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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Conversations With Myself (& Hopefully You): Are Authors Rushing to Publish Too Quickly?


If you can believe it, this is my first "discussion" post. I've always wanted to do a discussion post but I never knew where to start and I could never think of a topic that other bloggers didn't already address brilliantly.  That being said, nothing is new and I'm sure that this topic has been discussed by someone, somewhere but recently I read the latest book by my favorite author and the entire time all I could think was:

ARE AUTHORS RUSHING TO PUBLISH TOO QUICKLY?

Let me break it down for you.  First of all, I love self-publishing.  I think there are some amazing authors out there that wouldn't otherwise be able to get their books out without self-publishing.  Some of my favorite books in the past five years have been self-published.  I discovered Colleen Hoover, Chelsea Cameron, Emily Snow, Jessica Park, Tarryn Fisher, Autumn Doughton, Jillian Dodd, Rosalind James, Tammara Webber, Tracey Garvis Graves, and Mary Whitney, all through their self-published works before any of them were signed to representation/traditional publishing houses. However, I have definitely noticed a change in books that were self-published three, four and five years ago versus many of the books coming out now (some even traditionally published).  

That is, I feel like authors are rushing to publish too quickly.  It's like this need for instant gratification (and we know this is tied to social media, the internet, etc.) means that an author has to constantly be publishing.  Whatever happened to having to wait a year or more for the next installment in your favorite series or a new book by one of your favorite authors?  Whatever happened to sometimes waiting multiple years and that being okay because the book that came at the end of that wait was amazing?  For example, I waited 11 years for Donna Tartt to publish another book after The Little Friend.  And guess what?  The Goldfinch was incomparable when it came out -- there is no way a book like that could be written in a year, or even two years, or maybe even in ten years.  It was well worth the wait -- it was worth whatever research, planning, plotting, revising and editing it had to undergo to be ready to publish.

Another example is my beloved Raven Boys -- The Raven King, the last book in the series (and the book I am most dying for and anticipating this year) was supposed to come out on September 29, 2015 (I mostly remember because that's my birthday).  Obviously, it didn't.  Sometime before that date, Maggie announced that book was being delayed and now we have a scheduled date of April 26, 2016, which very well might change.  I'm okay with this despite how much I want this book.  And you know why? Not only do I trust the author and respect her for saying, this book isn't ready, but editing/revising/time can only help.

I know that not every author has the luxury of time and resources to make every book perfect before it's published but I also don't think authors should feel rushed and pressured to release a new book every few months.  There needs to be a renewed focus on editing, on planning a series out (not just writing the first book and then seeing what happens or crowd-sourcing an ending), on developing a story and not just writing something as fast as you can in order to publish it/sell more copies.  I know this is all a bit art for art's sake but I'm writing this to traditional publishers as well as those who self publish.  Find someone to be objective about your work -- to truly edit it, not just fix a few typos (which also seem to exist in larger numbers than ever before!).  Nereyda recently wrote an honest and inspiring review of November 9 by Colleen Hoover and she wrote this sentiment with which I could not agree more: 
I also really wish authors would find beta readers that aren’t friends that can be truly objective…
If you don't know by now, this post is largely inspired by F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher. Tarryn is one of my favorite authors, if not my favorite author.  But this book made me question everything and ask whether authors are rushing to publish too quickly and the status of beta readers that are the author's best friends.  Don't get me wrong, the book wasn't bad but it wasn't up to par, in my opinion.  It could have been SO much better with more time, more editing, and someone being constructive.  When we are forced to sit on our hands (or on a book), new things occur to us, we may re-phrase something that is pivotal or change an entire scene -- room and space and time from writing is a good thing and, in my opinion, ultimately produce better results.

Lastly, my kingdom for well-developed companion series if you're going to write them.  Not every single person in a book needs their own book -- have a reason for the companion series to exist!  There, I said it.  I find that the ever growing number of companion series out there today is one of the reasons for this constant influx of books being published way too quickly -- so and so needs their own book and it has to come out in less than six months in order to remind people of the success of the first book.  There are certain authors that have become exponentially popular based on this theory alone and I think their work suffers for it.

So, have you noticed a change in the quality of books lately?  Are things being published too quickly?  Would you be okay waiting for a book for longer than a few months, even if it was one that you really, really wanted to read?

LET'S DISCUSS!  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

39 comments:

  1. I have definitely noticed a change in publishing, more so since I started my blog last year. I remember waiting years for books when I was younger. Now, I'm seeing whole trilogy's being released in the space of a year and I do wonder how authors are pulling this off. And I do agree that although books are still good, they aren't as brilliant as they could be.

