You may be a little relieved to read that there isn’t really a right or wrong answer to this question. There are so many factors and variables to include; Is it your first book? Tenth book? Do you have children? Are you a student? Do you have a full-time or part-time job? Are you a carer? Everybody leads different lives and everybody has different strengths and weaknesses.
I can only go on my own experiences and the information I have read over the years. Some authors boast about writing three of more books in a year, which is impressive, especially if they are all 90,000 word novels. I admit, I tried to write three 90,000 word books in one year and I found it insanely difficult. I and another fellow writer both found that three books a year was just too much and actually, two books a year is much more manageable. However, we both have other jobs, so perhaps three books or more in a year is achievable if you’re not working on anything else.
Usually I would say that you should try and write at least one book a year, but if it is your first novel, then it will probably take you longer. My first novel took me more than three years to write, but my subsequent novels have all been much quicker. With your first novel you will be learning how to write and what works best for you. It’s a shaky and steep learning curve, but once your first novel is complete and published, you have effectively learnt a basic blue print for all your future books and writing will become easier.
Why do I recommend writing one book a year? Time and pressure. If you can manage to do two 90,000 books in a year then that would be even better, but it isn’t necessary. I wrote a previous blog where I looked at a handful of famous authors and I discovered that most of these authors wrote at least one book a year, if not more. To keep readers and publishers engaged then yes, ideally you need to write one book a year. It’s what the professionals do and it seems to be working for them.
Writing one book a year isn’t always possible. If you’re writing an epic fantasy trilogy, then you might find that writing one book will take you longer. This is because the average word count for one book in an epic fantasy series is 140,000 words or more. If you take the first book in a Game Of Thrones, the word count is 292,727, and some books in the series reach over 400,000 words.
So as you can see, it really depends on what you’re writing and how much time you have. I would still recommend writing one full book a year if possible, as I have seen other authors who have missed opportunities, simply because they waited too long between books. Writing books should become easier with practise and time, but you’ve got to keep working at it.