On Valentines Day I had lunch with some writing friends from my local RWA chapter before we spoke at the Duxbury Free Library. Whenever writers get together, we talk about the writer's craft and the topic always seems to lead to "what's next?"
Writers live in a perpetual state of hopeful anguish. We scribble away furiously before "the call," uncertain whether we've got the juice to be published. But the dream of seeing our name on the cover is so potent, we can't help but have stories dripping from our fingers.
Then once the magic happens and we take those first steps into the world of the "Published Author," we live in fear of being a one-book wonder until we snag our second contract. Even multiple books doesn't lessen this fear. STROKE OF GENIUS will be my 8th title, but the nagging "Will there be a 9th?" is always there.
I tend to write more slowly as I near "the end" on my manuscripts. Probably because once I finish, I have to face the next round of pulling together a proposal for another book. In some ways, published authors have an easier time of things since we don't have to write the entire manuscript before we submit it. A proposal is typically 3 chapters and a synopsis, though it can be less. I sold STROKE OF GENIUS on the strength of the title and a paragraph, but that's not the norm.
Contrary to what you might think, a book proposal is not a slam-dunk, even for NYTimes Bestsellers. I was visiting my friend Elizabeth Boyle's website the other day (love, Love, LOVE her work!) and on her blog she shared that she was in writer's limbo--that space of time between submitting a proposal and getting it accepted by the powers on high. If a writer of Elizabeth's calibre has to wait on pins for approval, there's no surprise that the rest of us do too.
Back to lunch with my writing buddies . . . I've always played things pretty close to my vest. If I talk about what's in the works too much, I'm afraid I'll jinx it. That's why I was surprised when Marie Force was telling us about a proposal she had pending with Carina (Harlequin's new ebook imprint). I'm waiting for an answer on a proposal myself, but I just couldn't open my mouth to share it. Then a couple days later, Marie emails to tell us that her proposal was accepted in a multi-book deal.
So I got to thinking... maybe it's good to toss my hopes on the wind. Can speaking it make it so?
It's worth a shot.
What are you working on, hoping for, or waiting to hear back on?
PS. Today I'm also at The Chatelaines, so hope you'll join me there as well! Have a great weekend!