The "word" was communicated by the keynote speaker on Thursday, Barbara Freethy. For those who don't know, Barbara is an extremely successful, conventional and independently published author. By her own admission, she's had to invent and re-invent herself and her trademark repeatedly, always in an effort to keep up with the fluctuations of an ever-changing industry.
Sorry about the long distance photo, but I promise that is Barbara.
It appears authors are engaging in strange writing frenzies, where the habit is to connect and challenge each other in word sprints with a possible end-goal to crank out one book a month. Barbara, along with other well-respected authors, believe the trend is worrisome. They would like to encourage all of us to slow down and take a deep breath.
This doesn't mean we should shut down our computers and ignore the keyboard for weeks at a time. Not at all, we should be focused on creating and publishing several titles, close together if possible. This is the golden formula, the one we all want, where the real readership and success begin. But we're not going to achieve our writing goals if we emulate the same pace of a Daytona 500 race.
Her message was clear: Slow down and pay attention to every detail— story line, editing, proofing, book cover, the nuts and bolts of the craft, otherwise quality may suffer. If the quality of our stories suffers, we know the sad end result. We may end up disappointing our readers for the sake of speed, and once you betray your readers they may never return. I am one of those, frustrated by a favorite author, I have turned away and refuse to look back.
So now that you've read the scoop, please don't shoot the messenger. Take it easy—don't rush as I did with this poorly written/edited post. Pay attention to your characters and your story. Put forth the best book you can, and your readers will follow wherever you take them.