So recently, I released the final three books of the Adventures on Brad in 3 week, rapid release fashion. Later on, I’ll do a bunch of posts showing sales, readthrough rates, etc. It’s actually fascinating since I can see the difference when you’ve got stuff like my German translations and my English work to compare together.
But I want to give AoB 9 (A Royal Ending) time to sell a little more before I write anything about the success (or lack of it) of finishing a series and rapid release patterns and all that jazz.
For now, I wanted to talk about the process of writing and holding back work and the reasoning behind it.
Book 7 finished quite early on in 2021, with the work ready to go relatively soon after the start of the year. By the time I had book 9 done, it was middle of the year I believe, which left a ton of time to get the book released.
However, one of the reasons I decided to hold off on releasing book 7 was because I wanted to test the rapid release strategy. Since I had tight deadlines throughout the year for the rest of my works, I was not certain I could finish book 9 in time to really settle for a mid-year release.
So I planned for the end of the year for everything. I’d also planned to have the audiobooks done at the same time, but due to some miscommunication, it got delayed.
The Advantages of Holding Back
However, writing and holding the books back did leave me with a few major benefits.
The first and biggest – I could get the translations done and ready so that we could simultaneously release English and German editions. That was rather cool to see happening and one of the things I loved seeing done.
Hopefully, in the future, I’ll be able to do the same with things like A Thousand Li and the like, where I finish the book early and then simultaneous release into German. I probably won’t do that for new series though, due to the cost and success factor being unknown.
It also meant we had a ton of time to get things like the paperback ready for the works and, if we had done this right, we could have gotten audiobooks ready too. Sadly, that didn’t happen, but something I’m hoping will be true in the future for things like ATL.
Another major benefit though was the lack of worry about editing and proofing. I could, literally, send it off to the editor and not worry about when they got it done and when it got back to me. I had all the time in the world to edit and finish the work, since I was months ahead.
Disadvantages of Holding Books Back
As much of a benefit there is in production schedules, it can also mean things can slip your mind because you keep thinking you have a ton of time. In this case, the audiobooks which didn’t get done for simultaneous release.
On top of that, you also have the negative of opportunity cost of sales that could have been made on previous books if you released earlier. This, hopefully, is offset by the rapid release schedule and a higher readthrough rate, but I don’t have the numbers yet to know if that’s true.
Lastly, and this is more a problem on my end – but it also makes my release schedule super crowded. Between Nov – February, we have released (in English only!) 6 books. That’s a lot of books and a lot of work in a short time frame doing promotions, which can mean that your audience is a little promotion weary.
At the same time, while I have a release on March 1, I have nothing now scheduled for April (well, a tiny release) and no new work in May. Because working with co-authors makes my release schedule a little hectic at times and unknown, it’s hard to create a ‘proper’ schedule, meaning that sometimes, things get tossed aside or pushed back.
Or you just have a lot of work released all at once.
I do like having work held back to some extent just because it makes the production and writing schedule a little easier on me. While the promotional / marketing schedule gets messed up, that is easier to manage than multiple suppliers (narrators, editors, cover design).
It’s why I’m probably going to start getting more work done ahead of time and released on Patreon first by a long, long shot and then only publicly 6 months or so later. However, I have to build up that backlog which is going to mean fewer releases in the short-term in 2022.
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