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Indie Author Success Strategy: Write a Ton of Books!

January 17, 2019

(image via wikimedia)

Every independent author knows it’s almost impossible to make a living off of writing by itself.  An author has to do more than write quality content or promote books on social media.  A successful author has to do something that stands out from all the other struggling authors.  Some authors use a group of allies to sell books.  Some act crazy to stand out.

And in this case, an author simply writes a ton of books… literally.

Last month a publishing website put out an article called Helping Indie Authors Help Themselves.  It sounded nice, an indie author writing his own books, promoting them on social media, and then reaching out to other indie authors with an indie publishing company.  The publishing website’s article focused on how the indie author formed his own publishing company to help other indie authors.

If you don’t look any deeper than that, it seems like a heart-warming indie author success story.  When I did my own research, however, (that’s often a mistake), I found a list of all the author’s books.

Ummm….

This guy has written over a hundred books in three years!

It’s tough even to tell how many books this author actually writes because he’s pulled a James Patterson and is coauthoring a bunch.   Every book that I’ve checked (I didn’t check them all: I’m a blogger who writes for free) has his name on it.  It seems like he writes two books a month himself and puts his name on several others.   I think he has written (or published) more books than I’ve read in the last three years.

There’s no way anybody can write that many books and have an acceptable quality of writing.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve always thought that quality of writing gave some indication about how serious an author is.  Here are the first two sentences from a random book I chose ( Karma Is A Bitch: An Urban Fantasy Action Adventure (The Unbelievable Mr. Brownstone Book 12)by Michael Anderle) with a bunch of five-star Amazon reviews:

The chaos entity who went by He Who Hunts floated in a darkened chamber surrounded by glowing windows in the air, each a magical screen relaying images and sensations from the Brownstone team’s assault on the Council base.  He watched as summoned monsters and wizards fell to bullets, grenades, rockets, and even swords.

I admit, this isn’t my genre anymore, so I’m not the best judge of how pedestrian this opener is.  About 20 years ago, this might have appealed to me.  Maybe fans of urban fantasy adventure don’t have any problems with this kind of writing, but I’m not going to dissect the sentences as I sometimes do.  When an author writes at least two books a month (maybe more), a reader might be lucky all the words are spelled correctly.

The publishing website treated this author as a success story but barely mentioned how this author blitzed the market with a bunch of cheap and (probably) low quality books.  They didn’t want to delve into that?  Am I the only writer who sees this as a bad faith writing practice?  I know some writers are highly motivated to be successful, but as a reader, I don’t trust writers who put out more than one book a year.

I have to be careful not to be too critical of independent authors because it can come across as sour grapes.  I’m sincerely interested on how some authors succeed, but I don’t like shadiness either.  Writing so many books so quickly with so many five-star reviews strikes me as odd.

Maybe I’m too quick to react so negatively.  You can easily find sloppy writing in a bunch of bestselling novels.  If bestselling authors can get away with sloppy writing, then why shouldn’t an indie author?

Maybe I should respect a guy who cranks out that much writing.  At least the indie author is taking his/her own financial risk.  It’s tough making it as an indie author.  If co-authoring over a hundred books in three years is what it takes, then more power to that highly motivated indie author.

At the very least, I need to step up my game.  I haven’t self-published an ebook since 2015.  I need to quit blogging and publish some stuff!

*****

What do you think?  How many books can an author publish each year before you start getting suspicious?  Is this a writing success story, or is this a publishing scam?

13 Comments
  1. The proof is in the pudding. Or in the editing! Isaac Asimov must’ve written several per year. I’ve written three, about ten years for each. Enough for me! Good luck!

  2. I wonder how many of these are the same book with different titles 🤔🤔??

    I for one strive to publish a book a year, and as a working classed mother with two youngsters that’s ROUGH! I’ll be publishing four in 2019, but only because two are merely novellas, and the other two have been finished for a couple years. I didnt publish any at all in 2018, as I was working on too many edits and revisions (all four lol). Though four books may seem like a lot to me for one year, they’ve been a long time in the making.

    I cant even imagine a couple a month that’s insane!! I’m glad to have read this post! Thanks for calling him out, I say scam scam scam!

    • I’m leaning toward voting “scam” too, but there’s a little more I’d like to know (but don’t care enough to find out. I have a job and my own stuff to read and write).

      I’ve only read a few pages of one random novel (it’s not my genre), and I don’t know how much the other authors do. Either way, that’s a LOT of books in three years.

  3. For a while I was writing 3 or 4 a year with the same absolute lack of “success” as when I was writing fewer 🙂

    • It’s tempting to do that,(especially when we keep hearing these stories of authors flooding the market with books), but I don’t think it’s sustainable.

  4. I know there are sites like Taskrabbit where you can hire people to do things for a few dollars. Maybe this indie author outsourced some of his writing there.

  5. I totally agree with u.. a serious article of 20 pages would take weeks with me to write it. I did say a serious article.. I think an author needs more than a year to write a good book

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