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  1. #1
    Ayo Akinfe

    When do you move on to next book?

    Those of you that have published more than one book, when did you feel content to leave one project alone and move on to the next? Did you wait until you had signed a contract with a publisher on your first one, move on immediately after you had an agency representation contract or proceed as soon as you had sent out your full MS?

    Those who may have moved on immediately, did you find it easy to concentrate on your next book despite knowing the first one was not out? Basically, you need to draw a line somewhere and say this is it. I want to start on my next project. The question is where is that line.

  2. #2
    Keith .

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    Nah, I can't do it. Too easy.

  3. #3
    Cathy C

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    Honestly, it doesn't matter much what the state of the first book is. One of the things you're going to have to learn if you hope to write multiple novels is being able to jump in and out of the story, and the voice of the characters, at a moment's notice. I tend to give myself a few weeks to get the first book out of my head and then leap into the next one. Once you're under contract and "working on proposal" (i.e., you have a contract for unnamed, and unwritten, books that have to be turned in at X date) You've got to be able to juggle writing on one book, making edits on another book, possibly making copy edits on a third and galley proofing on a fourth. AND, you have to be thinking about the next two or three so you can write synopses and chapters in a day or two if the editor wants a taste before offering a deal.

    I'm writing into 2009 right now, with three books "in the pipeline" in some stage of completion. Just this morning, for example, there was an edit letter on one manuscript and I just turned in galley proofs on another one, all while I'm writing a third.

    Whether or not you can concentrate or WANT to write doesn't matter to the publisher. They're on deadline and expect the book, in publishable form, when it's due. That's why I recommend to every aspiring author I meet to write as many as you can in the early days. The process was a lot less stressful when we had a stack of manuscripts on the shelf that we could just hand over. But those days are gone now, and it's a bit of a scramble some days.

    My best advice is not to worry about whether you "feel" like writing, or "want" to write. Just sit down and do it. Every day. Butt in chair. Once it's a habit, it's much easier to pump out the words and give yourself the TIME you need to concentrate.

  4. #4
    Kitty Foyle

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    Ayo is wondering, The question is where is that line.

    Did that naughty scamp run away again? Here boy...here boy!

    Where indeed.

    Ayo, from what I hear about you folks who write novels, you should always have another one simmering on the back burner -- one that you work on to keep from going crazy while sending out queries for the first book. In fact, have your fingers in several pies, if possible.

    One's person's "line" is another's ...um...crack.


  5. #5

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    I've been wondering where that hole in my pie came from.

    Stay outa my kitchen, Ayo.

  6. #6
    Ayo Akinfe

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    Thanks Cathy but in the early days before you got your first one published, were you able to pick yourself up and write another one before you signed a contract? If you have an advance cheque in hand, I guess it is a lot easier to motivate yourself to write.

  7. #7
    Dave Odle

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    I don't think this is a question aimed solely at published writers, Ayo. You're assuming your work is good enough to be published. Moreover, this is a long process and it may take several months (years) to reach fruition, even if your work is good enough.

    I finished my first novel five years ago. I've been trying to find an agent since then and have had no luck. I posted the query on this forum and more recently, posted some excerpts to get objective feedback. The feedback helped tremendously.
    But, in the years since I completed that book, I've written two others and I'm well into a third. I'd love to have that novel published, but it has become a 'testing ground' (not by choice, I might add since when I finished it, I thought it was awesome). Thank goodness I moved on to new stuff. I've queried five agents on one of my newer books - I was rejected by four (actually one of those has not responded yet) and asked for a partial on the fifth. Most importantly, two of the agents provided feedback on the rejections - I never received that on the previous ones (one even sent me an email, not just a response either, to say he'd like to see it again when the suggested revisions are completed). So, I think I'm getting better at it... I think.

    Point being, you can always get better and you can only do that by doing it a lot.

    Of course, I am not a published writer, so my opinion is probably irrelevent.

  8. #8
    Ayo Akinfe

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    Your opinion was very helpful Dave. Like you, I have a lot of books in my head and several planned but this one I have just completed is the main classic for me.

    Even if I wrote 50 more, I will always cherish this one the best. I praise people like you who can pick themselves up and get on with it despite not being published for five years.

    By the way, it is not always true that you get better. Chinua Achebe's first book Things Fall Apart is by far his best. He published it in 1958 and it has sold 11m copies worldwide and been translated into 50 languages.

    It is on the literature syllabus of over 30 countries. All of Achebe's subsequent books put together cannot match Things Fall Apart. If you take a look at Salman Rushdie too, nothing he has done since Midnight's Children is as good.

  9. #9
    Rick Armstrong

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    I am not published (yet) but I am in the process of doing the final proof read of my first novel and I am already outlining the second. Actually I should say my wife is doing my final proof read since I can't see my own typos; that gives me nothing to do but start on my next project.


  10. #10
    Ayo Akinfe

    Re: When do you move on to next book?

    Rick, did you have the strength to start your second one before you had signed a publishing contract?

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