When Do You Stop?

Masa Flour!

Masa flour is my new husband. I can’t stop eating homemade corn tortillas.

I’ve been considering going meat-free in my diet for awhile. The change is inspired by reading Eat and Run by Scott Jurek. I’ll still eat eggs, fish, and maybe chicken.

I’ll seriously be the worst vegetarian ever.

Just kidding. Kind of. About the chicken I mean.


In the book The Naked Truth About Self Publishing they say a new indie author should publish every three months for the first yearish.

Their reasoning is basically mojo: keep the readers attention. Mo’ books means mo’ reviews, mo’ readers, mo’ money, mo’ attention on the online algorithms. Basically, better odds of success. It doesn’t have to be a novel every 3 months. Short stories, novellas, boxed sets, an audiobook, etc.

So I said to myself, Self, let’s do this thing.

Then life said, suckah.


photo-11Example: I had a deadline this weekend with my editor. However, Husband and I are escaping to the mountains tomorrow for the first time in WAY TOO LONG, the Army is probably moving us across the country in a monthish (we don’t even know where we are going), and then I found out that my sweet grandma’s cancer has spread. I also have over 100 unread emails from the last two days.

So I said ‘fuhgeddaboutit‘, stopped writing, and worked on planning a trip home instead to see one of my favorite people in the world. —->

And I will not take my computer with me to the mountains this weekend.

I. Will. Not.

Which throws off my publishing schedule. Grips face and runs away screaming. 

Just kidding. I don’t care that much.

SO . . .Let’s talk about writing schedules and book publishing:

JK Rowling published the HP books in the follow time range (according to Goodreads)

HP 1- 1997

HP2- 1998

HP3- 1999

HP4- 1999 (same year)

HP5- 2003 (4 years after book 4)


HP7- 2007 (3 years after book 6)

Dean Koontz released the Odd Thomas series as follows: (according to Goodreads) Keep in mind this is just the Odd Thomas series. He also published other works concurrently.

OT1- 2003

OT2- 2005

OT3- 2006 

OT4- 2008

OT4.1— 2012  OT4.2— 2012   OT4.3 —2012

OT5- 2012 

OT6- 2013

OT7- 2014

Libba Bray and the Gemma Doyle Series (according to Goodreads)

GD1- 2003

GD2- 2005

GD3- 2007

Totally different for each author. JK Rowling averaged about a book a year except for a few cases, Dean Koontz did more than that (the man is an animal), and Libba Bray put out one every two years. All of these authors are traditionally published.

So here it is: should indie authors worry about publishing more often than traditional authors to keep and maintain a fan base?

What is YOUR publishing schedule?

Do you think publishing every three months is too often?

Leave. Your. Thoughts. Guys.


  1. LaDonna Cole says

    I think the only way you can do that is to wait to release your first book until you have a year’s worth of books stacked up and waiting in your computer. Even then trying to get betas, editors, proofers, artists, etc… to stick to the deadline of every three months seems a bit far fetched. So you’d have to have a year’s worth of completed books stacked up and waiting.

    Or learn to write clean and quick and let go of the need for it to be as close to perfect as possible.

    Let me know how it goes.

    • says

      Actually, I agree. It’s possible, if you take the time beforehand to have it all prepared and ready. That’s actually another tidbit of advice they give in that book: if you want to self publish a series, write it all before hand, and have them edited, covers done, and ready to go, then publish them one month after each other. That is a crazy amount of work, though, for someone who wants to get things on the career rolling.

  2. says

    As always, thanks for your fresh voice and honesty. Like you, I had planned to publish another novel in the year that followed the first I independently published. Alas, a few unplanned family things slowed me down. The manuscript is ready but I need to finish the formatting and cover design. Meanwhile I am finishing the draft of a new novel. Ideally, yes, I think it is better to publish regularly for us who chose the solo approach.
    You’re right about the traditionally published authors. Some are very productive and some are less. It has little to do with the quality since some highly prolific writers manage to keep up with excellence.
    For us I think that keeping up with our blogs and any other form of online presence as well as schools, libraries and bookstores visits help while we work on the publication of a new work. People have to remember of us when we come up with a new novel.
    Keep up with the good work and enjoy your weekend. Sounds like you deserve it.

    • says

      Evelyn! Comment vas tu, mon amie?

      I still peruse your blog to keep fresh on my horrible french. I read it better than I say or type it, promise 😉 I’m always so happy when you stop by!

      Marketing the first book seems to take up just as much attention as writing the second book, you know? Keeping up the blog, as you said, is a huge part of that!

  3. says

    Jeez Louise! Talk about committing myself. (Ha! Pun intended.)

    But seriously, that’s seems a bit tight when you’re working with editors,book designers,betas,etc. They have their own schedule too. I can see the short story approach, publishing in smaller mediums, but a full-length novel every 3 months? Maybe if you’re working on multiple projects, overlapping with each other, and have cascading release dates, then I guess it makes sense.

