16 April 2013

Piling on the Projects

So, how many projects should a writer take on at one time? A writer could write on a project until it's completely finished, and then move on to the next project. But how long will it take to complete? If it takes you three years to write and finish a novel, that's a lot of time between releases. Readers forget, publishing trends change, and what you may have been successful with back then may not work now.

But what if you work multiple projects...how many can you write on at once, and still expect to complete in a timely fashion? On the flip side, if you can finish projects on a staggered schedule, you can release intermediate projects while readers wait for your next novel.

As an example, my first novella Heroes Die Young came out in 2008, after being accepted the year before. In that year between signing the contract and release, I began writing short stories and getting them published. In the span of that year, I had two short stories published in Ray Gun Revival, giving readers a glimpse of what they'd see with the upcoming novella.

But at the same time, I was also finishing up my second novel Friends in Deed. That one was accepted and then published in 2010. In the meantime, I continued writing short stories, and had several of them published along the way. At the same time, I was also working on two other projects, my novella Seeker and my novel The Cure. And somewhere in there, I also started and finished the third Aston novel Death Brings Victory.

And so on and so forth...I always have at least two or three projects going on at the same time. Currently, I'm working on the fourth Aston novel Resurrection, another novella Fallen, and a screenplay for Heroes Die Young. In my opinion, multiple projects at the same time are the only way to keep your brand fresh in the minds of readers and fans. If not, people will read your work, and most likely forget about you by the time you have another novel come out (assuming you can't write a complete novel from start to finish in the course of 3-6 months).

But what do all of you think?


  1. I think it's a focus thing too... If you can finish, say 4 novellas/novels in a year (say one every 3 months -- 1K a day for 90 days) you can still turn out several books a year without jumping between projects.

    I have tried doing several at once, and while I can plot/outline/world build other projects while writing on a single one, I find if I try to write more than one at a time, I lose focus of all projects.

    But that's just me.

  2. It's definitely a matter of focus, as well as motivation. Though maybe my issue as of late has been the fact that I keep switching from one project to another...?

  3. I have too many (mostly ideas and story starts, not true projects) so I think 3'ish is about right to keep the fires going. Good job.

  4. Only a good job if I get them finished. ;-)

  5. Sounds like good advice, though I have a hard time working on more than one at a time. I'm too slow!

  6. Well, one at a time seems to be more than I've been working on for this entire week. ;-)


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