Friday, March 12, 2010

What Do I Do Now?

Okay, so here's the scenario. You're a reasonably successful guy, with a professional career spanning nearly three decades, doing a fairly important job, making pretty good money. But what you always wanted to do was write fiction.

So you do. You start by writing short stories, getting some of them published, garnering a little recognition, which is cool. You're pleased. But what you really really always wanted to do was write novels.

So you do. You write your first full-length manuscript and get zero interest from agents and/or publishers, which is not cool. But you're undeterred, so you write your second full-length manuscript and again get zero interest from agents and/or publishers. Still uncool.

So, not recognizing the wisdom of the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result - you write a third manuscript. This time, though - Woohoo! - you sell the manuscript, with a publication date for your debut novel of February, 2011.

Here's the question: What do you do next?

That's the situation I find myself in. I'm incredibly blessed to have achieved my dream of selling a novel, with FINAL VECTOR to be published next year by Medallion Press, but now I'm left scratching my head, wondering how to follow it up.

It's a wonderful problem to have, I'll be the first to admit that, and one which I can't deny I thought I might never have to worry about. But my book doesn't come out for almost a year, and although I'm determined to do my level best to promote it and hopefully achieve some decent sales numbers for a first novel, I don't want to wait almost two years before trying to sell a followup.

So there's the dilemma: What do I try to sell? I'm currently nearing the end of my editing/rewriting/polishing phase of a thriller tentatively titled THE LONELY MILE, which I believe is the equivalent in quality to FINAL VECTOR, maybe even better. But it's not an aviation-themed book, and FINAL VECTOR is an air traffic control thriller.

So would my best chance for a followup be to write another aviation book? I intend to do that next, anyway, but I would hate to think of THE LONELY MILE sitting on a shelf (Or, more accurately, sitting in my computer's hard drive) getting . . . well . . . lonely.

Plus, to complicate matters, I have a supernatural thriller titled PASKAGANKEE that I believe is a damned fine book, too, also gathering dust in my hard drive. It's an embarrassment of riches, unless I'm deluding myself, which I can't deny is always a possibility.

Any thoughts?

The only thing I certain of is that I'm going to keep writing while I try to decide. My goal every day is to write something that is better than what I wrote yesterday. I don't expect that to change any time soon.


Jill Sorenson said...

Are you trying to get an agent? That never hurts. You can also discuss your next project with your current editor, and ask to submit an idea proposal.

I've heard it's easier to sell similar projects, at least those in the same genre (thriller, in your case).

Good luck!

Al Leverone said...

Hi Jill, I'm absolutely trying to get an agent. My plan, as it stands right now, is to finish polishing my current manuscript and hopefully use it to interest an agent. I even know exactly which agent would be ideal, although he may not share my enthusiasm...

I'm not planning on leaving the thriller genre behind, I just don't know whether another aviation-themed book would give me a better chance at gaining representation or not. I hope not, since the manuscript I've been working on for the last few months isn't one...