In Between Books
When you finish writing a book, what do you do? Do you let it sit? Do you get right to work editing it? What about once you’re done with the editing process? Do you publish right away or wait until just the right moment? And what about your next project? When do you get that started?
I’ve been writing pretty much nonstop, churning out books for the past fifteen years. I’ve currently got 30 books written and all but two published (one’s up for pre-order, the other is with my editor). Some books I’ve taken years to write, some months. I’ve taken a week off here and there but never have I taken an extended break from writing – not once in all this time. I’ve always had a book (sometimes more than one) at some stage of the planning or writing process.
At this moment, it’s been about three weeks since I’ve written a piece of fiction. Three weeks! That’s the longest I’ve gone not writing in fifteen years! You know what? I’m feeling it!
I’m feeling a mix of itchiness to get working again and yet… I’m also kind of enjoying this time off.
Oh, now, don’t for a moment think that I’m not working on my author career in all that time. I am. I’ve been publishing and marketing my books like normal. I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to write next (a completely new trilogy, a new series). But I haven’t actually been writing or plotting (which, for me is part of my writing process), I’ve simply been too busy preparing for my move to a new country (somehow the last time I moved to a new country, I don’t remember taking this long to get stuff done or being so busy. I don’t quite know why I wasn’t. I guess things are a little more complicated this time).
There are many authors who finish writing a book, put what they’ve written into a drawer, and immediately start on their next book. After a few weeks or a month, they pause in their writing of the next book to read and edit the first book. It’s a great way to work. You continue that forward momentum and still are able to look at your work with a clean and critical eye once you take out that first book again.
There are some authors who get started on the editing process right away and get the book ready to publish before they begin on the next book. There are others who take a break and do something completely different for a few weeks before getting moving on to the next project. There isn’t any right way to do it.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to do what feels right for you at that moment. Sometimes you’re on a roll and are writing a series and it makes sense to just keep moving forward. Sometimes Life Happens and you’ve got to take a break to attend to it. And sometimes you just need a break.
It’s all good. It’s all right. You should do what you need to do.
The hardest part of taking a break, at least for me, is that I worry that my readers won’t stick with me if they don’t get a book for some time. But, there are other things you can do to keep their attention:
Put out a newsletter on a regular basis to keep your readers up to date on what you’re up to
Publish a box set of previously published work.
Write a novella related to your last series and publish that.
Write a short story or novella and publish it in an anthology with the work of other authors (that can take a little organizing and the timing of it may be out of your control)
Don’t worry. Your readers love your work. They’ll be there, rejoicing, when you publish your next book, whenever that will be!
Yes, it’s that last one I’ve had the most trouble with, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great option. So, don’t worry. If you need time, take it. If you don’t, fantastic! Keep moving forward. Just do what is right for you. Do what you need to do for your own peace of mind.
Me? After three weeks, I’m going to get started plotting and planning my next trilogy, but I’m going to take it a little slow, I’ve still got Life to deal with.