Google+ YA Romantics: Trending Thursday: Book Impatience and Binge Reading

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trending Thursday: Book Impatience and Binge Reading


I had a fun post all planned out for today, then on Tuesday I went out to pick up my New York Times and saw this trend staring back at me -- on the front page, no less:

Impatience Has Its Reward: Books Are Rolled Out Faster
Quote from article: "The book business is upending its traditional timetable by encouraging a kind of binge reading, releasing new works by a single author at an accelerated pace. The practice of spacing an author’s books at least one year apart is gradually being discarded as publishers appeal to the same “must-know-now” impulse that drives binge viewing of shows like “House of Cards” and “Breaking Bad.”

You can read the full article here.  It didn't mention any YA books, and I can't think of any that have been released on a super-short timetable. If you know of any, let me know in comments.

So ... of course my first reaction was YES!!!!


Here are some arguments on the PRO side:
  • I am an extremely impatient person. 
  • As I wait the year between books, I often forget important plot points. Like all of them.
  • I'm often hesitant to commit years of my life to a series or trilogy.
  • There are SO many books and when I have to wait a long time between books, I lose interest.
  • Binge reading is fun.


"Writing Mortal Heart in thirteen months is probably the single hardest writing thing I have ever done. Sadly, it required me to withdraw from just about every other thing in my life, including socializing (whether through social media or in real life) and sleeping."

Her first two Assassin books came out on the yearly plan, in April 2012 and 2013, but Mortal Heart will be not out until November 2014. As Robin LaFevers is an author who does not disappoint, I know that it will be worth waiting those extra months for Mortal Heart! 


According to Amazon and Goodreads, the third Mara Dyer book was also just delayed. Those books were on the yearly plan (September 2011 and October 2012) but The Retribution of Mara Dyer was pushed back to June 2014 and then more recently to November 2014.

In addition to authors' quality of life, book quality is important too.  Sometimes I read a book and feel that it was rushed to print. If an author needs more time, I'd rather they take that time than give up sleep (something I cherish above all else except books) or put out something that could have used a bit more polishing. I don't want to encourage a system of authors working in sweatshop conditions.

But overall, I approve of the trend of more flexibility in publishing dates. Putting all series books on a yearly timetable seems very arbitrary. Some books could have a shorter timetable  if the books are ready to go to press -- yay for binge reading! -- but I also think that YA readers can be patient when necessary. And not everything has to be a series. I love the trend toward duologies and companion books, too.

What do you think of this trend? Can you think of other YA books that were published on a faster (or slower) timetable? Let me know in comments.

Note: Sorry, this post went up on Wednesday evening by mistake. I am calendar-challenged.

42 comments:

  1. I saw this article as well and like you said I haven't really seen it reflected in YA, but quite a few romance books now a days are being popped out in a few months or they end up being the dreaded serials. A few chapters coming out each week or something and charging you 2 bucks for it *rolls eyes*. I agree with you though that as much as I would like to see certain books coming out quicker I wouldn't want the quality of the book to suffer cause of it so if it can be done excellent if not, no problem, I can wait :)

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    1. Wondering if it will spill to YA. Some authors have series ready to go, while others may have been told "don't write the subsequent books in a series until you sell the first one." We will see, I guess!

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  2. I agree with everything you said! Part of me wishes that books came out a little faster because like you I am impatient, however quality of the book is much more important than getting it in my hands sooner.

    I have been waiting and waiting and Waiting for The Retribution of Mara Dyer and Isla and the Happily Ever After. As much as it sucks to wait I would much rather have a book that they are happy with and is up to their standards than something rushed. Plus I don't want them to have to suffer to write books either. I went to a signing last year with Maureen Johnson and Stephanie Perkins and Stephanie Perkins talked about Isla and she looked so stressed and it broke my heart! (I am happy to report that I just saw her at a different signing a few weeks ago and she looked less stressed and much happier!).

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    1. I love Stephanie Perkins and I think we all want her to be happy and are willing to wait as long as it takes until she gets the book to a place where she's happy with it!

