Episode 042 – Rapid Releasing for Writers

On today’s podcast, we cover the highs and lows of adopting the rapid release strategy. I share tips on how to do this without sacrificing quality and also talk about why it’s not great for everyone.

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Rapid Releasing
Benefits: Helps build momentum, attract new readers, and stay visible in crowded markets.
Techniques: Strategies include holding back completed books, writing shorter works, co-writing, and using platforms like Kindle Vella.
Challenges: Rapid releasing can lead to burnout, decreased story quality, and loss of creative joy due to intense planning and pace.
Setting Your Own Pace: Finding a sustainable rhythm that balances creativity with personal well-being, whether it's one book a year or several.
Building a Backlist: Focus on creating a strong collection of work, with each new release driving interest in earlier books.

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Welcome to Writer Roadmap, the podcast for writers seeking inspiration, guidance, and support on their creative journey. I’m Holly Lyne, and today we’re diving into a topic that’s been hotly debated in author circles: the strategy of rapid releasing. It’s a strategy that has seen many authors skyrocket to success, but it’s also not without its challenges and pitfalls. Whether you’re considering it, doing it, or just curious, this episode is for you.

Rapid releasing—the strategy of publishing books in quick succession—has become a buzzword in the author community. The idea is simple: keep your readers hooked and the algorithms happy by consistently putting out new content. Five years ago, this could mean hitting the bestseller lists or gaining a loyal following at an astonishing rate. The market was different then, less saturated, and readers were voracious for new series to dive into.

Rapid releasing isn’t just about keeping up with the market—it’s about building momentum. Each new book brings readers back to your earlier works, helps maintain visibility in a crowded market, and increases the chances of catching the ever-changing currents of the algorithms. For those who have harnessed it effectively, rapid releasing has accelerated their journey from obscurity to bestseller lists. But how do they achieve it? Let’s explore a few strategies that successful authors use to maintain this pace without sacrificing the quality of their work.

Holding Back Completed Books: One strategy I’ve personally found success with is writing a complete series—or a significant part of it—before starting to release any of the books. This approach allows you to rapid release with the confidence that your next books are ready to go, ensuring a steady flow of new content for your readers and maintaining visibility on platforms like Amazon. It requires patience and discipline but can pay off by providing a consistent release schedule that fans can look forward to.

Writing Shorter Books: Another approach is focusing on shorter works. Novellas and shorter novels can be written, edited, and published more quickly than their longer counterparts. This strategy can be particularly effective in genres where shorter works are popular with readers, allowing you to produce quality content at a pace that supports a rapid release schedule.

Keeping an Editor on Staff: For those who can afford it, keeping an editor on staff—or having a dedicated freelance editor on retainer—can significantly speed up the publishing process. This ensures that as soon as one book is done, it goes straight into editing, allowing for a quicker turnaround. It’s an investment, but for high-volume writers, it can be an essential part of maintaining a rapid release schedule.

Exploring Serial Fiction: Platforms like Kindle Vella offer a unique opportunity for serial fiction, allowing authors to release stories one episode at a time. This can be a great way to engage readers with regular updates, build anticipation, and experiment with story arcs in real-time. Serial fiction can also provide a steady stream of income and reader feedback as you write.

At the moment, Kindle Vella is only available in America, but there are other platforms that can be used around the world.

Co-Writing: Collaborating with a co-writer can not only increase your output but also diversify your storytelling. By sharing the workload, co-authors can produce books more quickly, bringing different strengths to the table and supporting each other through the writing process. This partnership can be a powerful way to maintain a rapid release schedule, offering fresh perspectives and keeping the creative energy flowing.

Each of these strategies offers a pathway to achieving a rapid release schedule, but they all share a common requirement: a commitment to planning and execution. Whether you’re holding back books to ensure a steady release, crafting shorter novels to increase output, or collaborating with partners, the key to rapid releasing is a strategic approach that balances the demand for new content with the imperative of quality storytelling.

But why isn’t it the golden ticket it once was? For starters, the digital shelves are more crowded. The sheer volume of content means that standing out requires not just quantity, but quality and strategic marketing too. Moreover, for many authors, the pace of rapid releasing is a marathon at a sprinter’s pace—unsustainable in the long run.

The constant mission to keep pace with Amazon’s ever-changing algorithm is simply unrealistic for most writers. The “cliff” that gets talked about is now a mere three weeks and who can really publish a new book every three weeks?

And that’s where we hit the heart of today’s topic: sustainability and setting our own pace. Writing isn’t just about feeding the algorithmic beasts; it’s about crafting stories that resonate, that linger in the minds of readers long after they turn the last page. Can we do that on a tight, rapid release schedule? Perhaps. But it’s not for everyone.

Creative energy isn’t infinite. It needs to be replenished with rest, with life experiences, and with time—time to dream, to think, and to live. The pressure to produce at a breakneck pace can lead to burnout, to stories that feel rushed, and to a loss of the joy that brought us to writing in the first place.

So, what’s the alternative?

Setting our own pace. It’s about finding a rhythm that sustains your creativity, respects your life outside of writing, and still meets your career goals. For some, this might mean releasing one book a year; for others, one every few months. There’s no one-size-fits-all schedule in the world of writing.

And let’s not forget the value of building a backlist. A solid backlist means that each new release brings readers to your previous work, creating a cycle of discovery that doesn’t rely on the constant churn of new content. It’s playing the long game, focusing on building a body of work that stands the test of time.

Navigators, as you chart your course through the world of publishing, remember: your journey is yours alone. The path to success is as varied as the stories we tell. Rapid releasing can be a powerful strategy, but it’s not the only one. The key is to find a pace that works for you, that keeps the spark of creativity alive, and that ultimately leads to a fulfilling and sustainable writing career.

If you’ve experimented with rapid releasing, or have found your own pace in the publishing world, I’d love to hear your story. Join the conversation on our social media or in our private Discord community, where we share, learn, and grow together as writers. Find out more at writerroadmap.com.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Writer Roadmap, and if you found value in today’s discussion, share it with a fellow writer. Until next time, keep writing, keep dreaming, and keep navigating your unique path.

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