    I also think that readers may be becoming far to demanding for new books by authors. Just look at George RR Martin. He's been writing his new book for years and now the deadline has been pushed back and everyone is losing their heads. Those books are massive! And the world building is amazing. No wonder it's taking him years!

    Brilliant discussion post! I'm hoping to do my first one soon too.

    Lauren @ My Expanding Bookshelf

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    1. Agree with you completely about readers being more demanding -- I think we are getting to used to getting anything we want instantaneously when art needs time! I saw an article about George RR Martin and delaying his latest book and people being upset! You would think they would want him to be happy/satisfied and wait for him to get there!!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!!!!!

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  2. Oh how I love this post!! I have noticed that certain authors get more than one book published in a year. Sometimes more than 2! I think it is crazy. I can totally wait so these books are even better. And the companion novels. Sometimes I like them Sometimes I feel the series is the same book with different character names. I get so sick of them. On a somewhat unrelated note, I really need to read another Donna Tartt book! I loved The Goldfinch!

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    1. I so know what you mean about companion series when every single book seems the same! Ugh, so frustrating! Have you read The Secret History by Donna Tartt? That is my all time favorite book!

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  3. I agree with you, Eva. There are definitely some authors who get rushed to release their books and you can tell. I've especially noticed this with indie/NA authors. I think their fanbases are a little more intense too which is why I think they feel a lot more pressure to release books faster. I've heard about the latest Tarryn Fisher not being the greatest, so you're definitely not alone in that assessment.
    Great post, Eva!

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    1. I can totally understand having a crazy fanbase and feeling the pressure but it sucks for those of us who want a good book! I hated to name names but I would feel disingenuous if I didn't talk about what sparked this post!

      Thanks for reading, Nick!!

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  4. I am SO glad that I stumbled upon your post. You speak from my heart. All you said is everything what I had on my mind last year.
    I believe that some talented authors do publish books too quickly just to "sell and be popular" and their novels suffer because of it. They do not put enough time and thoughts into it and their books start to resemble each other too much and they provide nothing memorable but pointless stories with plot holes. Sadly, it is reason why I had to say goodbye to couple of my favorite authors because I just could not like or enjoy their books anymore.
    I am not going to name anyone but I USED TO beta read for some authors whom I considered friends. But I quickly learned that they do not seek constructive criticism but they need a "fanclub"... So I believe that you and Nereyda are 100% right about your wish that authors should find beta readers that aren’t friends that can be truly objective.
    Once again, thanks for writing this post, I love it!

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    1. I completely agree with you about having to drop some authors because of the downturn in their books. It makes me sad but it made me more frustrated to read a book I knew could be better. That is SO interesting that you were a beta reader! Very cool but how crappy that they didn't want constructive criticism!

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!!

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  5. I've wondered the same thing about some of the published works I've read, particularly from self-published authors, and tend to agree with you on a lot of your points. I've noticed a lot of context errors, inconsistencies, and grammatical errors in both traditionally and self-published books, sadly. I stopped reading a lot of self-published authors, with exception to a select few, because the books were coming so fast with so many spin-offs for every character in a book, yet the originality was gone with the character names changed to protect the innocent, and quality was sub-par at best. Some authors are able to publish a book a month, and that's great for them if the work is good, but I prefer to wait a year or more, if necessary, and receive a polished product. Beta readers can certainly be "yes" men or "yes" women and biased, which in turn puts them in the category of not performing in their job and would be fired if in another type of business. I've also wondered if proof-reading exists anymore with editors and in publishing houses. I don't and have never beta read but did offer some constructive criticism for an author's excerpt that was privately sent to me for my opinion. My opinion was not received well at all, despite the fact that she told me another author had given her the same criticism. The book was published anyway, I reviewed it honestly, and I was asked by the author to change my review. That was a turning point with me in reading self-published works. In fairness, I have read about three self-pubbed authors whose ARCs are better quality all around than most others' final publications; it's very telling that those authors publish about one book a year. This is a great first discussion post. I do hope you will do more.

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    1. Yes, I completely agree with the books coming out so far and so many spin-offs -- they lack originality and quality!

      Wow, you were asked to change your review? That is crazy!

      Thank you for reading Kathy!!

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  6. I agree with pushing to publish every year being a bad thing. I can wait a long time for a book, I have in the past and I will in the future. Some things can't (and probably shouldn't) be rushed. Although, some authors can pump out books very quickly doesn't mean they are wrong. You have to have a great crew editing and willing to tell you to change things. Great topic!

