The Rapid Release Craze is Hurting Authors and the Quality of Books

When I say rapid release, this is how I define it: Rapid release is where you set the goal of writing and publishing a new book every 6-8 weeks.

I understand why this craze came to be a thing. Readers can read a book or two a day. There is no effort in reading. It’s a passive activity, like watching TV. I mean, it can seem like effort if you’re not enjoying it, but if you aren’t enjoying it, you can stop doing it. As a rule, readers are choosing what to read. This is fun for them. It’s easy to consume this product.

Writing the book, however, is a lot different. It takes time to come up with the idea. Some ideas take years to properly develop. Then you have to figure out how to execute that idea in an entertaining way that will keep the reader engaged. (I get not all readers enjoy the same book, but there is always going to be someone out there who will enjoy the book that has been written.) Then there’s the matter of getting the cover, having the thing edited, formatted, and published. It takes time to do all of that. I honestly believe this is why so many writers are running to ghostwriters and AI to do the writing for them. It is hard to keep up with that hectic pace long term. You can do it short term, but when you’ve been at this for years, it takes a toll on you.

Some people write faster than others, but there is not a single person out there who is a robot, and sooner or later, real life shows up to knock you down. You can’t continually pump books out like a widget on an assembly line. Not on your own efforts, anyway. It’s not healthy. The human brain needs time to relax. The human body needs to move around. The human spirit needs emotional connection with other people. We can’t spend all of our time in front of a computer writing the next book. I believe walking and dictating a book takes away from the creative break that walking provides. I think, to be a healthy writer, we need to detach ourselves from our work on a regular basis. Otherwise, I think the writing becomes stale. For writing to be fresh, the creative part of the brain needs to rest. Sometimes I think the best thing we can do for our writing is to spend time with loved ones and/or doing something we love that has nothing to do with writing. The more fulfilled we are in other areas of our lives, the more fulfilling our stories will be. Writing for the long haul is a marathon, not a sprint.

I’m not a fan of ghostwriting. I think it makes you a publisher because you’re not writing the story. To be a writer, you need to write. But ghostwriting has become popular among the self-publishing crowd because of the rapid release craze. Writing has gone from something people did for love to something people do for money. When money is the focus, you want to do everything you can to keep those books coming out. Unless you have a side gig that pays the bills, you need those books to keep money pouring in. The problem with ghostwriters is that they want to be paid. I think AI is going to replace a lot of ghostwriters because AI doesn’t need to get paid. Sure, you’ll pay a subscription service to use AI, but that service is cheaper than paying a person to do the work. There’s a debate going on about whether AI can create stories worth reading. I think AI will be able to reach that level for those “write to market” books because AI is good at imitation. And writers who are motivated by money will want to use AI because there’s no way a human being can keep writing books on the rapid release schedule for years and years on end.

While AI books might satisfy for the moment, I don’t see how they can satisfy long term. I don’t believe the quality will be there in those books. I just don’t see how AI will ever be able to replace human creativity. I think AI books will be cookie cutter type of stories. They’ll be forgettable. If your goal is money, this works fine. You’re just looking to sell a widget.

At the end of the day, I think AI’s appeal will be for those authors looking for a short cut in creating a book. I don’t believe those books will have that great of quality. Maybe they’ll be polished, but the story itself will probably be lacking that human creative edge. AI might mimic a lot of things, but I don’t see how it can have “heart” in its work. I remember years ago (maybe a decade ago) when I was full of my own pride and thought I knew all there was to know about selling books. I was in the whole rapid release and make good money trip. To this day, I remember one of the comments I received from a writer who said that they would rather focus on getting a good story out there that would touch people long after they died. At the time, I told this person that I would rather make the money. Well, I did make the money. And that money is all gone. The dirty little secret no one seems to be willing to accept is that those highs don’t last forever. Sooner or later, things go back down.

All I know is that the books I wrote that I invested myself in still matter to me to this day, and a few readers out there still reread them. I don’t see how AI will ever be able to produce those types of books. To produce those books, you need your creativity to be at its best, and to do that, you will need to give yourself time to work on your health, work on your relationships, and work on other things that interest you. You can’t be glued to your computer all the time.

I started reading because it was an escape. The middle school years were rough for me. Long story short, those books I read were my friends. I put myself in those characters’ shoes and lived all sorts of adventures. Those stories still make me smile when I think back on them, and now I’m all grown up with kids who are reaching adulthood. But I remember those stories, and I still love them. I started writing because I loved reading first. Those stories helped make me the writer I am today. They will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m glad for the writers who took the time to write them, even though those books are no longer being published. Those books have been forgotten by the majority of people, just like our books someday may be forgotten by most people. But who knows if they will be remembered decades from now by a few? Maybe something you’ve written might change someone’s life for the better.

