If there's one thing I've learned about becoming a professional author, it's that it's not really what I thought it would. I've said it before and I'll say it many more times in the next many years, I'm sure; I have the best job in the world. But there are some interesting aspects that I had never really considered. One of them is writing under contract.
I am contracted to write four books for HarperCollins. The first, of course, is finished. (Well, we haven't done all the editing yet, but the manuscript was as complete as I could make it at the time of the sale.:)) That leaves me three more books to write that are already partially paid for. On the one hand, this offers me a ton of security. The idea gets debated a lot, but I am very convinced that multiple book-deals are a good thing for debut authors. It gives you a chance to get your career going without feeling like you have to be a blockbuster with your first book. Most books gain popularity as they go and even bestselling series sometimes don't actually hit the lists until the second or even third book. I've got four books to really get my career off the ground. The better I can do with book one the more likely it becomes that said launch will happen, but for me there is a lot less stress over things I can't control when I know my whole series is going to be published.
What I didn't expect was the pressure I feel as I am in the middle of writing book two. It's not the same kind of pressure you feel when you are writing a book to snag and agent or publisher. I wouldn't even say it's more pressure, but it is different pressure. Instead of worrying about impressing a rather small handful of publishing professionals, I am worrying about impressing a huge group of teenagers! And I hope to impress them even more with my second book than my first . . . and my first hasn't even come out yet! I am stressing about increasing the approval of a bunch of unknown people who haven't even been impressed the first time!;) I don't have to get the approval of my editor, I have to keep it. *laugh* I don't even have to worry about impressing my agent anymore; she won't have to sell this book. (That's very funny to me.:))
This doesn't take the fun out of writing by any stretch. In some ways, I think it even makes it more fun. But I can feel a difference in the mindset I have when I write. A lot less pressure in some ways, and a lot more in others. I'm sure enjoying the process though.
I have to say, the thought that I will probably never have to send out a query again (I just can't see myself ever calling it quits with Jodi) is a very, very nice thought.)