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The Next New Book

Saralyn Richard is the author of the Detective Parrott series and two thrillers. You can find out more about her on her website,, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here.

Now that I have six published books to my name, I’ve noticed a few things about the way things roll in the publishing industry. First, the public’s appetite for new books is hearty. Everyone rushes to pre-order an upcoming novel from a favorite author, sight unseen. Readers want to be the first to read, discuss, and review new books, comparable to movie-goers who will stand in long lines in order to see a popular movie on opening night.

Galveston Author Saralyn Richard

Do authors, agents, publishers, publicists, and booksellers appreciate this clamoring for new books? Of course! Early sales and reviews are important in giving a book its legs, and the more concentrated the sales are at the beginning, the better chance the book has at best sellerdom, however that may be measured.

The downside arises in cases where the initial rush isn’t sustainable, and, after a few weeks or months, the sales begin to fall off. Then, the delighted early readers begin putting on the pressure for the next book to come out.

Do authors, agents, publishers, publicists, and booksellers appreciate this reader loyalty? Absolutely! There is nothing more gratifying than a satisfied reader who comes back for more. That reader will provide the word of mouth that helps grow an audience for the author’s books—a treasure that money can’t buy.

The downside arises when the demand for more books exceeds the ability of the author to write and the publisher to put out another quality manuscript fast enough. I’ve had to smile on several occasions when I’ve spent a year or two working on a novel, and come launch day a precious reader purchases and reads the book in twenty-four hours’ time, and sends me a comment, “Ready for the next one!”

Even as I was writing this blogpost, someone texted me, “When is your next book coming out?” She was disappointed when I said, “By the end of the year.” I hate disappointing readers (and agents and publishers and publicists, and booksellers), but I also don’t want to be pressured into writing fast over writing well.

Brooding over this problem, I researched several well-know mystery authors to see how many books each one puts out in a year. Agatha Christie published two to three books per year. Rex Stout, one. David Baldacci, two. Sara Paretsky publishes one book every two years, and Michael Connelly has published thirty-eight books in thirty years.

I’m sure you know who the most prolific mystery writer in the world is—James Patterson. He’s written more than two hundred books with more than a hundred-fourteen making it to the New York Times bestseller list, and sixty-seven of them reaching the number one spot. Patterson has the distinction of having written more books than anyone else, ever. His books have sold more than two-hundred-thirty million copies, and counting.

I’m not here to judge any other writer’s quantity vs. quality of writing, or any devoted reader’s responses to new books. What I do want to do is make sure each of my books is the best I can make it before it reaches the bookshelves. As an author and as a reader, I can’t ask for anything more.

How about you? Are you a new book junkie? Do you finish a book and immediately want more?

Saralyn Richard

Saralyn Richard is the author of Naughty Nana, Murder in the One Percent, and A Palette for Love and Murder. You can find out more about her on her website,, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. GP Gottlieb
    GP Gottlieb

    Six books is still something! The Pattersons of the world (over 200 books written!) are enviable, but it quantity as valuable as quality?

  2. joyribar

    Your post has tamped down my anxiety about producing on a fixed schedule – well, a little bit. I love when readers are anxiously waiting for the next book, but the pressure, yikes! I’m the antithesis of a new book junkie. I sometimes wonder if I live in a cave because I’ll hear about a book that’s three or more years old, find out it’s wildly popular, and finally decide to add it to my pile. Maybe there’s something wrong with me? (Smiling)

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      I’m a little like you, Joy. I’ll let someone else “taste” it first! 🙂

  3. Christine DeSmet
    Christine DeSmet

    Some writers write one book and that’s a triumph and enough. And there is much to admire about those who choose to write 150 or 200 romance books or suspense books or whatever and we should support them. Quantity is as valuable as quality for some readers who love those authors and their series of books. Some writers have stories pouring out of them; more power to them and I congratulate them. They are wonders. Each of us is a different writer and reader. Onward we go writing one story at a time and loving the experience and expression of our art. Your books are wonderful, written one at a time for one reader at a time and more readers and more. Congratulations on writing six wonderful novels!