    Right now I have a publish-once-a-year schedule for my novels, and a short/flash/poetry every few weeks or whenever the muses tackle me to the ground and force my hand. (Those b*tches are tough to fight off!) This loose schedule gives me time to do other things that I want to do – and the bucket list is long. My incomplete novels are starting to pile up though, and I feel the need to work on multiple novels at once. I haven’t done this yet – not sure it’s right for me. We’ll see how it goes.

    Enjoy a much-deserved weekend off. I hope your grandma’s health gets better.

    • says

      So punny, Tanya~~

      Once a year is a great goal! I think it’s totally within the normal realm and expectation, that’s what I’m learning, anyway.

      I’m working on multiple projects right now, and it really only slows the progress of them, you know? It’s good to multitask, but there’s less singular forward momentum.

  4. says

    First, love and hugs to your grandma.

    I think every 3 months is unnecessarily fast. I do agree that you shouldn’t put 2 years distance between novels as in Indie author (unless it’s like your 8th one), but 4 in a year is REDICULOUS.

    Here’s what I say: Do what feels right and happens organically.

    Have an amazing time in the mountains. :)

    • says

      Definitely fast. Definitely. I think you have to have had that on your radar and planned for it for it to work. To just pull it out of your butt?

      Nah. I fear for me that the story and my writing would suffer. It’s such a PROCESS. You can’t rush it, really.

  5. says

    This was exactly what I was wondering. I was planning to release a new book every six months. Every three months scare me. My self-editing process takes a lot longer than three months. Sorry to hear about your grandmother. That is awful news. I hope you enjoy your weekend.

    • says

      Murees, just do whatever you can do. Don’t be scared by anything. You own this game, you make your rules.

      I had someone ask me about how I respond to editing deadlines and keep myself on track. I told them that I’m always pushing deadlines back as I need to. Why?

      ‘Cuz I’m the boss here 😉

  6. says

    I also just finished reading The Naked Truth About Self Publishing and it really got me thinking about how I want to release my trilogy that I am working on. I thought about writing it all at once and then going through editing and leaving just formatting and cover art until the end so that I could only have small gaps between releases.
    But then I decided that that was silly, so I thought about writing short stories based in the same world and releasing those between books.
    The short story route is what I have decided on. I am going to have four short stories and then a box set of those stories to fill in the gaps between books.
    Like you said, that is just going to be for the beginning, to get me started. After, I will just put out books when they are ready and to heck with algorithms 😛

    • says

      So, the thing about the algorithms is also that they change it all the time. Who knows if what Amazon did with their algorithms when that book was written is still what they do now, anyway? I think that there is a lot of good things about having all the books ready to go at once and releasing them that fast, but at the same time, I know I’d get antsy and feel like I was wasting time when I could be building some kind of fan base.

      Really, it’s so different for everyone, there’s no ‘right answer’ 😉

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that’s read it!

  7. says

    One every 3 months? Surely that’s madness. I would aim for one a year, and even then I think that would be optimistic of me. I do think it’s a good idea to have some manuscripts in the bank though before you publish the first one.

    Thanks to everyone who commented on this too. It’s been really useful reading all your views.

    • says

      I think it would work IF everything were already done before hand. IE- the stories, editing, book covers, etc. Otherwise, it’s just WAY too much for an indie to do, as I demonstrated here.

      At this point, I’d be really happy with two a year for the first year or so. I think that’s feasible, definitely. Especially with all the social media work we have to do now. 😉

  8. says

    I heard that JK Rowling had all the Harry Potter books written before the first one was published (which is quite impressive). In terms of novels, I think one every three months is kind of silly, that’s even assuming you’ve written them all before hand. I think one every year sounds better. Personally, I’ve got a goal of one novel every two years, because that’s what I think I can realistically handle. But I do think putting out some kind of writing on a regular basis is good advice. I have been thinking about trying to write short stories as well, to fill in the gaps. I haven’t decided if I’ll try selling the stories, or just put them out there for free (submit to ezines or something). But first I need to actually write them.

    I don’t think there is any “right” way. Everyone is different, and everyone needs to do things in a way that works for them. I prefer not to stress about these things. It’ll happen, and I’d rather not make myself hate the entire process. And, at the end of it all, life is more important.

    Hope your Grandma is OK. We’re dealing with cancer in our family as well, so I can definitely relate. Enjoy your time in the mountains with your husband, and don’t take the computer. Computer and mountains don’t belong!

  9. says

    Publishing a book every three months sounds crazy to me. I would never even be able to write something decent in three months. Also, for a while, I was trying so hard to finish new books that life was just passing me by; I stopped enjoying the things that make me happy such as traveling and visiting film festivals and blogging. So yes, books are turning out more slowly, but life is so much better.

    • says

      And really, I don’t want you to stop going to movie festivals and blogging because you always expose me to new movies and ideas. SO DON”T DO IT VANESSA! Don’t get crazy and try to publish every 3 months 😉

  10. says

    I’d never try to rush the process of publishing a novel. It’s done when it’s done, and I wouldn’t force-fit the schedule to any algorithm. I’ve been working on my debut novel for almost two years now. I thought I had it ready to publish, but then I got feedback from beta readers.

