As I'm finishing up a heavy line edit on HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW for my editor, I'm starting to realize that very soon my book contract will be over and done with. Completed. The end. I have maybe three more edits of Jo's story, and then I'll kind of be back to where I was two years ago when I was preparing for submission for TRANSPARENT.
When you want to sell a book and haven't, I know it's hard to picture the "other side" as anything but awesome and way better than where you are. But I'm starting to learn that it's really not so different at all. Yes, I sold two books. I feel super lucky. I AM lucky and happy and excited for my debut.
But who's to say it'll happen again?
I sure hope it will, and at the same time I'm very aware that I'm right back to where all novels begin: working on a manuscript, loving it, wondering if anyone else will, hoping it will sell if I can manage to finish the darn thing. Lots of stuff has changed since I sold, and yet I've found the work of writing and trying to publish remains the same no matter what phase you're in.
Truth is, being published once doesn't guarantee anything. It's always about the story you're working on and if it's one an editor wants to buy. Or not buy. For example, I wrote something this summer that my editor passed on. And with good reason. I certainly don't blame her, because looking at it now I don't think it's something I put my all into. I don't have the proper passion for it, which means I'll probably have to set it aside out of necessity. Because this business is too hard to waste effort on something you don't 150% love.
So yeah, you can still strike out, even after you've sold a book. You can still write a story that isn't quite good enough. You can still feel like you have no clue what's going to happen with your writing, or that you may never sell again, or that you aren't sure what the next best move is.
At least I hope so, because I've been feeling that way a lot lately. And I think it's okay. In a lot of ways it's nice to have that freedom back—to write what I want to write without anyone telling me what I should be doing. It's also scary, standing at yet another precipice, unsure of what lies ahead or if I'm ready to take that jump.
Potential. It's everywhere. Exciting, scary, bright, unpredictable potential. I just have to wait and see if any of it comes to fruition.