Thursday, December 5, 2019

How long is too long between books?

Since 2014 I've read YA books almost exclusively, although I do venture into adult fantasy and horror more often now. Something I've come to depend on is that my favorite series will release books every year. Any longer than that and readers start to wonder how they'll ever wait for the next book.

One series that has defied this multiple times is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. The publication date for book two (and now book three) was pushed back multiple times. There were two years between A Torch Against the Night and A Reaper at the gates, which was pushed back from one. I still remember how people cried about the delay and then the same happened with the still untitled book four. It was pushed to 2020 and the Goodreads comments started rolling in.

Yesterday I saw a post from Sabaa Tahir about finishing the "dirty draft" of Ember 4 and immediately ran over to Goodreads to double check the date, only to be greeted with "June 2021" as the publication date. In case you hadn't heard about it, yes, there will now be a three year gap between books three and four. I cried a little and then went to see what other YA books have had such a long gap between them. I couldn't find any, but did find a few articles about how you have to pump out a book a year to keep reader's interest. Yikes, I'm glad I'm not a writer with that pressure on my shoulders.

I did find a few other YA series with small gaps between books. The Lady Janies by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows are published every two years and there was a three year gap between The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix but most YA books do seem to come out every year.

I absolutely still plan on picking up Ember 4, but I do wonder at what point people lose patience or just forget about a series (see George R.R. Martin). How long are you willing to wait between books in a series? What other book series do you know of that have been delayed?

UPDATE: In March 2020 the publication date for Ember4 (A Sky Beyond the Storm) was changed to December 2020.