What About the Writing? New York Times on Pushing Writers to Produce

28 May

Recently, the New York Times featured an article by Julie Bosman, “Writer’s Cramp: In the E-Reader Era, a Book a Year is Slacking,” that described new ramped-up expectations on 

writers.  Previous to the digital literary bonanza, a genre writer (romance, mystery, thriller) could whip up one book a year and keep her audience satiated.  These days, that amounts to hardly a snack.  In the interest of satisfying impatient readers habituated to instant gratification, as well as nervous publishers who want greater exposure for their authors, Bosman reports, “authors are now pulling the literary equivalent of a double shift, churning out short stories, novellas or even an extra full-length book each year.” 

In order to keep up with the increase in demand, authors have found various ways to assist their productivity.  There’s the nose-to-the-grindstone approach of author Scottoline, who endures a self-imposed, grueling 2,000 words a day schedule, keeping her busy from morning to late night.  Then there’s the clever marketing approach of writing a short story directly to ebook and selling it for 99 cents, with the hope of enticing readers to fork over $15 or, better yet, $25 for a hardcover novel released shortly thereafter.  And finally there’s the hire-another-writer approach–popular author James Patterson produced 12 books last year, with the assistance of co-authors.  British thriller writer Lee Child comments, “it seems like we’re all running faster to stay in the same place.”  

Though Fuze shares in the excitement of the digital age, we have to ask ourselves, what’s happening to the quality of the writing?  Under such pressure, it doesn’t seem possible for writers to maintain the same caliber of craft, which for us is the main point of it all.  At Fuze, we prioritize skillful storytelling at the expense of a time line.  We work hard to get our writers into the public eye, but we don’t shackle them with creativity-draining demands.  Steve Berry, thriller writer, said it best when discussing the new writing expectations:  “It does sap away some of your energy. You don’t ever want to get into a situation where your worth is being judged by the amount of your productivity.”

Read the entire New York Times article.

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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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