HALLIE EPHRON: So all of us Reds sat up and took notice of yesterday's New York Times front page Headline -- Writers Cramp: In the E-Reader Era, a Book a Year is Slacking.
And there's lovely Lisa Scotolline, standing there in a butterscotch leather jacket, leaning against a block of granite, cool as a cucumber and apparently without a care in the world. She says she's producing two books a year now because "the culture is a great big hungry maw, and you have to feed it."
My reaction? In a word, Oy vey. Followed by a very loud and whiney: "Come on guys, I'm pedaling as fast as I can!"
I am so in awe of writers who can crank out more than one book a year. How do they do it?
LUCY BURDETTE: Yeah, we started this conversation by complimenting Debs on making a good show on the blog this past week--in spite of her big deadline. And then, Hallie points out how the NYT is telling us even the big, big, big authors are writing faster and faster and faster...
RHYS BOWEN: This reads like the story of my life these days! Two books a year and Penguin is releasing a short story/novella a month before the next Lady Georgie title. And St Martin's is suggesting I do another short story before the next Molly.
HALLIE: I've heard authors complain that they put up short stories on Kindle (free, mind you!) only to get a batch of one star reviews from readers complaining that they felt cheated because it wasn't a whole novel. Talk about biting the hand...
RHYS: Happened to me last year. All that whining about 'this isn't a whole book!' It's like going into the bakery and complaining because they are only giving away samples of the doughnut, not the whole thing. But I'm afraid too many Kindle readers are now spoiled by writers giving their works away and think this is normal. However some of us have to eat.
LUCY: I attended a conference yesterday for mostly romance writers. One woman I sat with churns out 4 books a year. And she has 4 kids...She said she works well under deadline: when she was in a bad pinch recently, she went to a motel alone for a weekend and wrote 12,000 words in ONE day. 20,000 for the weekend.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: 12000 in ONE day? Did they make any sense??
HALLIE: I once wrote 12,000 words in a day. The next day I deleted most of them.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm trying to write 2000 a day when 1000 to 1200 is a good day for me. Last Monday I think I wrote about 5000. I was so exhausted on Tuesday that I couldn't get off the sofa. I can do a few days like that right at the end of a book, but can't keep it up.
Are these super-achieving writers human?
HALLIE: I'm doing well if I hit 500 a day. Or I thought I was.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Well, everyone around here may have noticed I've been AWOL for the last several weeks. My book deadline was moved up, and for me to write at the speed required to meet it, I have to chuck everything else out the window: trips to the Y, social media, blogging, cooking, cleaning... (okay, I admit those last two aren't a big sacrifice.) I can do that for a month or two, when absolutely necessary, but to produce enough words to fuel two good books a year? I don't think I'd have any other life.
Writers, what's your word count? Could you produce two books a year? Three? And readers, do you really need two books per annum from your favorite writers? Believe me when I say the Reds want to know!