Killer Year–The Class of 2007

Getting Ahead of Yourself
December 4, 2006, 10:42 am
Filed under: Jason Pinter, Killer Year Founders, Killer Year Members

I’ve been working full speed ahead on my second Henry Parker novel, scheduled to come out in January 2008, with the working title of THE REGULATOR. While writing the book I’ve also been ripping through my page proofs, compiling media contacts who should be notified of press events for the book, trying to figure out how to redesign my website without actually spending any money, and wondering just how much my website and/or blog might make me look like a tool.

Not to mention the whole day job thing, but that’s not exciting to talk about (if you have a hankering for some great P&L stories, drop me an email).

The publication of THE MARK is a mere seven months away, and already I’m worrying about things that, nine months ago, I would have killed to worry about. Worried you might not have the perfect cover? Shut up you baby, at least you have a cover. Pounding Red Bull to get through another 100 pages of proofs? Cry me a river, you Justin Timberlake pansy boy.

The fact is, there’s a lot to worry about, not least of all is my second book. Going through my page proofs, I can’t help but think that THE MARK is a pretty good book. A few rough spots here and there I’m trying to smooth over, but not bad for a first effort. The second book, though, that’s a whole ‘nother story.

When writing your first book, there’s no pressure. Unless you live in some sort of magic land (possibly inhabited by Donald Trump and/or Ross Perot), you don’t have a contract before sitting down to write your first novel. So you have time to really bust your ass without anyone looking over your shoulder (unless Ross is particularly frisky). Your second book, though, you’ve gone from a solitary room to an auditorium with full peanut gallery. There’s your publisher. Your agent. Your family, who now realizes that this whole “writing thing” might actually have potential. A lot of people have a stake in that second book, so say farewell to writing in a vacuum.

Then there’s the self doubt. Your first book was likely a labor of love. You really want that second book to carry on your expectations, but what if you don’t have the magic again? What if you were a one-book pony (kind of like Sean Connery’s character in “Finding Forrester.” You know, that whole you’re the man now, dog! deal). There’s a lot riding on that second book. And you still have 200 pages of proofs to go over.

From what I can tell, this is hardly a lone sentiment. I’ve read multiple-time bestselling authors with millions of copies in print lament that their new work might be a piece of crap. The funny thing is, though, once an author has reached a certain level of success, their downside is still ridiculously high. I had a conversation with a colleague once about a bestselling author he edited, saying that even if said author pooped in a box, it would still sell 200,000 copies in hardcover.

Nobody at Killer Year can get away with that golden poop just yet. So there’s a hell of a lot to worry about.

Still, though, it’s a whole lot more fun to have a lot to worry about that nothing at all.

Jason Pinter

author of THE MARK

coming July, 2007 from MIRA books

The Man in Black


5 Comments so far
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Amen to that. I’ve been finishing this draft for a week, and every day I keep saying I just need to write two more scenes. And I do, but each day I find a new detail that I’ve overlooked, a plot hole, whatever, that necessitates another 2,000 words…
I’ve never been over 80,000 words on a first draft. I plowed through that yesterday. Does that mean I’ve gotten better at getting the whole story in the first go around, or that I’m throwing in the kitchen sink to make sure it’s a better book than the first?
I don’t know. I’ll tell you after I get these two scenes written.

Comment by killeryear

The image of golden poop will carry me through the day.

I don’t even know what to think about my next book right now. I’ve finished a first draft, and am chipping away at the second, but I have no sense of it. A few folks have said encouraging things about it, which is great to hear (especially my agent!), but self-doubt is all over the place right now.

Still, yeah, what a thing to have self-doubt about. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining — I wouldn’t trade now for then, that’s for sure.

Comment by Bill Cameron

It doesn’t stop with your second book, Jason. One fabulous, multi-published author told me that every book is harder than the last because you are always striving to write better, tell a better story, push yourself. I don’t know if she was trying to make me feel better as I was lamenting my second book, or if she was trying to scare me away! LOL.

I’m in the middle of writing my sixth book and panicking, worried that it’s not going to be as strong as my others.

There is one small satisfaction. I just read the page proofs for book #5 and I think it’s the best I’ve written to date. Which just adds to the panic for book #6 because how can I top it?

And what Bill said–I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t trade this job for any other, stress, panic, neuroses, and all.

Comment by Allison Brennan

Geez. Didja have to climb in my brain and tell every single doubt? (grin)

Like you, I’m thrilled to have this stuff to worry about, but that doesn’t lessen the fear. In fact, I think the gratitude of simply being published, knowing I now have a chance to be read, has increased that fear because I don’t want to blow it, especially for the people who’ve believed in me and staked some of their reputation on that belief. (And a lot of their time and effort.) Good to know it’s a common feeling, though, and that I’m not just being paranoid. You know, more than usual.

Comment by toni mcgee causey

My second book is brilliant.

Okay, okay, maybe not. How the hell would I know? I’m only writing it.

Jason, I’m right there with you on the pressure thing. Book two is a bitch.

Comment by Rob Gregory Browne

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