Write Another Book

Back in the days when I was querying a single book, it was easy to become consumed by the process of writing letters, emailing agents, and receiving subsequent rejections. Requests for partial manuscripts created the ultimate high, while “sorry, this isn’t the project for us,” sent my spirits spiraling into the abyss. While researching agents and reading tips on how to craft the perfect query letter, I stumbled upon a bit of advice to help authors survive the querying process. Actually, I saw this advice in more than one place and I’m going to share it with you:

Write another book.

Pretty simple, really. While querying The Claiming Words, I was writing the second and third books in the series, so I figured I was doing a pretty good job of following that advice. When the querying process got tough, I could distract myself by immersing myself in my fantasy world. Once I’d racked up twenty rejection letters, my other works-in-progress weren’t doing a very good job of distracting me, because what’s the point of writing an entire series of books if you can’t get anyone to publish the first one? (Back then, I thought the only path to publication was the agent/traditional publisher route. I didn’t even consider self-publishing.  I was innocent and foolish back in the early days. )

I still think “Write another book” is good advice for the querying writer; however, I think it’s important to write a totally, completely different book. Don’t get too caught up in one series. Even if you land that agent or publisher, those other books in the series could take years to see publication—if ever. Write your series—but write other stuff too.

“Write another book” is great advice for any author, whether published or unpublished. Not only can writing another book distract you from the querying process for a book you’re currently pitching, it can distract you when sales aren’t so great for a book you’ve already published. Writing hones your skills—the only way to become a better writer is to write. Writing (and publishing) another book builds your resume. It’s easier to gain a following when you have more than one book under your belt.

Here’s how writing another book helped me. I wrote The Fifth Circle for two reasons:  because I’d been writing books in the same series for so long, I wanted to see if I had what it took to write an unrelated book AND because it was a good distraction from the endless rounds of writing/editing/querying of The Claiming Words. When one book (or in my case, series) didn’t work out, I had something to fall back on. I have other books too, finished and unfinished. I can always write more.

A real writer writes. It’s as simple as that. I’ve seen writers who finish their first book and become so caught up in querying/self-publishing/marketing, they never seem to find the time to write another. If all your time is spent promoting one book and you don’t have time to write, you’re not a writer anymore—you’re a salesperson. Cut back on marketing and get back to what you love. Write another book. Rediscover your favorite characters or create new ones to fall in love with. Just write.

 

 

 


16 thoughts on “Write Another Book

  1. Quite right, Trica. Or quite Write! It’s not just trying to get published than can be the problem, either. Back when I was on Authonomy I got bogged down in an endless cycle of return reads and reviews while I tried to move my book up the ratings, and I didn’t have time to write anything else. Until I did a bit of flash fiction for a competition, and realised that actually writing was much more fun!

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    1. I get caught up with my Authors to Watch duties and that takes away from my writing time. I need to re-commit and get some writing done. Soon! Paul, I had the same problem on Authonomy. The return reads sometimes became overwhelming. I did meet some amazing people on that site that made it all worth it.

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  2. Fabulous advice, Tricia – and it worked for me. I was reluctant to write the second book in my series for exactly the reasons you mentioned above. So I started a different novel, which was fun. And when I did eventually get a publisher for my debut novel, guess what? She was interested in that second series too! I’ve now got two series of books for sale with Knox Robinson Publishing.
    Best wishes,
    Karen Charlton
    author of ‘Catching the Eagle’ and ‘The Missing Heiress’

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  3. So true! And I’m finding it’s much easier to objectively edit that first book/series when it’s not the only thing you’ve got going on. Putting my fantasy series aside and doing some contemporary Canadian vampires has been a great help to me. It will probay never go anywhere, but the distraction and the distance are doing wonders for me. Thanks for this post!

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    1. Distance is important. When all I had was The Claiming Words, I cried over any bad criticism I received. Once I started other projects it changed my perspective. I hope your Canadian vampires are a big hit. I find the idea intriguing.

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  4. Great advice, Tricia. I often wonder if receiving serial rejections, or serial snubs isn’t simply the mark of a query letter that doesn’t push the right buttons. The knowledge that when you’ve had enough rejections you can always self pub really takes the agony out of it. So make sure you keep writing, honing, improving, so when you do decide to take the plunge you don’t make a fool of yourself.
    I must add that The Fifth Circle is an impeccably edited book, FAR better than many so-called professionally published books.

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    1. Writing a good query letter requires an entirely different skill set than writing a novel. Maybe authors should hire sales or marketing professionals to write their queries. Or is that cheating?

      Thank you so much for your compliment of The Fifth Circle. I have to be honest–I did something I never,ever suggest that others do. I did the final edit and proofread on my own. I simply couldn’t afford to outsource. I’m glad it turned out okay.

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  5. Wise words, that’s an excellent point.

    Every time I get down about my piss poor sales I stop trying to sell and write. Because writing is what I do best, and I enjoy it, and it’s what I’m there for and the minute I stop angsting about sales and do some, I feel better.

    Cheers

    MTM

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    1. Oh, I’m with you. I hate trying to sell myself and my book. I feel like a pimp. I’d much rather write and chat with other authors and post Grumpy Cat pics. I’m the worst salesperson. I wish I could hire a PR firm.

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  6. Hehe, you’re right Tricia. Always good advice especially when you have hit the dreaded writer’s block as I have done. It’s maybe because I’ve been caught up on trying to market my first book or because of family matter, possibly even both. I’ve been toying with another series called Camelot’s Return, a collection of short stories. And a newly recent one that I’ve bbeen playing with for the last couple of months. Who knows, I might be able to get back to my second book of the Dylan Knight series. Hehe, sorry didn’t mean to mention it and make it sound like I’m shamelessly plugging it.

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    1. You’ve had so much going on, Greg. Most people would develop writers block, so don’t feel bad. You simply haven’t had the time or energy. Never fear–you’ll be back to writing in no time.

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  7. Writing is a way to honor The Sacred Spirit inside of yourself. It isn’t important, in the final analysis, that you have a huge following. If only one person resonates to your voice and is uplifted, you have become fully human.

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  8. You said it! I just love your words:”If all your time is spent promoting one book and you don’t have time to write, you’re not a writer anymore—you’re a salesperson. Cut back on marketing and get back to what you love. Write another book. Rediscover your favorite characters or create new ones to fall in love with. Just write.” I’ve been feeling so guilty as I haven’t had as much to write as I used to. Marketing is eating my hours and there are readers that are actually waiting for me to release the sequels of the books they love…Yeah, bye now…I’m off to write 🙂

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