    I do recognize the value of publishing something between novels, even if it’s only flash fiction. By publishing even a short story every three months, you make it clear that you are a serious author. Readers are more likely to seek out your writing if they can rely on there being more of it on a fairly regular basis. I don’t have a routine, and it might go longer than three months between short stories, but I do write one every so often and make it available somewhere in some form. My latest was a short story for the ASMSG anthology, A World of Worlds, published a couple months ago. In case you’d care to read it (it’s free) and will allow me to be blatantly commercial in a comment on your blog, here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/423591

    It’s not easy to write even a publishable short story every three months and still make good progress on a novel. It’s doable of course. The fact that it’s not easy says a lot about the author who does it anyway.

    A blog is a great place to publish short stories between novels. Up there at the top of the page where you have the link for Book Reviews… just put a link next to it for Short Fiction. Not only will your existing fans love reading it, but you give others a chance to see whether they would like your style of fiction. Of course, if you find a paying outlet for some of your short fiction, that’s cool too.

    The whole idea is to turn chance readers into loyal fans.

    Hope your grandma gets better. Have a good time in the mountains! Forget about us all until you’re back.

    • says

      You published a short story?! Obviously I’m all over it, friend!

      I agree- a novel is not something to rush. Rushing the process just to hit a three month mark could lower sales and rating over time if they aren’t ready.. Chance readers= loyal fans is much more difficult than it would seem 😉

  11. says

    Everything that happens and I mean everything can be used in your books for the future. Deep breaths, girlfriend! It’s research…so in a way you are writing! Sorry about your grandmother. xoxox

  12. says

    There’s no perfect schedule. You just do what’s right for your readers and fans and friends and your own life. Traditional publishing allows a pretty short window for books to make a profit, but indie publishing (both self and small-press) is all about the long tail. It’s probably good not to go three years between books, but three months is an awfully short frame in which to deliver new material that’s up to your standard. Also, I think there could be a risk of burning out your supporters if you expect a big launch fuss every three months like clockwork? Not to mention burning yourself out. I do like the idea of trying to write and polish at least a flash fiction story every quarter, though (whether you publish them to your blog or send them out to magazines).

    Very sorry to hear about your grandmother. I love that you’re making a visit with her a priority. Hugs.

    • says

      I can see how publishing often can help drive sales, but I think you’re right when it comes to follower and fan burn out, really. I know other authors that publish a lot, (one is coming out with two books two weeks within each other) and can’t figure out how their cover designers and editors keep up!

  13. says

    Every three months? Are they kidding with that? MADNESS, I TELL YOU.

    I think if you focus too much on schedules and having to get a book out within a certain timeframe, the only thing you’re going to end up with is a lacklustre book. It takes TIME to write something good, and if you rush it, it’s just not going to be as awesome as it could be if the time was taken to make sure everything was just ‘right’.

    I’m always of the belief that if a book is good and the author is talented, word will get out (even if it’s slowly) and it’ll get recognition. Fans are much more willing to want for a great book, than have a bunch of ‘eh’ ones published really quickly

    • says

      Yes, every three months is madness, but I’ve actually heard of authors putting them out faster than that. I’ve read some of them, and while I think they’re good, I also think they need some . . . tweakage. But, you know, romance sells and that’s what the books I’m referring to are . . .

      At any rate, it’s all about quality over quantity when it comes down to it.

  14. says

    I agree that you want to publish SOMETHING every three months, but that flying through four novels a year will only result in both you and anyone who tries to read them being carted off to the looney bin. But short stories, novellas, blogs – for sure! I also totally agree that sometimes life is more important and that’s just fine! I’m just coming off a marathon work period, and thoroughly looking forward to living as an actual human for a while!!

    • says

      I agree. Unless the novels are written before hand, it’s a bit mad. I think publishing frequently to get your name going is a great idea, but you have to be careful how you do it.

  15. says

    I’ve just started working on my first book, and I can’t fathom trying to write a second one at this point, lol. But, my book is a non-fiction memoir of sorts (about my journey from mom jeans to skinny jeans :) ). So I think this makes me a bit different from someone writing a fictional series.

    Just found your blog, from a link on another blog, and I just realized your an author-your book is actually on my TBR list, and I’m looking forward to reading it :)

    Finley Jayne

    • says

      Finley Jayne may be my new favorite name, just because it rolls off the tongue so well. And actually, I really dig book transformations, so keep my updated on your non fiction memoir. Seriously. I’m girl enough to love stuff like that. I hope you get a chance to read MMSFG and enjoy it in the meantime 😉

  16. says

    Well my schedule works according to publishing up to 26 books before end 2018. Of course, that’s insane, though, so I’m thinking 10 to 13 (so about 2 a year) will be more possible.

    We’ll see, though. I’m putting quality ahead of quantity, so if I take longer, I take longer.

    Enjoy your time with your husband!

    And so sorry to hear about your grandmother.

    • says

      Quality over quantity is what I like to hear 😉 Your schedule always motivates me, Misha. I don’t know how you do it!!

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