7 Secrets to Writing More Books
Writers who really win at self-publishing never rest their careers on a single book. Even one book per year won’t land you a full-time job as an indie author, and one of the few actual patterns among successful authors is the fact that they always have something new coming out.
This doesn’t mean they all write a book per month, but they do publish frequently and on a regular basis. If it takes you years to work through a single book, this can be a deal-breaker if you want writing to be your full job—and unfortunately, not everyone has an easy fix. Many of the best writers in history took time with their books, and it paid out, but not as a high-paying job on a first book.
If you want to commit to a competitive publishing schedule that will land you a loyal following and active career, you’ll have to learn how to write more books faster. How can you do that?
1. Work on your typing speed.
There are a number of different websites and applications to help you increase your typing speed, but the simplest way I’ve found is to time yourself in sprints as you type—preferably with a reward for hitting higher speeds. By working on improving your overall typing speed, the writing itself won’t hold your ideas back as much, leaving you free to spend more time either planning and improving the quality of your books, or writing more books.
Not satisfied with faster typing? Many authors prefer to dictate their novels instead of typing them out. Dictation software is easy to come by and grows more accurate the more you use it. This means that with an average speaking speed of about 150 words per minute, you can finish your books in a matter of weeks instead of months.
2. Write in a series.
Writing in series is often recommended from a marketing standpoint, in that if readers enjoy one book, they’ll enjoy the others as well. But have you ever thought about how it affects things from a marketing standpoint?
Writing in series allows you to do your world creation and character building once, in the beginning. Then you can use and build on what you already have to develop a string of sequels that will all tie into your original material. This makes it much easier to skip from book to book while spending less time between books.
3. Focus on essentials.
If you only want to write a handful of books over your career, you’re welcome to spend your time ironing out every detail and perfecting every aspect of your novels before release. But if you’re focusing on quantity, you need to save your time to work on the most critical parts of your book and letting the more trivial aspects go. For example, your sci-fi adventure doesn’t require you to understand the full engineering behind your ship’s warp drive—but it does require that you have characters readers can both relate to and look up to.
This kind of writing efficiency might feel like cheating at first or overly relying on cliches, but it’s one of the most effective ways to ensure that you can reliably publish multiple books per year and consistently deliver books that your readers want to read.
Tip: How do you know what’s most important for your subgenre? By reading it, especially current self-published bestsellers!
4. Set goals and track your progress.
If you don’t know what your goals are, you’ll have a hard time reaching them.
When you’re trying to get off the ground as a self-published writer, you’re the only one responsible for what you put out. You have to manage your own quality control and keep up your own pacing consistently. This means you have to track your progress.
It’s okay if you don’t know where you stand in terms of book production. Start by timing how long it takes to write a draft, and use that as a metric for future books (though the more familiar you are with your writing, the faster your drafting will naturally become).
Be sure to review your goals and tracking regularly to see what you can improve and what needs to be adjusted.
5. Write every day.
Some writers will write over five thousand words per day to keep up with the demands of publishing full time, but you can decide how far you want to take that. Starting out, a dedicated practice of even a few hundred words per day can amplify your progress and keep you moving forward even during creative dry spells.
It’s good to allow for some flexibility in your commitment, but decide what counts beforehand. Holidays, sick days, emergencies, and vacations should all factor into your daily writing.
6. Meet prolific writers.
There’s a saying that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, and to an extent, it’s true. This is a good time to meet writers who share your goals and your dedication. If you surround yourself with people who are already successful, you’ll adopt their habits and attitudes and learn how to apply it to your own writing life.
This can mean some extra digging online, and it might take a while to find the perfect community. One good way to start is to make a list of successful self-published authors in your genre and follow them around online until you can find out where their own writing groups are located.
7. Avoid burnout.
Burnout isn’t often talked about in writing circles. When you start out, you’re more likely to face the opposite problem and have trouble getting motivated when the muse doesn’t show up for work. Unfortunately, once you learn the secrets to writing often and writing a lot, it’s easy to fall into the trap of forcing yourself to do more than you should.
Your time is important, and there’s more to life than writing and publishing books. If you feel like you’re having a hard time managing a prolific schedule or like your writing is taking you away from things that you love in life, take a break and decide what changes you can make. Writing is a job and comes with its own obligations, but it shouldn’t take over your life.
What are your tips for writing more? Please share your own words of wisdom in the comments below or join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction authors for further discussion.