I interact with a lot of writers on Twitter and one thing that I’ve noticed is that in recent years the trend has been toward more and more books. People say that if you write a certain number of books you can make a specified amount of money. And while there’s money to be found in backlist titles, this line of thinking also leads many authors to lament that they can’t churn out the words. Whether due to their writing process, life, or other issues, they can’t crank out four and five thousand word days, and thus, they feel like they’ll never “make it”.
When I began my career in 2002, authors produced one book a year. Many authors still do that. We moved to two or three books a year. Now, authors churn out a book a month and readers still tell us it’s not fast enough! Authors worry that they’re missing out on money because of it.
Personally, I don’t believe that word count equals dollars. Not directly anyway. Obviously, the more books you publish, the more books there are for potential readers. And, if you do a good job of hooking the readers into your genre, keeping them up to date with a newsletter, and utilizing and leveraging pre-orders, yes. You can start to create a healthy income. However, if you can’t put out a book a month or even a book every three months, do not despair. Your career isn’t over before it started.
The important thing is that authors write at the speed that’s comfortable for them. If that’s a book a month–great! If not, that’s okay too. But don’t beat yourself up because you can’t meet some arbitrary number or deadline. There’s no magic number or words per day that allow writers to walk away from their day job. This number is different for each and every person. Every career is different. Every career trajectory is different.
Write the best you can as often as you can. That’s the only rule I can think of. And that one, as far as I’m concerned, is a winner.