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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6 Replies to “What now?”

  1. Thanks for giving us the chance to sway your choice.  I had a hard time picking only one option.  This may sound total fan-girlish but here goes anyway – I would read/purchase any and all that you put out there for us.

  2. It sounds like you have to consider the marketing side because you are interested in supporting yourself.  Reality can soooo mess with an artist’s mind.  I would stick to historical romances or modern romantic comedies to establish a better foothold.  I liked Tracks better than Pajama Girls.  Tracks was a little more Jennifer Crusie (whom I love) and Pajama Girls was a little more serious than I wanted it be (although I enjoyed it anyway). However, I prefer the Wilderness Series to both, so unless your heart really tells you to go modern I would stick with the genre that’s flourishing.  As for other sources of income, cable is showing great promise for miniseries based on novels and yours has the whole “sequel to Mohicans” selling point.  I’m not so sure how viable the option is, but I know I personally am enjoying watching mini-series (John Adams was my latest) over theatre releases (The Other Boleyn Girl sucked!).Of course this is all selling stuff and nothing is guaranteed. When all else fails, I say did deep and follow your heart come what may.  Either way, it’s a journey that is bound to be interesting…it only requires to be started. 

  3. I agree with go with something popular – but you want to nourish your own curiosity too.  An historical by you will be my first choice but you’re asking loyalists. Was it Paperback Writer or Miss Snark who suggested you have to be two years ahead of the trends of book-buyers’ interests?  The memoir is still stuck in my mind though.

  4. Oooooooooooooooo.  I love the idea of a miniseries of Into the Wilderness.  Very good idea, M’Beth.
    As for the next book, I voted for the 16th cent. RI idea, because I think you write wonderfully in a historical genre.  Now, I qualify this by saying that it needs to have romance in it, which I assume you would do – but you didn’t exactly say.  I imagine you could more easily find a publisher and contract for it too, since you can point to your sales of the Wilderness series as evidence for likely success.

  5. I love how interactive you are with all of us!  I was just curious, which one do you feel a better story coming from?  I voted for the 16th century one because that fits into what I read the most, historical fiction, but, I guess I was just wondering what would make you the happiest to write.  Another question, if it is okay to ask it here….how are the TPB sales of ITW coming along?  I would love to be able to buy the rest of the series in TPB, but I think I remember reading that the sales have to be worth it for the publishers to do the rest of the series that way.  Good luck with all of it! 

  6. Hi Rosina,
    I used an excerpt from English with an accent for the sociolinguistics segments of my Introduction to English Linguistics class at the University of Vechta in North-Western Germany.
    It’s a very good book, and one that’s accessible to first semester students. I’m glad that there will be a second edition and I’ll put in a purchase request with the university library. For this class, I had to get the via interlibrary loan because our university library didn’t have it.
    As for your next novel, I’m sure that whatever option you choose will be great.

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