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    1. Yes, I didn't want to make a blanket statement about all self-pubbed books and/or authors that write super quick and release quickly but just a general note that I've noticed a LOT more lately!

      Thank you for reading and commenting, I love to hear everyone's opinion on this topic!!

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  7. Hmmm... you know, you're totally right. I'm known for hating the wait between books, I must admit. That's why I don't read many series... I tend to forget what happened in the book by the time the second is released. So instead, I wait and binge them once they're all out. But that's just my opinion. Really, that's more based off my bad memory than anything else. But you're 100% right. Sometimes (and I'm sure most of the time) the wait between books is what makes them that incredible. Authors need time to write these masterpieces, and they shouldn't feel rushed. I really enjoyed F*ck Love myself, but I've only ever read Mud Vein by her, so maybe I don't have enough to compare it to? I can definitely understand how you could feel frustrated knowing that she's capable of so much better if only she hadn't felt rushed.

    Such a great post, Eva! :)

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    1. Hey Lisa, thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Like TV, I am starting to love bingeing on a series when it's finished rather than waiting so I get that impatience and worry about not remembering!

      I didn't dislike F*ck Love, and I know I had crazy expectations, but it did seem a bit phoned in/rushed to me.

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  8. I agree with a lot of things you've commented on here. I'm particularly reminded of the situation with George R.R. Martin's recent announcement that he hasn't finished the latest A Song of Ice and Fire book, and the really angry/disappointed responses he got. Authors are under so much pressure anyway, and a lot of them have day jobs and families, that anyone pressuring them to write faster (and writing itself takes a long time anyway) seems a little cruel to me.

    But then, I'm also a writer, and I might be biased in my wishful thinking ;)

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    1. I agree that it is cruel -- I feel bad for the backlash he got when he's just trying to produce the best book he can for his fans! Think about great/epic series that have ended -- do you remember if you had to wait an extra year for the book to come out or do you remember how good that book was when it came out?

      Thank you for reading and commenting!!

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  9. Oh gosh I definitely get this feeling through a lot of books. I feel like this is as bad as movies cranking out a sequel year after year far after the prime. I can't imagine having to be pressured to release books that fast because of how long publishers want to ride on the hype. It doesn't matter how well you want it to be. You have to SELL SELL SELL. It sucks. Really.

    When I want to sit down and write a book I do two things. I a) plot it out chapter by chapter scene by scene sometimes or b) just sit down and write, figure things out along the way but really take my time on it. I can't do either of those if people are constantly pressuring me to crank out a new book every year or even every couple of years. This book is my baby and I'll raise it right.

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    1. Definitely a ton of pressure to sell in order to be able to keep writing so I do get it but it's disheartening for those of us spending our money on books all the time only to be disappointed.

      I love you comparing your book to a baby -- so true!

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  10. Eva, you said some great things. Like Lucia said, I used to beta read for some authors as well (I don't beta read at all anymore). It was very apparent that they didn't want constructive feedback or improvement, they just wanted a confidence boost and for someone to tell them that it was great. Others have told me they want me to tear it apart and when I gave them things I didn't like, it was WWIII. I never expected authors to change their MS based on my feedback but I was always of the mind that you don't ask for it if you're not going to thoughtfully consider it.

    I think it's fine if authors' friends beta read for them, BUT ONLY IF THEY CAN BE OBJECTIVE and NOT BIASED. More often than not, that's not possible. Friends don't seem to be able and/or willing to go balls to the wall and be frank and honest with their friends. I know I have the ability to be but it has gotten me in some sticky situations, which is why I don't beta read at all. I liked beta reading and whole process for the same reason I like reviewing books—I like analyzing books and finding what works and what doesn't work.

    I have a discussion post that I've been writing on and off for about 2 months. I don't know if I'll every post it but I have said many of the same things you've addressed in this one. Great post, Eva!

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    1. Thank you Megan! I didn't know you also were a beta reader! I could see where that would be a thankless position to be in, and especially frustrating when you are trying to make a book better. This thing is also being perpetuated it seems but those bloggers/beta readers that always give good reviews getting ARCs.

      I'd love to read your post when it's published or even if it's not!

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  11. Nick sent me this post yesterday morning, which I read on my phone (then immediately sent to Megan) but now I finally have time to comment. Such an awesome post Eva!
    I'm glad to hear your thoughts on this book (not in a hater kind of way) but after hering this and reading Megans review (and knowing you guys are such big fans of her books and I can always count on you two to be honest) I know this book in't for me.

