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On 9/13 Lorraine Wilke published an essay on The Huffington Post about quantity vs. quality in independent publishing called “Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year.” The title pretty much summarizes what she has to say.

There are folks out there who recommend to independent authors that the best way to make money through your writing is to be prolific. The reason for this is that independent authors don’t have the publicity and distribution network big publishers have. You have to write enough to establish a definite brand for yourself and to keep afloat in the flood of content that’s now available at Amazon, for example. This rate sacrifices some in quality, of course, especially on the editing and revision side, but if you look at benefit vs. costs, you can find a balance that suits your fans while costing you the least in time and money. This business plan works for some authors, but Wilke is complaining about the decline in quality this causes.

This is an interesting article, falling as it does on the heels of the Hugo kerfluffle. Quality is one of the issues discussed there, as the Sad/Rabid Puppies have been complaining about the Hugo’s becoming literary awards and leaving behind the average writer who is only aiming at satisfying his or her fans and making a living at it. There’s been something of a firestorm in the comments section of Wilke’s essay, too, as various independent authors have checked in with their opinions. One writer notes she publishes 10 novels a year. This kind of productivity isn’t really anything new. Stephen King, for example, is known for being a very fast writer. Pulp mystery writer Mickey Spillane could reportedly write a novel in two days. Both these writers had editors to clean up after them, of course, which is where the current difference lies.

I have to say I’m with Wilke to a point. I’m not expecting to read a Pulitzer Prize winner every time out, but I do appreciate it when authors spend some time or money on getting their manuscripts edited. All books have an error or two, but I’m unfortunately a little OCD about grammar. Where are my meds?

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