Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Post Book Deal Writing and the Six Week Wait

LIFE IN BOOLEAN VARIABLES is done. The first draft, at least. Any writer, published or aspiring, will tell you first drafts do not really equal "done", but it feels good to use that word right now. I have a complete manuscript and an official follow-up to I AM DRUMS.

It feels especially good because LIBV gave me a lot of trouble. I almost abandoned it for another project multiple times. I thankfully discovered through my fellow debut authors at Fearless Fifteeners that the second book (or, in most cases, the first book post book deal) is usually a terrible process. Expectations are all over the place. You want to assure everyone who has invested in you that you are not a one trick pony. This is all ridiculous thinking, but try telling that to me several months ago.

Some articles by fellow writers have helped me feel less insane about the whole thing:

N.K. Traver wrote an excellent blog post called "Second Book Syndrome". She discusses this whole thing with better words than I am using in this post.

Robin LaFevers wrote an article, The Crushing Weight of Expectations, which covers almost every fear I've experienced since the book deal went through.

In reality, the worst thing you can do is worry -- all it does is freeze you in place and make you question the authenticity of your writing when what you should really be doing is WRITING WRITING WRITING and seeing what comes out. I've never benefited from expectations, genre-chasing, or questioning my literary credentials. I've benefited from putting my ass in a chair and writing.

Now that LIFE IN BOOLEAN VARIABLES is done, I have set a date on my calendar exactly six weeks from the moment I finished. That is the minimum amount of time I must wait before reading through and spotting all the silly grammatical and plotting mistakes I've made. It provides distance from your role as writer and helps you to see your work through an objective reader's lens. Last time I used this model, I ended up with a book that was bought by a real publisher. It probably won't hurt to do that again.

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