Monday, July 01, 2013

The paradox with prolific authors

This is an elaboration on a comment I made to a blog post by Judith Tarr a month ago, or so ( I recommend that you read it. It is long, but eye opening.).  And I am not talking about authors that release 1-5 books* a year, but rather authors that release 6 or more books. 

This post have been brewing for awhile, and Judith Tarr's blogpost only made me verbalize what I felt.

I love to read. I love to support authors by buying their books, and then gobbling them up. Except, some authors that I love isn't on my autobuy list. Why? Well, there are multiple factors. But a big one is that they are too prolific. Which sounds like a paradox, I know. If I love their books, I should buy them at release day, right?  Well, yes. Except that once an author starts releasing more than 5 books a year, I lose interest. The only way I can describe it, is that the Shiny! New! Buy! Factor diminish. Often two things happen:
A) I keep one series/ genre on my autobuy list, and buy the rest as the mood strikes me.
Or B) I stop autobuying all your books.

What decides if A or B happens is a combination of the price of your books and how much I enjoyed your latest book. For example: If all your upcoming books are in trade, and I liked but didn't love  the latest book by you that I read, then I most likely wont buy your books at release day. I'll still buy your books, just not immediately when they are released. And yes, sometimes it can go a long time before I remember to buy it.
On the other hand, if you have a mix of books at a different price levels, it is likely that I'll keep on buying at least some of the books. ( For example: I buy Lauren Dane's Petal series at release date, and the rest of her books when I have the money.)

I have a suspicion that I am not the only reader that feel like this. And yes, I am aware that in the long run this might lead to lower sales. So if you are a prolific author and the sales for one of your series start to decline,I suggest that you  look at how many new releases you have had in that genre over the last 18 months.  You might get a bit of a shock, especially if you start to add in mass market reissues and anthologies, which I haven't taken into account.

As a contrast, the authors  that are firmly on my autobuy list  releases 1-3 books a year. That slightly slower pace means I am clamoring for their next book, and I am willing to pay more for it.

* And by books, I mean novels longer than 150 pages

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