How Many Releases Are Too Much?

I am amazed at all the great authors I find out there, whether through friends I trust suggesting new books, or stumbling upon a book that sounds interesting. But I’ve recently noticed two disparaging trends when I find someone I like and want to read more from them…

1. It is their only release, or they only have one or two short stories available unless I want to buy an anthology to read another one of their stories; or

2. They have fifty or more releases, and they write in multiple genres, and none of them are part of a series, and some of them are pen-names, and they run the gamut from children’s stories to hardcore erotica… 

The last one isn’t actually a far cry from an author I just recently started reading, although she wouldn’t want me to let the world know about her PG and XXX stuff being from the same person. But you get the idea. 

It got me wondering: how many releases become too much for a reader to dive into? Is there such a thing? Is it like me not watching Sons of Anarchy because I never saw it and don’t want to jump in now that several seasons have elapsed? I’m sure I’ll spend a drunken weekend watching five seasons of the show in one sitting, like I always do… but what about books?

I have over fifty releases if you look me up on Amazon (Hell, let me make it easy on you with a link: Armand Rosamilia on Amazon) . Damn, I just looked at it myself and I have 60 various items to purchase. I’m sure t-shirts, oven mitts, bumper stickers and thongs won’t be far away, but my point is… do I have too many releases for a new fan to dive into my work, to peruse my greatness (go with it, I have a fragile ego) and read my work and eventually purchase all 60 stories? 

Well? Answer me, damnit!

19 Responses to “How Many Releases Are Too Much?”

  1. Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” series is going to end up somewhere around 4,500,000 words, and people start that series all the time.
    I love the epic-ness of that series, although I’ll admit that I started reading it when he released the first book, and I have, over the last 23 years eagerly awaited each new entry.
    My own series is going to end up at 6 books, and i’ve had the same thought. Are people unwilling to give it a try knowing they’re in for 5 sequels?

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    • I’m just curious what people read or don’t read based on a lot of choices from the same author. I have single short stories available as well as the “Dying Days” ongoing zombie series and the thirteen-part “Miami Spy Games” that might grow to at least another 13 episode story arc…

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  2. I’m one of those guys who has a small bibliography at the moment. I just released my second novel and I’ve got two short stories out there for sale. I’m having my best sales month ever, but it’s spread across all four books. From a sales perspective, I wish I had more options, so there were more opportunities to buy my stuff.

    Is it possible to have too many books available? I don’t know. I suppose it can be overwhelming for a new reader if you’ve got tons and tons of books. But chances are they’re going to come to you through a book, not your name. And, if that’s the case, then I’d say having multiple options for them to buy more is a better deal than making them wait for the next installment.

    I don’t know, though, Armand. I’m still trying to crack the code on how to be truly successful at this whole indie publishing thing.

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  3. I don’t believe I have read any of your books, but it wouldn’t stop me from jumping in. My only problem sometimes, there seem to be a huge amount of trilogies, quadilogies (?) out there….I like longer books where I can get deeply involved, but I don’t like having to always get the next book and the next book, you know what I mean. By the time they come out, I’ve moved on. Of course, there is always that exception to the rule.

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    • Well, I hope you eventually do read something I have out! I agree with having to constantly search for the next part in a series, although if it is good enough I get excited when I know it is coming.

      Armand

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  4. The more books you have out, the easier it is for people to find you. And as far as I can tell, readers love a series. They love them more than stand alone books. Most of what I write now will belong to series books because they’re what sell. I’ve never known a reader to complain that, if they love an author, there are too many books to read!

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    • Good point. I hope when I reach 587 books out people will still be finding me and reading all of my books… hmm, at an average of two bucks each per release, I can collect a grand from each reader… and then there are t-shirts and thong sales…

      Armand

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  5. Tyr Kieran Says:

    Very good question, Armand! I’m not sure anyone knows the answer. It probably varies based on genre and age-groups as well.

    Currently I only have one horror short for sale (http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Better-ebook/dp/B008A6OYEO) and a handful of short stories as free reads on http://www.penofthedamned.com. I’m working on my next ebook short right now and eventually a short collection. After that I’ll dive into my first full-length novel.

    I don’t think worrying about quantity is the right mindset here, though. If the quality is there in your work, there will be plethora of referrals and new fans will jump on board, devouring everything you put out. Look at Stephen King’s output and fan base…

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    • I agree about quality over quantity, of course… but all my work is f**king brilliant, lol… seriously, I have a ton of releases and wonder if potential readers are ever turned away for any reason from me… or from newer authors because they don’t have enough selection.

      Armand

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  6. Well, for those without a large body of work; everyone has to start somewhere. As for the multigenre authors with dozens of titles, pick one that interests you and start reading. 😉

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  7. If I read a book I like, I will look for more by the same author and I have been doing this since I started reading books. I wont get the anthologies to follow an author. I will cross genres and even follow into non-fiction though I may decide that I like the author only in one or two genres.

    I like it if the author has a lot published – I know I won’t have to wait until the next book. I prefer individual stories versus a series though it is easier to read through an author if they have a series, e.g. it is easier to remember what the next book to get is versus having to track which books I have or have not read. In the pre-smartphone days, most of my airport purchases were from series because of this.

    Now that you have anecdotal evidence, try a poll. I hear blog readers love those 🙂

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  8. I wrestle with the best way to get more out quicker. I have stuff in 15 anthologies and I only have the one novella out right now, but I want more options availible that are just my work. I bulk at self-pubbing because I don’t believe I have enough of a name yet to do that. On the flip side, are there enough markets to support collections from new authors? To get a good reader support system, I think you need to have a wide variety of works at different price points and lengths. If you have a series, have something out to get them started and then you can nudge them over to the other stuff. I’m working on a trilogy now, but a collection is the goal right now.

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  9. You have stuck with one main genre – horror- so when you do accumulate a fan they will want a backlist and future list of books to buy, so this is good.
    For new readers of you as an author the quantity may be a little daunting but you have a range of lengths of material from flash fiction antholgies to short stories, novellas and novels. So there should be something that a horror fan could try out as a taster.
    You also have a range of prices to suit different pockets which is good, taking a chance on a new author is not going to happen if all the books are top end prices.
    Some of your books are available to read for free for amazon prime members but you have nothing for amazon browsers who do not pay for prime.
    I have one suggestion. Chose 2 0r 3 books to put on permanent free for kindle so that the insecure people can try before they buy. If they like your free books they will buy others.
    I hope this helps.

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    • Thanks for the suggestion! I went into it with a goal of having all different price points and lengths for my work, and I keep filling in the holes as I get published. I will many of my novellas down to 99 cents for a bit, which is helping garner new readers.

      Armand

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  10. Wow. This topic is right now trend. Yay you! You do point out some intriguing points. I have heard arguments for not having enough content (ie, books/releases) to maintain a target audience. So I see how having more than one release is advantageous to a writer, and a reader – for that matter. It is tricky. I guess you want to have enough content to keep readers interested, but I wonder if producing content prolifically without a game plan has value. I agree. I would find a writer who pushing out lots of different subject-matter without distinguishing the brands problematic. I think it’s confusing for the audience, ie, what is the writer all about etc. I tend to stick with series because I fall in love with characters. I like to see what will happen to them next. I would love your perspective on how you feel when someone publishes under a pen name. Does the author lose credibility for you, etc? Just curious… Great blog.

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