Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sophomore What Now?

So as some of you know, my agent and I recently accepted an offer on my first book (and yay smilies and bunnies and such and yes, colors really are brighter and everything does taste better.)

What's funny, really, is saying "First book." Because the book in question isn't my first. I don't mean I have a bunch of trunk novels locked away that aren't submit worthy--not that I don't, but I know enough not to count those--I mean that I have several other publishable [hopefully] manuscripts that I submitted to agents when I was still agent-shopping. The manuscript that hooked my agent is, actually, not the one I just sold.

So Manuscript Z that just got the book deal will be sold and marketed as my first book. Which is awesome and everything, because Manuscript Z is awesome. The next few books of mine that get offers, though, are much more likely to be Manuscript X and Manuscript Y, not anything new I've written since Manuscript X, simply because those aren't polished enough yet and X and Y are.

This obviously is good stuff because it means I'm not going to have that Sophomore Slump. I have two possible next books shined up and ready to go. I'm not in danger of the Harper Lee thing. (I also don't think I'm going to be joining her on the classics shelf, so, okay, Harper Lee, sure you're awesome, but I just don't think we have that much in common.)

But I do wonder if I'm missing out on some potential growth that I could show between my first and third novel. Right now, it's looking like they might be contracted/released in the opposite order than the one in which I wrote them. Which will be trippy enough for me, but I sort of pity any reviewers who are trying to "track my evolution as a writer" from one book to another.

Although I'm also kind of interested to see what they say.

So, my question to you guys...do you visualize your books coming out in the order you've written them? Do you think it matters if an author's first book is less "first" than her third? Comment it up, y'all.

<3 hannah


J.J. Carrera said...

It never occured to me that my books wouldn't come out in the order I wrote them. Yet, as I keep competing them (and haven't sold one yet) I'm beginning to think about stuff like that.

Which is more likely to hook an agents?

Which is going to catch a publisher's eyes?

Which will make a better sophmore novel?

Which is going to thrust me to the top of the NY Times best seller list?

Okay, so the last one is more of a fantasy, but a girl can dream right?

grace said...

hum. well I'm writing a couple things simultaneously, and the one I started first is not going to be the one I finished first. so I dunno what the NYTimes reviewers are going to make of that.

however. I kind of feel like I've already gone through my sophomore slump, in a way. I finished my first Real Manuscript when I was fifteen--and haven't finished anything since b/c I was stuck on something useless.

but now I have Loki and Els...bwahaha.

what was the question again?

Kristina Springer said...

Congrats on the sale!!! We share an agent. :-)

And I think it might feel weird (just for me personally) publishing my first book I wrote before the one I sold. It's the one that hooked my agent but the farther away I get from it the more I think hmmm...that one should be buried. :-) I'm not sure we'll ever even try to sell it truthfully!

Trish Doller said...

The book I sold was my first book (I have no trunk novels) but I think what comes next is fluid. I have several projects in the works and a mental order in which I'd like to see them published. But, really, it's dependent upon the market. You and your agent (Or, me and mine. I'm generalizing.) might love Manuscript X and Y, but editors might love Manuscript W. Or none at all, which may send you back to the table to write Manuscript G.

Also, your evolution as a writer might have nothing to do with your already completed manuscripts. By no means am I suggesting they won't get published, but those manuscripts might be your future trunk novels and be the building blocks of your evolution.

Chantal said...

I'd be happy just finishing one manuscript. That said, I don't think anything of mine published be in the order I wrote them.

What I fear is publishing something good and then something bad. :S

Anna said...

I don't think that having manuscripts published in the order that they're written is a bad thing, especially when you take the changing market into account.

That said, since you're only as good as your next work, I would personally hesitate before reviving a back copy.

AmandaKMorgan said...

I guess I always visualized mine coming out in the order I wrote them, and I guess I never really considered the alternative. Although at this point, I don't WANT any of my earlier books pubbed. Except maybe NHL. :) I don't have an XMASTIME in the closet. ;)

hannah said...

Aww, I love you, Mandy.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I'd be scared snotless to have any of my older work get published after my one under contract. Because quite honestly I'm still learning far too much about writing and I think every book I write is still getting stronger than the last. So I'd hate to go backwards!

That said, with the four I have under contract now, they're actually getting released in a really weird grouping. They're still in order, but 2 and 3 are coming out so close to each other that it'll be interesting to see how they compare to each other.