    Sadly, I think some authors have gotten to the point where even publishers cant be objective, much less beta readers. I would be super interested for these beta readers to beta read books where the author is anonymous, then we may REALLY get their true opinion.

    I've given up on so many authors (and bloggers) because of this.

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    1. I hope you don't mind me quoting you! ☺ I really was not trying to be a hater at all -- but I felt like it would be disingenuous not to talk about the book that sparked my thoughts. It's so hard when it's an author you love! But maybe that's why I expect more!!

      I didn't even think about bloggers but you are so right -- there are a lot whose opinion I no longer trust because every book by certain authors is a five star read, no matter what! UGH!

      Thanks for commenting, I always appreciate your opinion!! Going to be emailing you shortly!!

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  12. Awesome discussion! (if this is your first then clearly your brain's doing something right)

    I've never really thought about it, but I think you're right. And you bring up a good point about all the companion books as well - a lot of it's just commercial, which is fine and all, but having a REASON for those books is kind of...necessary. Like those new Twilight ones?? I don't even know what she was thinking.

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    1. Yeah I wasn't even thinking about Grey or the new Twilight Books but I can't see much reason for either!

      Thank you so much for reading!!

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  13. TOTALLY agree with you! I have seen this on EVERY level of book- from the tiny, self-pubbed book to the HUGE anticipated book that publishers seem to be forcing out of the gate long before it's ready. The biggest case of this that comes to mind is Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. When we went to BEA, she was signing the books. They were a "special BEA" ARC, and she'd actually talked about it the night before at a panel and signing. She was upset because the book was NOT done, and she didn't even want people reading it, because there were huge changes. This was May, and the book came out what, last week? So there was a good 7+ months until publication, and there was stuff being added in, taken out, etc- including, apparently, BIG stuff. Not just a word here or there. SO I mean, what is the point of that? Wouldn't it be better for her to have finished the revisions and been happy with it rather than having it pushed through?

    And what Nereyda said about the beta readers, and you elaborated on, is SO true. I often wonder HOW some books get published. I don't mean that in a rude way even, just... how did not just one person, but a whole SLEW of people let some of these things go to print!? I don't understand. I once did a beta read for someone I knew, and I had a LOT of notes- I was trying to be helpful, and I thought that was the point. I talked about the good stuff, but I also noted everything that needed to be fixed- spelling, grammar, sentence structure, plot stuff that was confusing, whatever. And I really felt like she didn't really want that, and would have preferred that I just say "OMG LOVE IT" and let it go. But I am going to be honest, so... guess that's why she never asked me again ;)

    Putting a release date off by a couple months can make a TON of difference in whether people LIKE the book- isn't that worth waiting for? And the companions, I feel you. Or middle books that are wholly unnecessary- to the point that they make me mad. I get that it is a business, I do! But putting your BEST product forward would be the best business model in my opinion. FABULOUS discussion, so many great points here, Eva!!

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    1. Thank you SO much for your insightful points Shannon! I did not know that about Passenger but I think that is HUGE! Why on earth would the publisher want ARCs out of an unfinished story that would eventually have big changes in the plot/story?! That makes no sense other than hype and greed! I feel bad for the author!

      I really didn't know before this post the number of beta readers that feel like their constructive criticism was ignored. WHat is the point of having a beta reader that just gives his or her blessing? I think books are suffering because of it!!

      Thank you again for reading!!

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  14. I honestly can't say I've noticed this at all! From a writer-who-is-trying-to-get-traditionally-published perspective...I think it's also fair to have to fall into what publishers are asking for. Like time slots and expectations and deadlines and things? Because writing is art BUT it can be a career and it is a business. *nods* So I think it's fair that books come out regularly (mostly) and often a year apart.

    As for companion books...weeell. I LIKE THEM. If a publisher is willing to go with it and there is a fandom who wants it! Then I say the author is really lucky and should totally write as many books as the readers are asking for. ;D

    I think reading and writing is SO subjective. Like a flawless book in my opinion will need more edits in someone else's. That's why it is sooo hard, right?!

    Very interesting discussion! :D

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I'm glad to hear the other side of the coin in terms of quality and agree that writing and editing are so subjective. You make so many good points that I should have addressed in my post. Well said!!!

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  15. THIS WAS YOUR FIRST DISCUSSION POST? *rises up and applauds* Brilliantly said, Eva!

    While reading I was like "Yo that's literally 60% of New Adult books" (in my experience) at first but then realized that also pertained to YA books. I've had the occasional Netgalley read where a book was just - I literally can't articulate the level of "nope" I had while reading. And there will be people spreading the word about it on Twitter, and I'm just looking at my phone and thinking, "but why?"

