In a 1979 essay, the talented Norman Spinrad wrote, "Most mainstream best-sellers are out of print, dead, and forgotten in five years" and he was absolutely right, thirty-plus years ago. These days, the life span of the written word is sharply reduced. Even if an author's books remain in the electronic ether, most of them have fallen out of the top 100,000 Amazon ratings in less than a year.
We don't have any statistics to offer or links to share to prove this. We only have what our friendly fellow authors are sharing with us and what we're observing on our own. We think a twelve month "dead and forgotten" period is probably about right if we're talking a hot, hit novel. The not best-sellers, the ones that collected few reviews and a smattering of purchases? They sink from sight within weeks.
Hell, Aly's Luck disappeared within days. That's one reason we've just given it a new cover. Do you like it?
One of our friends emailed last week, bemoaning her oldest novel's Amazon rating (1,000,000+). She said, and we agree, that it's not enough for the work to be vaguely available on the standard internet sites. The book also has to be visible, somewhere somehow, in order for readers to find it. Her novel is two years old.
Happily, she has a plan to bring it back to the world's attention. She's going to write another book and then another. In this bold new world, volume matters. Readers are finding writers because they keep popping up on the New Release pages. And it's been too long since our friend -- or "Renée Harrell", for that matter -- had a new release.
Like our friend, we're slow at this writing gig. (Not all of our friends are slow. A couple of 'em produce a new, 300+ page tale every two months, just like clockwork. They're amazing.) Unfortunately, we need a full year to write and edit and publish a book. We need to speed things up, somehow, and we have a plan. We're focusing on our fiction.
When we post our blog, that's usually all the writing we've done for that particular day. If we don't work on our blog, we wrap another 350 words in on our current novel. We skipped the blog last week, didn't feel too guilty, and the story inched forward. So the current plan? Less blogging, more publishable words.
That's not to say that Mars Needs Writers is going to be forgotten. How could it be? Even on slow days, we'll get 100 unique visitors to this site (on a good day, six-to-eight times as many) and we don't take this interest for granted, not at all. We're glad you're here. We'll be back, don't doubt it, but on a much more sporadic basis.
Now, if you'll excuse us, we've got a novel to finish.