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  3. I hate waiting but there are so may books out there that usually I'm able to handle the waiting okay. I would not want an author to turn in subpar work and to withdraw from other things she loves just to finish that book.

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    1. I'm very excited for Mortal Heart, but writing historical fiction must involve a LOT of research and fact checking -- I'll wait!!

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  4. I posted a similar discussion post today! We were both inspired by that NYT article. I'm with you on your points...and I didn't know about Mortal Heart. I imagine it is so difficult to be under deadline when trying to be creative at the same time. I think I would struggle so much if that were needed of me. Great points Jen!

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    1. Mind meld!!!!
      Yes, I think we both came out on the "Impatient but Happy To Wait for Quality" side...

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  5. One year is definitely a looong time to wait and sometimes I find that my excitement wanes as the release date comes closer. And OMG Mortal Heart is coming out early?? Woot Woot! XD

    And you're right if waiting a couple of months means I get a book that's of best quality then I think I can wait. It'd be hard but I'd definitely go for quality over shorter waiting time.

    Great post, Jen-I'm lovin' the way your feature is progressing! :)

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    1. A year does seem like forever sometimes!!! That's why I'm loving the trend of companion books and duologies so that the reading experience isn't dragged out forever.

      PS Not sure if Mortal Heart is coming out early or late, but it seems like there was an extra six months between book two and three.

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  6. Mm...I can't decide! On one side, I do really think authors can go through insanity trying to get books ready for print. And if they're not "just right", the fans get angry and demanding anyway! On the other hand though OH GOSH I NEED BOOKS NOW. Like Winter?! I can't believe I have to wait a whoooole other year for Winter by Marissa Meyer. And I tend to forget things very quickly too. So the longer between books the quicker, I forget. It's an awesome topic, though.

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    1. It's a multi-faceted topic. WHY all the series? It's so much pressure on the authors, who might have spent years on a first book and then were told "don't write the second book in a series until you sell the first book" and then are panic-stricken when they are on this crazy timetable.

      I think flexibility is the answer. If there are writers who can turn out books crazy-fast, then let them go for it. If they need more time, we'll wait!

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  7. Hmm I'm kind of torn on this one. I do often forget plot lines as well. For example when I read the first book of a series I'll become totally absorbed by it and forget about everything else in the world. But to have that suddenly cut off short if the next book isn't available? I'd end up throwing a bit of a mini tantrum xD That's why often I'll prefer picking up a book that's part of a series rather than one that's just recently debuted. But of course, I would definitely be against hindering the quality of the plot line if that meant a shortened time period to wait, I think that takes absolute precedence!
    Really interesting post!

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    1. I see a lot of readers say they'll wait until all the books in a series are out before reading, and I can't blame them!

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  8. See, I'm really impatient in real life but when it comes to books I don't think I'm so bad. I mean, obviously I'd love it if some of the books I'm waiting on came out tomorrow instead of next year lol, but in the mean time there are SO many other books out there to distract me.

    I think a year is a good amount of time to wait for series books - any longer and then I start forgetting things.

    For the first book in a series though, I think it's important to see how well they do before scheduling more books. Because quite a few series have been cancelled recently and I feel bad because the author put so much time into writing all the other books, only to have it all dropped! :(

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    1. When I first finish a book with a cliffhanger, I'm like "Ahhhh!" But as time passes, I'm fine.
      I hadn't heard of series being cancelled, though.... interesting...

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  9. Great post. I agree with everything that you said!

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  10. I prefer reading a quality book as you said, but I'm terrible with waiting for books as well! I just read Cress and it's been a year since Scarlet and I've forgotten a lot of what went on in the previous book. I think overall if we wait for a book we can expect a better one though :)

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. It's very hard to wait. But there are always other books.
      Still, it would be interesting if publishers let everyone binge read together...

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  11. I actually don't mind waiting for books because I'd definitely prefer better quality books rather than if the author was completely rushed. I mean, even publishing a book a year is pretty dang amazing, and I don't know if I could really trust that books would be as good if they were written in an even shorter period of time! In terms of books being published really fast, I feel like JLA is completely insane with how quickly she can write! She has so many series of all different genres and seriously, I'm kind of in awe of how she writes so much.

