Wednesday, 16 August 2017

You've published the book, now what?

In the past few months I've published two novels. One is a 100K science fiction novel, the second book in a series. The other is a 30K novella, also the second in the series. I've sent them off into the world and I need to promote them to get them into the hands of readers. That's a given. Newsletters, blog tours, ads, social media blasts, the list is endless.

Promotion can be hard, it can also be fun. It's a necessary evil and one that we're all trying and tweaking, because what works for one author doesn't work for all.

But there's another step that always stumps me in this "what now?" phase. Writing the next book. Not just the next book in the series, but any book.

 
One of the hardest things I find about writing is moving on from a completed novel to a blank page. Writing the first draft is different to proofreading the final version, so much has happened to get a book from A to B.  I've drafted, edited, developed characters, developed arcs. Then I've proofread, cover designed, formatted, uploaded, and hit the publish button, in this case on Book 2 of a series, but where to now?

My first dilemma is of course, which book do I start? Do I write Book 3 while the story is fresh in my head? Do I write another horror novella since Halloween is coming and it's good timing? Do I dust off those other manuscripts and work on them for a change of pace?

The second dilemma is going from a polished and perfected piece of work, to writing something that is recognized as being 'meh'. The first draft is not supposed to read brilliantly, and I've just spent weeks reading over a book that reads better than any first draft I'll ever write. It can be a challenge to shift gears and just write the first draft.

It is said that we should edit as we write, and I agree with this methodology. Get the words down in the first draft, and the magic happens in edits. Which is why it's always so difficult for me to move onto writing a new book. The first draft is always a pile of poo.


Here is what I'll do to get me over this hurdle:

STEP 1:
Choose a book to write. Looking at my calendar of events, I can get "Danger in the Dirt" the third horror novella in "The Shivers Novellas" series written in time for Halloween so that's the first book. Next, I want to take Book 3 of "Welcome to the Apocalypse" to SupaNova next June. So these are the 2 projects I must work on.

I must also chant daily "Do not start working on that thriller or that romance novel. You have two series to finish."

STEP 2:
Write the overview of the book - the plot line, motivation of characters in each chapter, this happens then this happens. I'll plot it out so I can then fill in the blanks.

STEP 3:
I'll give myself a word target each day. 500 or a 1,000 or even 2,000 if I have nothing else to do that day. And I'll write until I reach that target. So the aim is to get the story down and not worry about if I'm using my words correctly. The magic happens in edits.

STEP 4:
I'll remind myself to have fun. I think that's an important step too many writers are overlooking. They're placing deadlines on themselves and stress to keep up with these deadlines. I'm meant to be enjoying this.


I hope these tips might help you with your writing.

Cheers for now
D L

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