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June 09, 2008



A new book every year, and it doesn't even have to be any good. Hey, where do I sign up?

Finn Harvor

'Not that writers are being explicitly harassed, but costly advance marketing plans are increasingly tied into the expectation that the most profitable authors will have a new book out at roughly the same time each year. In today's intensely competitive marketplace, readers will turn to another author if a writer fails to come through at the usual time, which could cost a publisher big bucks."

I suppose the key phrase here is "advance marketing plans", which in turn is linked to the advances these writers command. The general trend of the publishing industry toward something that resembles a movie-studio model is instinctively upsetting; aren't people -- even bestseller-y types -- writing in part to keep command of their own voice? And isn't part of having one's own voice being permitted enough time for each work to mature at its own pace? However, if big-buck authors want big-buck advances, I suppose they have a choice insofar as they *can* publish according to their own schedule ... but without the seven figure deals.

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