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    1. A year seems like forever when you're waiting but probably seems so short to authors!

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  12. I do think the year between sequels is a very arbitrary thing--In Dan Well's Partials series, the final book comes out in March. One of his fans commented on a Q&A that she hated waiting a whole year for it, and he commented he'd finished it last summer :( So that is more of a publishing thing I'm sure. Some authors can write really fast, some write slower. Alyson Noel's Soul Seekers series had about 6-8 months between sequels. While we've been waiting almost two years for City of Heavenly Fire, but in that case, I'd rather wait and have it perfect, since its the final book!

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    1. Interesting that his book was ready and they made the readers wait. That's crazy!!!!

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  13. And Self published authors usually have their sequels out within 6 months. So I do think a lot of timing has more to do with the publisher than the writer.

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    1. Yes, I agree. That's an advantage to self-pubbing -- you can make your own rules!

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  14. JLA is the only one that I can think of that has had multiple books a year and it hasn't suffered. But I def agree it is a balance between quality and readers forgetting plot and author's quality of life.

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    1. Good point -- how does she write SO many books. But I think the fact that she writes for different publishers (and sometimes smaller publishers) gives her more flexibility. And it's working very well for her!

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  15. This is a great post! I'm someone who is terrible about remembering things that happened in a book if too much time goes by. I'm better about remembering how I felt about a book, not so much all the details about it. I do however prefer quality over an author trying to rush to get a book finished. They have personal things that go on in their lives just as much as us readers. Recently two authors of adult series I read were very honest with their readers about why they had to push back their books two times and I applaud them for their honesty and wanting to take the time to make the books better and not rush it.

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    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one who is super-forgetful!!

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  16. You know as much as I want the next book now, I'm glad that I wait for it. Books need time to be written well and I rather have a well written, well executed book then something just slopped together.

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    1. Agree -- if authors need six months, nine months, eighteen months -- they should be given the time they need...

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  17. I think you covered it well. Of course I want the books sooner because I can forget things. But I want a quality book. And I don't want the authors to realize that they never want to write another book again because it's just too much pressure. I recently saw someone on a social media site going on and on and on about how ridiculous it is that The Retribution of Mara Dyer was pushed back again and they were just RUDE. It was hard to restrain myself in my comment where I explained the pressures of putting books out quickly and how we want the book to be GOOD, not just something thrown together. I must have made my point cause it was silence on that thread from then on out. I think sometimes they just don't think. And it was teens, so they probably hadn't given it thought on that angle yet.
    I think this is a great post!

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  18. I've mostly seen this with NA and romance series. I'm not knocking anyone but those tend to be formulaic whereas something like LaFevers series is very complex. I enjoy both but I can't see how she could knock that out any faster ya know?

    I want all my books yesterday lol but I would rather have a satisfying story than have it faster.

    As long as it's a flexible schedule and they aren't forcing authors to do something unreasonable for them, then I like it. I think there's room for both.

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    1. I agree - writing historical fiction must take more time to get right. So I respect her for taking the time she needs.

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  19. You know, Robin LaFevers talked about this last year when I saw her at the Rochester Teen Book Festival. How it was nice to take her time with a first novel, how you really get to explore it and do what you want to it. But the sequels (or companions) don't allow them the time to really do any of that. It's too bad. I know personally I prefer for books to come out no later than a year, but it happens and I am okay with that. There's plenty to keep me busy. Though unfortunately sometimes my interest in the series can waiver because I forget so many details. I didn't realize the 3rd Mara Dyer was pushed back again. I haven't read the 2nd yet so it really doesn't affect me. It's easier too with contemps or companions like with ISLA. It's a whole new book, no details to remember. TMI on the other hand, I have friends who I use to flail with with each book and I'm thinking they might not even read the last book because it was like 2 yrs in between and they don't remember anything and have lost interest. That saddens me but it does happen. :(

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  20. First I think a lot of people - especially casual readers - don't realize how much time and effort it takes to write a book, because I constantly see people complaining why the next one isn't out yet. Some authors are really fast at writing, and some are slower. I think James Patterson publishes like 15+ books a year. He's CRAZY (and writes with others now, which is cheating). I've never been one to think fast on my feet, so I know if I became an author, I would take a long time to write. Then you throw in book events and other publicity, as well as the push for authors to promote themselves and stay present on twitter and other social media, and I can imagine that time gets much shorter.

