Today, especially with the ebook market, readers want authors to write faster. One a year is suddenly too long. While I have no problem waiting one year or four (Hello! Bitterblue!), what is your stance on this? As an author, what kind of pressure does this put you under?
This is such a great question. I have certainly noticed an increase in "extra content" being released between books (novellas, alternate/deleted scenes, etc) to hold readers over between installments in series. And I know how painful it is to wait between books as a reader (Bitterblue, indeed!).
As a writer, I can't imagine a case where I would want less than the standard year between contracted books.
Why, you ask? Let's take a look at my process:
My sweet spot for drafting a novel (and I'm talking the "shitty first draft" version as coined by Anne Lamott, not the "critique partner ready" version) is about 2-3 months. For TAKEN2, the first book I wrote under contract, I had five months to write and submit the draft to my editor. This worked out perfectly for me. I wrote my "shitty first draft" in about three months. I revised on my own for a month, then send to my crit partner. Revised again and sent it to my agent two weeks before the deadline. Revised one last time, and turned it in.
What follows that first draft is 6-9 months of revisions, line edits, and copy edits. (And I'm not actively "writing" for all that time. There are periods where my editor has to read, digest, compile feedback, etc). Then the book gets typeset. I'll see pass pages. ARCs will be made. (etc, etc...you know the rest.) In short, the book is often worked on behind-the-scenes for longer than a year, but because of how schedules sync up, the reader usually only has a twelve month wait.
Knowing how much time my story spends on my editor's desk as much as mine, I can confidently say that if release dates were tighter between books, my stories would suffer. Greatly.
Writing is a weird thing. Some days the words flow and I can't type fast enough. Others my muse decides to go out sight-seeing while I sit at the computer, struggling and lost without her. The unproductive days are stressful but they are still work. I'm picking away at my to-do list. I'm getting closer to The End Goal, and so I'm doing the right thing.
But I think that less time between book releases (read: tighter deadlines) would only add more stress and worry to the already emotionally draining process of writing under contract. Not to mention the fact that it is layer upon layer of revision that allows me to turn out a polished, strong manuscript. And those layers take time.
Look at Bitterblue, which Alyssa mentioned in her original question! A prime example of a book that the author had to write and scrap and rewrite (and revise and revise and revise) before it became The Story. (Kristin Cashore's post about this is fascinating if you haven't seen it.) I, for one, am so glad she took the time to write the story as it needed to be written. The wait was worth it. If she'd plowed ahead, blinding sticking to that year standard, I might have been disappointed with BITTERBLUE. Instead I was impressed beyond measure.
Particularly for last books-in-a-series, it seems that authors often step back and ask for a bit more time. (Veronica Roth and the final DIVERGENT book, for example.) It's hard work to conclude an epic tale, to wrap up all those loose ends. Authors want to put the strongest, best version of the work in front of their readers. A few extra months to polish and fine-tune can make all the difference.
So yes, the standard year wait can seem long. Painfully long. We writers feel bad making readers wait, but we know it's worth it. We can only hope, that when you finally get your hands on the end product, you agree.