The topic of my preferences in writing books came up the other day when someone asked if I do one book at a time or several, and why would I recommend that to others. Interesting. Here's how I replied.
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Aside from being an improperly crafted question (does "to do" mean "to read" or "to write"?), it's also petty silly, which I have a feeling you already know. The only answer is actually a non-answer. You "do" whatever works best for you. Doesn't that make sense? If not, keep on asking strangers how you should govern your life. I'm sure you won't lack for suggestions.
What worked for me as a novelist when I began my literary career half a century ago was writing one book at a time. I had neither the skillset nor the ambition to tackle more than that. Today, I have numerous novels underway at any given point in time plus countless ideas for more, although I normally work, again, on one at a time. When I'm satisfied that that work is finished, I tackle one of the others in my stable.
Or if a publisher asks to see a few sample chapters of one of my agent's pitches, I'll drop the book I'm working on and hit that prospect with both barrels blazing. That's what happened with my novel, The Last Wild Orchid. I was nearly finished writing it when I received word that Prometheus wanted to see sample chapters of my pitch for a biography about former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. They liked the samples, signed the book up, and I switched boats in the middle of the stream. Both books came out within about a year of one another.
With more than 250 conventionally published books under my belt, I'd say that system has worked pretty well for me.
As for you? I don't have a clue. Neither does anybody else out here in Internet Land. So, I suggest you try both ways and see which is more productive. I have a feeling I already know, but I'd enjoy hearing from you when you find out for yourself. Feel free to touch base with me at my Website's Contact Page if you have any other questions. Until then ...
Smoke if you've got 'em.
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D. J. Herda is author of the new e-Book series of writing advice, About Writing Right, available at Amazon and at fine booksellers everywhere. His blogs appear on his Website at www.djherda.org. You can also check out his columns, "The Author-Ethicist" and "Fury and the Beast," at Substack. They're free; they're entertaining; they're informative, and they run weekly. Well, almost weekly. Occasionally weekly. Sometimes weekly. (Hey, he does his best!)