Thoughts On Building a Publishing Machine

Writing MachingI’ve been spending a lot of time at various forums for self-publishers recently. They are a wellspring of good advice and the success that a lot of these authors have achieved is both impressive and inspiring.

They almost make it seem easy.

One post over at the Kindle Boards discusses the process of using a mailing list to build sales.The author of the post gives away the secret recipe to her marketing: 1. Write a book. 2. Send a blast to your mailing list announcing the new release. 3. Encourage new readers to join your mailing list. 4. Repeat.

Easy right? Well there’s also the added factor that this author is writing a new book every two months or so.

Two months.

That is…I don’t know what that is. That’s six books a year. The idea of cranking out books at that pace just seems like lunacy to me. The perceived flaws I would see in each rushed book would absolutely break me. I don’t think I could do that. I know that much of my best work comes in the months after my first draft is finished. And I can only get through a first draft knowing that I can let mistakes slide because I’ll get them fixed during rewrites.

This is not to say anything negative about this author’s writing or her approach to publishing. She wanted to write books for a living, she started writing books, and she, unlike me, has met with success. She still feels she has more growing to do, but her numbers are impressive just as they are as far as I’m concerned.

My question, I guess, is do I fit into this world? It very much seems to me that more product, i.e. fiction, equals a larger audience. It’s when new fiction comes out that I get the biggest influx of new readers. But there’s no chance that I could write a book every two months. Hell I wouldn’t even want to do that if I could. I like writing slowly. I like what I create when I do write slowly. And I’m okay with the hit that my numbers take due to this.

My philosophy about all the new tools that technology has made available to writers has always been that it is all about choice. The larger markets, the ease of publication, the variety of platforms for distribution and the many new ways to build an audience, this means that there should be room for more types of authors and artists as a whole. And more and varied art reaching more people? That just sounds like a win to me.

But after seeing the pattern of most successful self-published authors wherein they turn themselves into book factories, I find myself wondering what my machine will look like when I figure it all out.

Am I building a similar machine to these authors, only at a slower pace?

Or am I going to have to build some whole new device?


  1. Perhaps short stories could serve much of the same purpose (building interest, maintaining engagement) without requiring the same sheer amount of time invested for equal quality? They’d also allow fleshing out side stories that aren’t enough to merit a full book.

    • I had given that some thought…actually I will be starting a new project soon which will hopefully produce some usable short fiction. More details on that to come later, though. 🙂