Sunday, 29 May 2011

Writing Tip - Be Prepared

Okay, so you've written your first book. You've sent it out to agents or publishers. Now it's just a waiting game. You can put your feet up, relax and wait for the phone calls. Right?


What you do now is make a start on book two. Without delay. You do that for two reasons.
Reason number one is that your first book will probably bomb. Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear, but that's the harsh reality. Most first attempts at novel writing do not get picked up, no matter what stories you've read in the press. The chances are that you're not an exception, and so you need to move on. Writing gets better with practice, so treat that first book as part of the learning curve and write an even better second novel. That's the kind of persistence and determination you'll need in this business.

Reason number two: I could be wrong. Maybe you are the one in a million whose first book does get picked up. Or (more likely) you've written several books already, without success, but this is finally your time. This is when you finally get that magic phone call that I talked about in an earlier blog post - the one in which an editor says, 'We'd like to publish your book.'

But then you come down from the ceiling. You compose yourself. You try to listen to what else the editor has to say. Do you know what's coming next? I'll tell you. It's a question. Along the lines of: 'How far have you got with your next book?'

Next book?

See, publishers aren't interested in one-night stands. They prefer long-term relationships. They're quite traditional in that way. They expect to be wooed with the promise of further fruits of your labour.

The one thing you absolutely must not do at this point is say something like, 'Actually, I thought I would just write the one book.' Or, 'I don't have any plans for future books at this stage.' That's the kiss of death - the lack of commitment that will ensure the engagement ring gets thrown back in your face.

If you're planning to be published, then you have to plan to be published again and again and again. Which is what I imagine most authors want anyway, so it shouldn't be too much of a hardship.

So be ready for that question. When it comes, be positive. Reassure your potential partner that you are not trifling with affections.

And then go ahead and enjoy a long and happy life together.

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