking
For years, it was a schedule as predictable as a calendar: novelists who specialized in mysteries, thrillers and romance would write one book a year, output that was considered not only sufficient, but productive.
The author Lisa Scottoline, who writes thrillers, has increased her yearly output from one book to two because, she said, “the culture is a great big hungry maw, and you have to feed it.”
But the e-book age has accelerated the metabolism of book publishing. Authors are now pulling the literary equivalent of a double shift, churning out short stories, novellas or even an extra full-length book each year.
They are trying to satisfy impatient readers who have become used to downloading any e-book they want at the touch of a button, and the publishers who are nudging them toward greater productivity in the belief that the more their authors’ names are out in public, the bigger stars they will become.
“It used to be that once a year was a big deal,” said Lisa Scottoline, a best-selling author of thrillers. “You could saturate the market. But today the culture is a great big hungry maw, and you have to feed it.”
The push for more material comes as publishers and booksellers are desperately looking for ways to hold onto readers being lured by other forms of entertainment, much of it available nonstop and almost instantaneously. Television shows are rushed online only hours after they are originally broadcast, and some movies are offered on demand at home before they have left theaters. In this environment, publishers say, producing one a book a year, and nothing else, is just not enough.
At the same time, the Internet has allowed readers to enjoy a more intimate relationship with their favorite authors, whom they now expect to be accessible online via blogs, Q. and A.’s on Twitter and updates on Facebook.
Some of the extra work is being pushed by authors themselves, who are easing their own fears that if they stay out of the fickle book market too long, they might be forgotten.
(At least, I know I am ahead of my time. I recently released my 14th novel in a little over 4 years. I am a writing machine.) For the complete article, please visit http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/business/in-e-reader-age-of-writers-cramp-a-book-a-year-is-slacking.html?_r=4&ref=arts