In vacuum-afflicted writers, this is the emptiness that follows a first sale. Some call it the curse of the three-book deal. Many writers focus on their project exclusively for so many years that once it is out, there is nothing left. I interviewed a former best-selling author whose breakthrough first novel (you’d recognize the title instantly) was lauded by The New York Times, won armloads of awards, was translated into over a dozen languages, became a Reader’s Digest condensed book, and was optioned by Hollywood producers. The publisher celebrated the author’s success and flew him to New York for a party thrown in his honor.
When the fanfare subsided, and he sad down at his computer to fulfill his three-book contract, he didn’t have the foggiest clue what he was going to write. Sadly, his second novel suffered from weak sales. His third effort was rejected altogether. And his fourth, a memoir of sorts, has not even sparked the interest of his agent. Fortunately, the author, a practical man with a life outside of publishing and bills to pay, knew it was time to return to work.
How to Avoid he Vacuum:
- Keep a creative file. Fill it with story ideas. Interesting characters. Snippets of dialog.
- Bring a co-writer onboard.
- Start now! That’s right, before your first book is even sold. You have pens. You have paper. It’s the prefect time to outline those next books.