time & books & paradoxes

As many of you regular blog readers already know, I just recently set aside the novel I spent the last 14 months working on and decided to instead focus on a different story.

Today my editor emailed me with a new timeline: Salt Novel will likely be published in summer 2018.

On the one hand, this is such a relief. I’m tremendously grateful for an editor who cares so much about putting out a quality piece of literature that she’s willing to give me the space to make it the best it can be. So many publishers seem to demand a book a year from their authors, and my life is just not conducive to that kind of rushed production. I’m lucky.

On the other hand, one of my writer-friends just announced today his book deal for books #3 and #4. He debuted with me last year. His second book comes out this year. The third in 2017, and the fourth in 2018. And I can’t help but think, Wow, he will have four books out when my second one is published. There’s a little bit of envy there, yes.

I don’t know. I’d love to be prolific, but the stress of producing a book a year doesn’t feel worth it or even realistic for me. I am so glad for the extended timeline, but then I wonder old books isolated on whiteif my career is going to be hampered by it.

Just sounding off tonight. Needed to type up my thoughts. Care to chime in?: do you get antsy when your favorite writers take a long time to write their books? Or do you appreciate it?


23 thoughts on “time & books & paradoxes

    • Good question! It depends on what they purchase from the author– sometimes they just buy the one book; sometimes they offer a 2- or 3-book deal. My deal was for Truest plus an unwritten second book. Harper also has an option clause on me, which means that my third book has to be offered to them first!

      • Many authors will write for a variety of different publishers. They might sell their first book to one publisher, and if it doesn’t do so hot, the publisher might not want to buy a second one, so the literary agent finds a new home for the author.

  1. Jackie, think of all the notable writers throughout history. Think of some of your favorites. How many books did they write in their lifetimes? How long did they take between each book? There’s a lot of variety out there. Each author’s process is about as different as their styles. You’re different, so are others. You’re doing great. I’m so excited for your next novel!

    • True, true, true, true. In fact, many of the writers in “olden days” would only write a handful of novels– really, really great ones. I don’t want to be the author of 100 mediocre stories. Time is important. I’m trying to feel grateful!

  2. I only get impatient when it is a series. It is alright when I know one is in the works but when there’s no sign to another book coming out when you feel that there could be at least one if not two more and the author has admitted it too, then I want to turn into the annoying kid in the back seat but instead of asking “are we there yet?” I’m asking “are you working on it?” Megan Whalen Turner, I need more Gen! Part of me would love to see that series become a move and part of me doesn’t since book adaptations can go horribly wrong. I’m also not sure how well the first book would translate to screen.

  3. So many of my favorites take years between books. Think of John Green! Augustus took serious time to write. It’s so hard not to be comparative in this business, because there is literal evidence of comparison everywhere (best seller lists, publisher’s weekly deals, goodreads).

  4. I do get antsy when favorite authors take their time between novels, especially series, but I know that if they’re taking their time, it either means that they need it personally, or that they need more time to put out beautiful work. I’d rather wait and have the jaw-dropping than to be disappointed by one of my heroes.

  5. It’s so hard to not compare oneself to other writers, but we’ve got to resist it. Some writers write a book every few months—they’ve got a formula for each book which they alter each time. Some write only one in sixty years (RIP, Harper Lee). Some write all day, every day. Some write fifteen minutes every week. Quality and quantity aren’t always antithetical, but they can be. Try to focus on one or the other.

    Writers are as different as seeds. One might sprout fifteen summer squash, while another sprouts a single oak. Is one more valuable than the other?

  6. Jackie,

    It was lovely meeting you yesterday at UNWSP. Thank you, not only for your time with my daughter as she decides colleges, but also for letting me ask about your writing. Congratulations on this second book and the time to work on it. I’m sorry for the disappointments, delays, and the putting on hold of your other manuscript. Hang in there! You’ve got this!

    I appreciated your vulnerability as I browsed back through older posts here yesterday. It gives me glimpses into you and makes you even more approachable.

    Jennifer Dougan

  7. There are still books by H. G. Wells I want to read but haven’t yet. So, if I ever do get impatient for a favorite writer’s next book, I have many classics to read in the meantime.

    You probably know better than me the true source of your worth and value, and his love does not depend on your prolificity or career.

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