I had my radio interview today! People are calling me “accomplished” now. Personally I don’t think I’ll be “accomplished” until I quit my day job, but the compliment was nice all the same. : )
The interview went well. Amazingly, I didn’t get nervous and I remembered my #1 shilling slogan: “If you want to read Alex, go to readalex.com.” (And if you listen to the interview, yes, it really did take me three weeks to figure out the perfect, available URL. Alex.com, Alexbook.com, and Alexebook.com were all taken. Buggers.)
Anyway, Colleen was kind enough to mention that I was working on some new stuff in addition to Alex, which is true, but I’ve been sort of waffling on what to publish next. The internal debate has been kind of stupid, I think, but no less vexing for that. I’ll break it down for you, along with what (I think) I’ve decided to do.
Really, there are two options for what to publish next.
Option 1) Children.
The pros here are that it’s nearly finished, I have people who want to read it, it’s nearly finished, it’s a setting I’ve always loved, and it’s nearly finished. It’s a nice, big, juicy hunk of book, which should quell any concerns people had about the length of Alex. (there weren’t many, by the way, but I’ve had a couple people mention to me that it went by kind of fast. I say, that’s because it was so good you couldn’t put it down, not because it was too short. ; ) Also, in case I didn’t mention it, it’s nearly finished, which means I can keep my momentum going and get something out [fairly] quickly.
There are cons too, though. First off, I have (and probably always will have) a heaping helping of self-doubt associated with Children. It is the book I spent a year querying for to no success (though I did get some bites that didn’t end in offers), which has bruised me more than I care to admit. It’s also fantasy, which is a completely different genre from Alex, and I’m worried about not meeting readers’ expectations for a second book. This concern is amplified by the fact that Children’s prose is in a completely different style than Alex’s – and I happen to think the driving prose is one of the greatest things about Alex. But Children is just not suited to that same style, and I refuse to re-write the whole thing.
Option 2) Rebecca.
Pros: Pretty much the opposite of Children‘s cons: very similar style to Alex, similar prose, similar structure, a story in the same vein. It would allow me to keep sharpening the skills I started developing on Alex, and I really want to see where that leads; it would also meet with readers’ expectations and not feel like a total case of, “Hang on, where the hell is the guy who wrote Alex?” like Children would be.
Cons: Maybe it would be too similar? Rebecca is similar enough to Alex that I think of it as a companion piece, exploring similar themes from a markedly different angle. I don’t want to put out a cookie-cutter, though there is something to be said for the success enjoyed by formula authors. Also, I have oodles of notes but have yet to put [figurative] pen to [figurative] paper on Rebecca, so I’ll be kicking off a whole new novel, probably of a similar length to Alex. I don’t want to take another year to write a book, but if I have to, of course I will. I think the extra time and polish I put on Alex really made a difference to the final product.
My wife has gotten to listen to me debate these issues; she thinks the whole conundrum is fabricated and irrelevant. Which it probably is… but that doesn’t make it any less paralyzing!
So, after months of internal debate, I finally realized a way that I can release my next book without angst, expand my portfolio, and be happy about the approach.
I’m going to do both, and release them both simultaneously.
This will let me feel like I can release Children without throwing fans of Alex into too much whiplash. I am a little worried about how long it will take, but Rebecca will be the lion’s share of the work. Children just has some final revisions to be made on the final draft. Since I expect to be done with Rebecca faster than I got done with Alex, I’m hoping that I can have the final package (both books) published by the end of December 2012.
So, that’s the plan as of tonight. Further bulletins as events warrant.