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The Book Business (with dinosaur pwrn) 17.09.15

Can you write four good books in a year? SF&F authors Larry Correia and John Scalzi have remarkably similar answers. John Scalzi writes:

There are a lot of writers who write fast and well, for whom four books a year of readable, enjoyable prose is not a stretch. And, you know. If you can do that, and you want to do that, and you see an economic benefit to it, then why not do it?

Larry writes:

It depends entirely upon the author. […] My comfy pace is about 4 months to write a book, a month off to step away to work on other stuff, so I can come back with a fresh perspective to edit for a month. But I’m a grinder. 10k words a week, treat it like a real job.

Larry does a short detour into discussing self-publishing vs traditional publishing, where his advice to GET PAID is a) write for a market and b) write a lot.  

The ‘write a lot’ is particularly helpful advice since, according to Kameron Hurley (v. interesting blogpost), the average self-published book sells only 250 copies in its lifetime and a traditionally-published book only 3,000.

In short,  if you want to sell 1,000 books – write four self-published novels, and experiment until you find your market. But, as Kameron points out, if you want to make real money and don’t enjoy writing dinosaur pwrn (or for some other big market), don’t write fiction. Corporate copywriting pays better.

[For anyone tantalised by the idea of monster pwrn, Buzzfeed has a great list of ‘classic’ titles. The sales descriptions alone are worth the click-through].

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