It is unfortunate that books have become nothing more than a widget to a lot of people. Storytelling is such a beautiful gift. When you write something that you love, the story means something. At the end of the day, people are still people. We need human connection. When I read a book the author loved writing, I feel that I get to know something about that author. That book is a part of who they are. When I get a chance to talk to that author, it makes me appreciate that person a lot more.

This human connection is what is lost when we’re in a rush to get books out there. There’s a difference between writing fast and rushing, and I’m talking about rushing. Rushing is about rapid release. Rushing hurts the quality of your work. And I believe that rushing ends up harming your physical and emotional health. The best long term strategy for a writer who wants to keep their love for writing alive is to take a deep breath, relax, and do what you can to nurture your creative spirit.

I write all of this after dealing with burnout for a couple of years now. I even got the point of hating the process of writing, even though I did enjoy the stories I was creating. I am just now getting to the point where I love writing again. It makes a huge difference when you love the process.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to https://ruthannnordinsbooks.wordpress.com/.
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8 Responses to The Rapid Release Craze is Hurting Authors and the Quality of Books

  1. vaishvv says:

    When I started my career as a copy editor for books and journals, my trainer and manager told us, that they have plenty of tools to make our jobs easy for us, but language is something that can mean different things using same words, it is primarily used by humans, so only humans can understand or weave it in a way that another human could understand. While AI can predict 80 percent of the time, they communicate in 0s and 1s. So human touch is required to capture the things AI missed. I am telling you the same. AI could create something way quicker, but it will have the same difference between easy instant box meals and slow cooked meals.

    Don’t hate writing because your stories have given plenty of us happiness, solace and entertainment. If you publish via any publishers, then talk to them about the pace. If you still self publish then go at your pace. There are at least a thousand historic romance where a rake of a lord marries a reluctant lady and reforms; but what makes yours special is that your readers love your storytelling style rather than the stories themselves. We will wait for good stories. Jane Austen wrote only 6 books. Focus on quality over quantity and your peace above everything else.

    • I’m sorry I didn’t respond to this sooner. For some reason, WordPress put this into my Spam folder.

      You make an excellent point about the complexity of human language that I hadn’t considered while writing the blog post. You’re right. AI will be an easy instant box meal. It can’t do the same things a human can, and I think that will end up making all the difference.

      Thank you for your words of encouragement. I am still self-publishing. I like doing things my own way, and I like having my own time schedule to work with. I will do my best to continue to write quality stories. Thank you again.

      • vaishvv says:

        No problem, wordpress wasnt allowing me to comment and ended up with 3 copies of the same comment 😂.
        I remember you as the author who loved and enjoyed writing. I hope you continue enjoying your work. I havent completed a couple of series of yours that i used to read in uni, i have gotten the desire to complete the set now. Much love ❤️

        • Only two of those got through, so I’m glad you didn’t give up. 🙂

          My hope is to get back to the place where I am so excited about writing that I am itching to get on the computer. Thinking of it as a business dampened the creative side because the decisions I made had to do with money. It’s taking time to get the business mindset out of me.

          I hope you enjoy the series! ❤

  2. I agree so much with this! AI is a little scary anyway. I sure wouldn’t want it to write my book! There’s no way AI can write the heart and soul that goes into a book. I love books and movies that I keep thinking about long after I’ve finished with them.

    • I’m not a huge fan of AI. I get the applications of it, but I think the cons will end up outweighing the pros. God gave us the creative spirit that no man-made created AI can replicate.

  3. Hello Ruth!
    I think that chronic burnout is not something that is not talked about in the author community. The focus seems to be on sales and getting readers when the mental health of authors is very important.
    You can only write for so long before it takes a toll on your body and mind and by the time you realize that you are exhausted, it may be too late.
    Writing a book a month for a year takes its toll and I suspect that many authors who are doing this are struggling silently. They may be afraid to speak up because of ridicule and the loss of potential book sales.
    Thank you for your post.

    • I was thinking of writing a blog post going more into burnout, and your comment has inspired me to do that. I was trying to avoid it because I was afraid I’d come across as whiny. It definitely does take a toll on you. I didn’t write a book a month, but I still got worn out. I didn’t know what was happening until I was deep in it, and then I went through a long period of denial so I kept writing anyway.

      I think you’re right. A lot of authors are probably struggling but are afraid to mention anything in case they get mocked or lose sales. That’s a shame.

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