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.
author of THE MARK
coming July, 2007 from MIRA books
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