How much time should an author allow between books when releasing a series of novels?
With the recent release of my contemporary romance novel, This Time, the first in a four book series, this question has been on my mind quite a bit lately. This Time was released on May 24th of this year and while it might sound premature to be considering this question, I’m actually starting to get the feeling I should have already released the second book in the series.
As I do with most things, I took a cerebral approach to answering this question. In other words, I took to the internet to see if there was anything that could help me. While I did find a few articles on the subject, none were what I would term as helpful. The opinions on the subject of when to release seems as varied as peoples’ tastes in books.
One person recommends waiting at least a year in between each book in order to build excitement, gain new readers and, of course, have time to polish the book. This is something J.K. Rowling did for her wildly successful Harry Potter series and while it worked well for her, I have some reservations about following that same path. A year seems like an awfully long time to make readers wait, something I can attest to from the personal experience of being an impatient reader.
In his article, 15 Steps to Sell your E-book Series, Noah Lukeman, of the Lukeman Literary Agency recommends that writers allow only a four week release time in between books. This will keep readers from losing interest in your books. Lukeman does acknowledge this can be a difficult timeline for writers to adhere to. No kidding! From a practical standpoint alone, I don’t know that I could have a book ready to publish every four weeks. Once a book is written it has to be edited and formatted and sent for cover design. These aren’t things I do on my own which means I’m on someone else’s timetable.
From a reader’s perspective, I personally don’t mind waiting for a book when I’m really enjoying the series. However, I will admit that I do get a bit frustrated when the author publishes the first few books in rapid succession and then makes readers wait months on end for the subsequent book which is often the last in the series. Being a writer, I can tell you that it probably isn’t the author’s intent to generate excitement by making readers wait for that last book. Instead, it’s safer to say one of two things has happened. The writer has either lost her inspiration for the series and that last book isn’t finished or the writer isn’t able to make time to write because life is getting in the way. Whatever the reason, as a reader nothing irks me more than being excited for a series and then having to wait forever to get that closure I need from the last book.
How much time should an author allow when releasing books in a series? I wish I could tell you. I guess I could tell you what I think, but it would only be my opinion. So, what do you think? Is there a reasonable amount of time that we could call an average that wouldn’t make you ask: I have to wait how long?