    Recently I read a BUNCH of NA books that were recommended by friends. They were for the most part self-published (or some smaller publishing house). I looked over most of the top reviews, which pretty much ended up in stellar stars. And the reviews were decent too, so I tried them out. Unfortunately, I ended up giving 1-3 stars on basically 6 NA books and DNF'ing 3. And the whole time I was thinking, "HOW???" Wow, I sound really mean. Anyway, I definitely feel like if they had more objective and non-biased beta readers (like me lol), some things could definitely have been changed - for the better. (And some of those books were a mess from start to finish LOL)

    - Aila @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. Yes, I have noticed a lot of NA books that really need help and I agree so many of them have HUGELY high ratings! I have DNF'd a lot of them and don't understand the slew of 5 star reviews! THank you so much for reading and commenting!

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  16. You make some really fantastic observations here, and I have to agree with you in almost everything, BUT (there, I said it) as an editor, I do also see the flip side of the coin. Working with self-pubbed authors, I've learned that some of them find that the only way to truly make a living off of their writing (which, of course, they want to do) is to publish, publish, publish. So, it's a bit of a double-edged sword. Of course, they want quality, but they also want to be able to make enough money to continue doing what they love. As an editor, I'll confess that I sometimes get frustrated when we're running on a super-condensed timeline because I KNOW we could do better if we gave the book more time to breathe. But I understand and respect the realities that the authors I work with are sometimes living - in a perfect world, we would have at least a few months to complete the back and forth process of editing to really make every book shine. I LOVE it when we do have that luxury, but it doesn't happen all the time. The sad thing is that authors sometimes feel like they have to keep pushing more out so they're not forgotten - especially in the self-pub world! Great discussion - very thought-provoking!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Thank you Nicole, I truly appreciate your perspective and I do realize that it is not easy (by any means) to be a self published author! I think there is a lot of pressure and a lot of consequence in publishing and I hope I didn't undermine that! Thanks again for the discussion challenge, I am so excited to read everyone's discussions.

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    2. Nope - you didn't undermine anything at all. I think you expressed your opinions perfectly in a really balanced way. I just wanted to throw in the author side since I see a little bit of it. (And even knowing what I do, I still get frustrated with the timelines sometimes). :-)

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  17. THANK YOU. I have been thinking this for a while now. One thing Nicole @ FYFA pointed out a while back in one of her discussion posts was about the different types of editors, and the realistic costs for them. Most self-published authors don't hire the correct kind - the developmental editor - because they are so expensive. I do believe authors are turning out books too quickly, and that quality is sacrificed. I believe authors do feel they have to constantly compete to keep their name on top and trending everywhere, so none of their fans forget them. If that's the case, what the hell does that say about your fanbase? So utterly fickle...I would rather wait for the next book (whether series or standalone) from authors I enjoy, knowing it is his or her best version of the book they are releasing. This also builds incredible angst. Hello, Harry Potter, Twilight anyone?

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    1. Thanks Charlie, I truly appreciate you reading and commenting! I am sure that a Developmental editor must be in high demand, hard to find and super expensive but it's hard for the consumer because we are the ones shelling out our hard earned money for these books as well! And I couldn't agree more about fanbase. No one remembers how long each book took in HP, The Hunger Games, etc -- we just remember how good each book was!!

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  18. I totally 100% agree with everything you wrote. Not all authors, but I feel like the majority of authors I read are trying to get their name out in quantity of books. Not quality. I would much rather a writer slow down, even if it takes years, and give me something worthy of the wait. Something beautiful. Magical. A Great read. I'm always afraid that a book wrote in less time is a crappy read. So when I see authors punching out stories, I get really skeptical of the hype surrounding them. I wonder, "Are they GOOD, or are they just quick?"
    Great post! You should definitely do more discussions ^_^

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Yes, something beautiful and magical is exactly what I want! Slow down and take your time and make me swoon!!

      I definitely have some ideas for other discussions!

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  19. I totally agree with you. Great post! I'm currently reading (and ready to abandon) Mercury Striking, by Rebecca Zanetti. I had to stop reading many times to check the header (it is an eBook) to make sure I was reading the right book. It doesn't sound like her at all. I went to check other blogger reviews and I wasn't alone. Other bloggers said the same. So I wonder.. how can such a successful author that published so many good books sound like a complete amateur??? I was almost sure she had been pressured into publishing this book. There cannot be another explanation.

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  20. I agree books are being rushed--so much so that books are coming out in parts rather than as a whole book, which I hate. Great discussion!

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