What now?

As I approach the end of this novel I see a big question mark coming at me.

At the moment the only contract I have is for the second edition of English with an Accent, which will take up time for not much short-term return. Most academics never make a dime off their published work; they publish to contribute to their areas of study. Sometimes a text book will really fill a niche and take off, but there aren’t many examples of that.

So career wise, the second edition of English with an Accent is less than promising.

There are a lot of things I could write, some of them more obvious than others. Please, do not jump in here and suggest a prequel to Into the Wilderness; I don’t think I could, and I don’t think Bantam would want it, anyway. I do have some other fleshed out ideas. For example: another novel set in the current day southern U.S. I think it’s really promising, but: Unless Pajama Girls takes off like a rocket when it comes out in trade paper, it’s going to be hard to sell this idea. I could, of course, just write it without a contract — and I may end up doing that — but it’s a big gamble. A year or two dedicated to something that doesn’t find a publisher would be okay if I had a day job. Another thing I may have to think about.

On the historical side of things I’ve got a novel set in 17th century Rhode Island, but again, I don’t think that it will find a home in this economy and market. Should I write it anyway, in these difficult and uncertain times? Did I mention we have a daughter in college?

So there’s my dilemma, staring me in the face. I’m not looking for pity, please understand. Many people are in the same situation. Some would even say that this is a good thing, as too many books are published to start with and it’s time to do some winnowing. I can’t really disagree with that.

Still, I have to keep moving forward. Do you have an opinion on what I should turn to next? If you don’t remember anything about the Volvo novel (aka Imagining Eliza), here’s a reminder. If you’ve got an idea you don’t see here, please include it in the comments.

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