In the publishing “real world” … the land of Penguin and Little, Brown, Random House, Harper Collins … authors generally publish one book a year. Some, like James Patterson (with his writing partners who probably do most of the work) can publish more frequently. But, it’s fairly normal for a new release to burst onto the scene everything 12-18 months. I know I’ve been waiting for Gillian Flynn to follow-up Dark Places for almost two years now — which will be her third release.
But, with an Independent Author, the back list seems to be a crucial component in the true, measurable success. It’s fairly basic … fans find an author, read a book and want more. Obviously, if an author has several completed works available, the visibility of that person can grow … and there is no lag.
But, for me, my first book is literally my first book. I have no back list, no completed series, nothing really to offer outside of my initial release. The Milestone Tapes isn’t a story that lends itself to a series … I have to start back at jump street.
My second book … as of today … is the sum of about 3,000 words. Because I’m pretty certain my genre requires a minimum of 75,000 words, I’m obviously nowhere near done. And with no back list, I’m starting to worry about a big problem looming.
My plan has always been this … sink a lot of my money into PR. Get my name and voice out there. I always assumed that while the first book was away … being polished and taken care of … I could commit to writing my second. It was a good plan … but totally unrealistic. I still had to really work towards getting the book ready with a million little fine details that only I could take hold of.
Now, I’m faced with no back list … and nothing concrete to follow.
My choice is this
1. Hold The Milestone Tapes until I’m done with the second book.
2. Go forward and then write like a lunatic and hope that within six months I can publish book two.
So, if you’re an author … tell me …how did you plan for release number one? What did you think about following the first release? What was your game plan?