1) You’re nobody until you get your first book published.
2) You’re nobody until you get your second book published, even though you think you’re somebody because you have one book in print.
Here’s why: There are TONS of writers out there. Hundreds of thousands of books are published every year in the U.S. alone. For example, in 2005 when my novel ANGEL’S GRACE was published, it was 1 of 172,000. As a first-time writer, without a name and little marketing effort, about 100 people probably knew about the book. And as a result, nearly four years later, I’m still working to sell it. Granted, you never stop trying to sell your books, but by now, I should have been on to my second. And why am I not on to my second? Here’s why:
I don’t write the same thing twice.
Madeleine L’Engle once said of publishers, “You do it in pink, then they want you to do it in blue.” My editor was frankly surprised to see the theme of my second novel, LOSING FAITH. Which is fine, but it’s so different from AG, that I hardly seem like the same author. My 3rd novel, the one I’m working on now, is different from the first two AGAIN. And for a publishing house, that means trouble. Where does one categorize this author? What marketing ploy is there for tying in the first? Problems, problems, from a pesky writer. The other issue I had was that people kind of wanted an AG sequel. (As such, I’ve started a new site specifically for AG fans here.) Then the horrible: Because I have not had a 2nd book come out in nearly 4 years, I am tasked with keeping the one book fresh for sale, to compete with the many hundreds of thousands of books that have been released since 2005.
So… what’s a writer to do? You revamp your website. For like the 1,000th time. I picked up a couple of books on Amazon to help me do that, and I’m currently trying to get that up and running… yet again.
If you thought that writing was just about creating stories, think again, baby. And have I even mentioned the school visits you have to do (fun), presentations at conferences (not as much fun), appearances at conferences (hardly any fun) and writing articles (sometimes fun) you have to do as well?
The writing life is a full-on, full-time business, that’s mostly about you producing books, but nearly as much about you doing a zillion things to promote them, INCLUDING writing books that are nearly the same as ones you’ve already done, but Award-worthy.
Sweet. I’ll get on that for book #4.