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    Margaret Mizushima

    Great post, Saralyn! Before I started writing under contract, I waited for my favorite authors’ new books as soon as I read their latest. But now, I’m lucky to get enough time to read those same authors and sometimes months go by after a new release until the new title rises in my TBR pile. Now…the good news is that nowadays I’m reading a wider variety of authors than I ever did before and enjoying many more new works!

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      My heart is with you, Margaret. That’s a good topic for another day, balancing reading and writing schedules!

  5. Laurie Buchanan
    Laurie Buchanan

    Saralyn — I resonate with what you said:

    “What I do want to do is make sure each of my books is the best I can make it before it reaches the bookshelves. As an author and as a reader, I can’t ask for anything more.”

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      I know that about you, Laurie. We are cut from the same cloth in that way.

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    Laurie’s Story

    I’m OCD, so my ability to churn out books is hampered by a ceaseless pursuit toward perfection. Maybe a good thing. Maybe not. My father, a dentist with the same OVD-driven attitude, was much beloved by his patients because they knew his mania kept them in good “hands.” Thanks for provoking the memory, Saralyn!

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      Yes, there is that perfection aspect, too. I’m usually driven toward perfection, but I learned when I was teaching journalism that there’s no such thing as a perfect newspaper, and there’s no such thing as a perfect book, either. I wish I’d had your dad as my dentist, though.

  7. Sherrill Joseph
    Sherrill Joseph

    Thanks, Saralyn. I’m far behind reading current-day books. Those TBRs often collect dust on my nightstand. I prefer reading (or rereading) a classic from the nineteenth century (my faves–they always top the other TBRs); or, I’m suddenly becoming a reader-reviewer for a writing friend to honor or request reciprocity. I’m trying to release one new book of high quality per year in my series for four reasons: 1) kids’ reading tastes change quickly, 2) they age out of my books in four to five years, 3) I prefer quality over quantity, and 4) if I’m going to finish my series (twenty-six books total), I need to release at least one quality book a year to finish the other twenty-one before shuffling off the planet. That’s my goal, anyway. May the Force agree with me.

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      Wishing you twenty-six fabulous books and the years to produce them (plus more to enjoy your legacy).

  8. Sheila Lowe
    Sheila Lowe

    Well, Patterson has a whole team of ‘students’ who help him pump out those books. It takes me 9 mos-year to write fiction and a few weeks to write a nonfiction book. I was shocked when I finished my recent memoir in 27 days!!!
    As a reader, I’m okay with waiting for a favorite author, as long as I have other favorite authors to rotate in the meantime 🙂

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    Interesting how some books pour out of us. I think that memoir was fueled by something magical.

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    Avanti Centrae

    Great post. Patterson often uses co-writers. I’ve considered that approach, but prefer to write alone, at least for now 🙂 As a reader, I prefer quality over quantiy.

  11. Tracey Phillips
    Tracey Phillips

    Interesting statistics, Saralyn. There are so many ways to do it, aren’t there? As much as I would love to crank out one book a year, sometimes that isn’t possible. I prefer to produce the best possible book, too. And as for reading, I’m not so much a fan girl as driven by stories. There are times I preorder books by authors I love, and then times those books sit on my bookshelf for months. However, as a writer, I read more than I ever did, soaking up one to 2 books a week! And I can’t wait for your next book.

  12. Sharon Lynn
    Sharon Lynn

    I KNOW how hard it is to write a book but I am exactly that fan who reads the book in 1 day and wants the next one. Sometimes I’ll read a whole series from book one onward to kill time before the next one is out.

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      That’s a devoted reader, Sharon! Any author would be lucky to have you as a fan!

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    Ellen Collier

    Wow, quite an accomplishment. Good luck on the current ms. I purposely left the last book in my Jazz Age series open and many readers want a resolution or conclusion, but I’d rather they use their imagination…

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    Thanks for commenting, Ellen. It’s fun sharing this writer adventure with you.

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