Releasing Books: The Rapider the Better
Waiting is boring. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to wait. I’m an impatient sod. Even in this world of instant downloads and streaming, there is always an inevitable wait for more. Somewhere.
You can binge two seasons of Stranger Things in 24 hours, but there’s another two years before the next season comes out. You can spend all year waiting for the release of a Marvel film, spend two hours gawping at the screen, only to be left aching for more after the cliffhanger ending or post-credits scene. Bands can spend years recording between albums. And books are no different, commonly released a year apart. In some cases, fans have to wait for three, five, even ten years.
In most cases, the delay is completely understandable. Few of us like it, but it’s a natural part of the process. Creativity takes time and effort. It is not a light switch. And no matter how fast you can write, film or record, it will always take more time to produce than it does to consume. Hands up, writers out there, if you’ve spent a year or two writing a book only to have a fan devour it in a single night, then email you a day later to ask about the next book? It’s heart-warming, but boy does it make you scrabble back to the writing desk.
The question is this: how do creatives work in a way that better satisfies the ravenous appetites of consumers? The moviegoers? The readers? Should we even try? These were the questions I asked myself a year and a half ago, when I first started to work on my new Chasing Graves trilogy. I decided that the answer was yes, something could be different, and that difference was a rapid release. Like the name suggests, it means multiple releases over a shorter period of time than is traditional. It means less waiting and more content to binge on. That sounded great to me, both as a reader and an author, especially as the story of Chasing Graves is quite closely linked between each book.
Look at what Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings. Instead of tackling the filming of each part individually as separate projects, he did it all as one project, compacting the filming into a shorter schedule. With the films completed in a batch, it left Jackson free to release on whatever schedule he wanted. That happened to be one release a year over three years, which for films of that epic-ness and scale is unusually fast. Most franchises see releases every two to three years.
A rapid release is not a brand new idea in the book world, although I believe it’s becoming steadily more popular. Fellow fantasy author RJ Barker, along with Orbit, released the entire Wounded Kingdom series between August. 2017 and August 2018. Indie author Phil Tucker recently did the same with his Euphoria Online trilogy, releasing over three months between August and October 2018. I was more than happy to get my claws on the books that quickly. Like I said – more fantasy, less waiting, maximum enjoyment. Big thumbs up from me as a reader.
So it was that I decided to give this rapid release malarkey a go. In 2017, I threw myself into the world of Chasing Graves. Instead of publishing each one as and when they were finished, I worked on all three books in the trilogy back to back.
I was bloody fun, I can tell you that. Focusing solely on the writing meant I could follow every little storyline to its end, exploring it fully before setting anything in stone. Or wet concrete, at least. I could hop back and forth across the entire timeline to tweak and poke, which meant I also found consistency easier to maintain. Everything was kept at the forefront of my brain, thanks to not taking breaks to edit and work on the polishing. As such, it took me about a year to finish the trilogy.
This approach also meant I could work on all the publishing at once, which is what the past few months have been dedicated to. This stage has been a lot more work, due to the fact I have three times the amount of covers, edits and uploads to organise. It’s been tough at many points, and stressful, but having a whole series waiting in the wings adds a layer of excitement that’s hard to describe, but I know it’s been a motivational sort. The ability to have the whole trilogy unleashed within just a few months makes all the extra work, brainpower, and swollen to-do lists worthwhile. I still can’t sit back and relax just yet, as there’s still plenty to do, but I can see the finish line, and it looks real comfy.
Overall, my hope is that this rapid release will be a satisfying approach for anyone who wants to read the Chasing Graves trilogy, and, like me, hates to wait. It’s been incredibly satisfying for me to attempt something new and challenging, and I can’t wait to see what it does for these books. I’m proud to say that as of December 7th, I lit the fuse and shot Chasing Graves out into the world like a porpoise from a cannon. The clock is now ticking on books two and three – Grim Solace and A Cold & Ruthless Dagger – and on that note, it’s back the writing cave I go!
Chasing Graves was released on December 7th, and is available to buy now. The sequels, Grim Solace and A Cold and Ruthless Dagger, will be released in early 2019.