We've all heard the words, "publish or perish," when it comes to academic careers, but what about an independent writer? After all, you have to publish to get readership, and you have to keep publishing if you want to continue to have readers. So, how often do you need to publish a book to keep your writing career alive?
Well, it depends. (Naturally.) Let's look at some advice others give.
Why Publishing Regularly is Important
Too often authors write one book and expect it to sell well. And why shouldn't they? They've been told it's an excellent book, or maybe they've published the book and it's done well, only to fall off the radar a month or two later. The problem that most authors face is that their book becomes stale in the eyes of the readers. Sure, there are a lot of readers who haven't discovered your books, but the bellwethers of the particular genre have moved on, which means you need to be ready with another book.
Publishing Once a Year or Bi-Annually?
In most cases when it comes to fiction, it's important to publish at least once a year, although many authors think that once every six months is ideal. This gives you enough time to write a book, get it edited and through production so that the book is as good as it possibly can be. The shorter the time frame, the less chance your readers will forget you and move onto the next rising star.
Of course, it depends on the genre and the type of books you're writing. In nonfiction, it's crucial to publish when it makes the most sense. For example, if you've written a book about Christmas, publishing it in October makes sense so you can gear up for your Christmas sales. Regardless, after the big push, it's unlikely the book will continue its upward trend for more than a few months. At that time, it's necessary to have another book release.
If you really want to build a readership and earn income, you need to join the Facebook group 20Booksto50K®. These people are committed to producing a large number of books (20 to be exact) in order to have an income of about $50,000 a year to retire someplace where cost of living is low but the quality is high. Many authors recommend writing books in a series and stockpiling them so that they can be released once a month for several months. It sounds extremely daunting, but their methodology is sound: choose a popular genre, write books in a series quickly, get them released once every month, (although many writers have opted for releases once a quarter, once every six months, or even once a year). Of course, it helps to be able to write about 50,000 words a month.
The main thing to keep in mind, if you want to be a career author, is to write consistently and publish consistently (monthly or annually). Don't let your readers forget who you are.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You