    I think that the ebook/indie market has had a hand in encouraging this new trend. Their stories tend to come out much closer together because they don't require all the advanced prep work, and sometimes don't go through as much editing etc. I think readers see that and wonder why traditionally published books can't release as quickly.

    Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series comes out about every 9 months, which I think works really well for those, which are installment based and 6 books long. Thinking of waiting for 6 years to get all the books, would be insane. I'd definitely lose interest. But she has great vision. I've noticed problems arise when authors are pushed into writing series that they haven't planned out before hand, and then are pushed to get them out within a year.

    I like the idea that for authors who have already written their series books, it's no longer taboo to release them close together. But I think putting pressure on writers to release quicker, could be a problem. I have no idea of Samantha Shannon is going to get out her 7 book Bone Season series in a timely manner and keep up interest. I think she just finished the first draft of book 2 recently. I fear burnout, or some stalling happening with those books eventually.

    Great topic!

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  21. I do love my series binge-reading. BUT I am content to wait for the author to perfect his/her work, whether that means by having long waits in between installments or by waiting to start the series until it's complete. Seraphina was one of my favorite books of 2012 and the sequel has been pushed back many times already. Sure I would love to read Shadow Scale as soon as possible. But I also want it to be as great as it can be. If that means that I need to distract myself with other books/series in the meantime, so be it.

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  22. I am impatient and also forget, so I started only reading a series once the whole thing is published and readily available for me to read, (either I've bought it, or managed to get it at the library) I now read one after the other. Sure I don't get to read a book as soon as it's released, but I am not a person who can wait a year or more for the next instalment .

    See there is this book called Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody published in 1987, since then 5 other books in the series have been released, and the world is still waiting on book 7, The Red Queen which doesn't even have a release date yet…

    88dreamers @ Seriesly Reading


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  23. I agree--it does seem arbitrary to put book releases on some sort of timetable--but I like that we are all thinking and talking about it. Like you I would love some of my most favorite series to release in quicker succession--I'm VERY impatient and I hate losing my rhythm, and often enthusiasm, having to wait a year or more. But having a quicker release is not worth it at the expense of the book's quality--or the author's sanity. And sometimes I think that these deadlines and breakneck paces that an author has to deal with it might actually lead to writing burn-out. I don't want my fave authors pumping out books bam, bam, bam only to melt down and have to take a three- five year hiatus to recover, you know?

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  24. I would always choose quality over meeting a publishing deadline, but I know there are also authors who basically have their books all ready to go in a series and then are restrained by publishers who want the year between books. I think that authors should be able to publish sooner if they want or are ready and if they're not ready, so publish when they are (within a certain period, of course). I'd love to not have to wait between some books, but again, I don't mind waiting if it means that the quality will still be good.

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  25. I'm impatient, so I'd honestly like to have the complete series in my hands before ever starting the first book, but that's kind of ridiculous, too, because what if I don't even like the first book. Still, I didn't start THG, His Dark Materials, HP, VA, etc., until all the books were out, and I read those compulsively and probably ended up enjoying the series a lot better BECAUSE I didn't have to wait and didn't have a chance to forget important details in between books. I suspect a lot of the wait time is due to publishers gauging the market and sales, etc., so I understand. But I'm still impatient, and that's making me restless and wary of picking up new series for the most part. I don't relish the idea of our favorite authors suffering from burnout, trying to churn books out quicker, and I don't like the idea that they'd turn out sub-par work either because of it. I say we wait until the author's had a chance to write the entire series, then release them a couple months apart instead of a year or more. That's wishful thinking, I know. :(

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