The Sophomore Slouch by Gerald Rice
Any first time author can tell you the layout of the next half dozen books he plans to write and the timeline in which they’ll be finished. He’s got characters in mind, what they’ll do, how the stories will end—hell, maybe he even has an idea for a spin-off series.
But that’s just after he’s finished that first novel.
Things happen after publication that derail all those lovely plans.
First there’s promotion. If a small print publisher has picked up your novel you’re going to have to do a significant amount of it yourself. That means calling up local bookstores to see if they’ll take your novel on consignment, finding places to do book signings, getting newspaper, magazine, radio and television interviews.
There’s developing your own website and (hopefully) blogging every day. At the onset, it may not have seemed like much to do, but as you are drawn into the promotion machine you see just how time-consuming it can be.
But then there’s also what to write next, exactly. Suddenly, those next six books don’t seem as shiny as they used to or maybe they do, but another idea has suddenly taken cuts in line. Maybe someone has seen your stuff and wants to collaborate. Maybe your publisher wants your opinion on something.
When writing my first novel it was extremely easy to focus. I had no side projects, no one looking for me to meet any deadlines or vying for my attention. All I had to do was write. Now as I’m winding down the promotion thing for The Ghost Toucher and turning the page to my next project I find myself hovering in the first third of the sequel to TGT. I wrote two short stories and had them published preceding the publication of my novel, started a website, chocked it full of content and do my best to blog every day and set up various accounts in Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, Facebook, etc., etc. My novel is on consignment in about a half dozen stores, I’ve done signings in a few places and I’ve chipped in on some stuff my publisher needed help with. Oh yeah, and I was on TV a few days before Halloween, talking about my book.
All that has mounted up to a tremendous amount of time not writing The Golden Ones, my next novel. A couple months ago my wife bought me a word processor and I have been able to do a good deal of catching up as I can write much faster with it than in my notebook, but what may on the outside look like a lackadaisical approach to writing the next one is actually me biting off and chewing a tremendously unexpected amount.
Aside from the sequel I am currently blogging a story on my website, formulating a new story and gearing up on a collaboration. By my third or fourth novel I should have it all worked out.
The Ghost Toucher
Thanks for being a guest today, Gerald. I enjoyed reading your post. And your books sounds intriguing, come back and visit one day and talk about it.