Wednesday, March 07, 2007

WRITING: Second novel/subs

Today the sun shone here in Yorkshire. All day! It felt so much better. Let’s hope it lasts. I’m slowly starting to get on top of my chest infection, still coughing, but hoping to get back to a normal schedule soon. It has really knocked me back, not to mention the antibiotics. The news of the novel sale has helped pick me up though, as you can imagine.

I said I’d reflect a bit on the submission process for this, my second contemporary erotic romance novel. I’d seen many newly signed authors reporting about the pressure surrounding the second novel. It's true. You write it from a very different place -- experienced, more knowing, calmer, more aware. You’ve been through the editing process and the reviews, learned from them. You’ve also got people with expectations involved, important people like editors and agents. It has to be bigger, better, more exciting than the first novel. That’s scary, but exciting, too! I know I've learned heaps since I wrote DOUBLE DARE, and I was keen to show that. My attitude was “bring it on” :)

Procedures are different, though. When I was aspiring, deadlines were of my own making, and subbing material was like sending it into a wild blue yonder where the fantasy of hearing back was the thing that kept me going. I talked a bit about partials a few days ago, and RECKLESS was sold on a partial. It’s actually my third contract sale on a partial (SEX LIES AND BONDAGE TAPE, and UNVEILING THE SORCERESS being the first two.) When I opened the partial for RECKLESS I absolutely loved what I have there, but now that it’s contracted I can’t wait to go back in and layer in all the little ideas I’ve had for it over the intervening time. That’s what I was thinking about when I posted about partials. ;)

And there was plenty of intervening time. If you put “Reckless” into the site search box above left, you’ll find that I mentioned the proposal when it was subbed, back in June. Why the long wait? Because the schedule was full/closed for the time being. My editor loved what I’d put in, but nothing could move at that time. One of the things I've learnt (that never even occurred to me when I was originally aspiring) is how much the publishing industry operates around the schedule. Obvious when you think about it, but it only began to sink in for me a couple of years ago, when I noticed how many books each line put out. If it’s, say, one per month, that’s only twelve slots per year. If the publisher fills the schedule a year in advance, the window may open and close at certain agreed times. That’s not how I pictured things happening when I was sending stuff in, back in my early days, but in retrospect it explained a lot. It really helps to put yourself in the editor/publisher shoes, and think about what restrictions and procedures they might be working under.

Getting the second novel sale is incredibly important, and I’m thrilled to bits to be at this stage!! It's the best news. For me, personally, my SEX, LIES novella was more accomplished than DOUBLE DARE, and I want to make that next step and show what I can do with RECKLESS.

I’ll post a bit about the story ideas and my planned writing schedule for this one at the weekend.

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