The Other Side of Writing

Last night, SusanH and I joined Stella at the EatReadRate meet the author dinner for the quarter.  I thoroughly enjoyed the night.  Dinner was excellent, the company even better.  The guests . . . well.

There were 4 authors.  Big names all.  New York Times Bestseller list kind of big.  Romance writers.

The biggest different between them and me?  They write for a living and do very, very well at it.  I write . . . well, I guess I write for the joy of writing.

These writers have mad schedules.  All four have contracts on books they haven’t written yet (with advances, I assume).  One of them called herself a “contract whore.”  They think of an idea, write a proposal (maybe a synopsis, maybe not), the publisher buys it and gives them a contract and a delivery date.

One of the writers has 14 contracts due within the next 12 months.  That’s a book from scratch to delivery every 26 days.  Not to mention, there are edits coming back from the publisher for previously written books, publicity, fan bases to satisfy.

Another of the writers gets up early and writes 20 pages (that’s about 5,000 words!) first thing every morning, Monday through  Friday.  No editing allowed.  After that’s “out of the way,” she can start the rest of her day.  That’s a 600 page book in 6 weeks.  On the 7th week she rereads the book and edits it.  At the end of 7 weeks, off it goes to the publisher.

One of the attendees asked what the writers thought about big name authors who only wrote, say, one book a year.  “How do you keep a fan base excited with just one book a year?” was the puzzled reply.

I confess that the entire idea horrifies me.  Good thing I don’t write for money.

prolific writer


15 thoughts on “The Other Side of Writing

  1. If there is an app for the kind of writing J Kenner does, the app writer will make a fortune! I’m just sayin’.

    It was an eye-opening evening. Since 1000 words/day average would be huge for me, the productivity they were talking about makes my head spin.

    Fun evening. And more than a little scary.

  2. I find those evenings to be eye opening and inspiring. We all write for a reason. Whatever that reason may be, if the books resonate with readers, I think the writers are doing something right. Some are word factories, others take a bit longer. It’s a matter of finding your groove, I guess!

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