…because there’s a leak in my pipeline.
An author’s pipeline – the steady stream of new releases required to keep readers interested, apparently – was a concept blissfully unfamiliar to me until I signed my first contract. Up until that moment I tapped away at my own leisurely pace, a few lines on this manuscript, some plotting on that one. Then I discovered this notion that readers have super-short memories and insatiable appetites and – as is my wont as a high-strung type-A – I freaked out! I put myself under huge pressure to write, revise, submit, write, revise, submit, keep the gaps between releases tight and short and praying I didn’t lose that hard-won reader momentum. I created spreadsheets, word trackers, schedules, all manner of instruments with which to measure my pace and goals.
And then, like so many of our heroines, I got pregnant. And I was tired, dammit! And my brain was busily occupied with real-life stuff like cribs and tiny clothes and, y’know, childbirth. My word trackers fell by the wayside along with my creative mojo. I turned in an on-deadline manuscript at the end of October, and between Halloween and the birth of my baby in March I probably wrote 7,000 words – less than 1,500 a month.
So although in 2015 I had releases in January, April and today, as of now the pipeline has dried up. I have nothing on submission, nothing on deadline, nothing more scheduled to release. I’m also writing more than I have in six months. The words are coming faster and easier every day, however it’s still going to be a loooooong time before I get anything out to the reading public.
As writers, how do you manage your pipelines? Have you ever had a big ol’ leak like mine, and if so, how did you fix it? As readers, how important is that pipeline, really? If an author you liked didn’t release anything new for over a year, would you flounce? Inquiring minds want to know!