I’m written a couple of manuscripts since the release of my debut novel (Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania) through Summerside Press in February of 2010. Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of the publishing industry and despite the efforts of two different agents, I have yet to receive a second contract for a novel. Publishing is, of course, a business industry, and it is subject to the whims of current trends. My journey toward obtaining a sophomore contract has been a tremendous learning experience in studying those trends, the art of media and promotion, and what it takes to become a successful author. So to answer your question…I don’t know when my next book is coming out. All I can tell you is I do believe one WILL be forthcoming as I continue to develop manuscripts and submit them to publishers with the help of my agent.
Before the publication of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, my writing consisted mostly of historical novels. I wrote Hershey in a fit of pique – having been unable to obtain an agent with my previous manuscripts, I decided to write something completely different from my norm and ended up crafting a modern-day, foodie romantic comedy. Of course, it helped that I bribed agents with chocolate. Eventually, one of them “bit.” 🙂
Since then, I’ve written a contemporary relational drama revolving around three sisters and a missing persons agency, which was not a good fit for most publishers. I’ve also nearly completed another romantic foodie story that I’ve chosen not to submit to publishers at this time. What I’d like to do is return to what I love writing most – stories set in the rich periods of history where the imagery is lush and the words are eloquent. In that pursuit, I’ve been working on a few ideas, including a pirate story (pirates have been a fascination for me since childhood); a Regency, Jane-Austen-type romance, and a horse-racing antebellum tale. I have no lack of inspiration for stories set in all time periods. It’s just a matter of fitting the right story with the right publisher at the right time. Keep following my website and please join me on Facebook or Twitter for updates.
Becoming entirely financially self-sufficient through one’s art is every artist’s dream. Unfortunately, most of us don’t often fully achieve that. Especially as an author is just beginning in publication, there is a lot of investment – both in terms of time and money. Authors put up a lot of the finances for their own promotion, and there’s a certain finesse to allocating those resources effectively. Ergo, don’t expect to become rich through writing immediately. We’re called “starving artists” for a reason. Don’t worry, though. I don’t starve. 🙂 I work two part-time jobs in addition to writing: as an office manager in my family’s small construction business and as a Starbucks barista and shift supervisor. Both jobs are very flexible, allowing me the means to write in between and still put food on the table. For more tips on how to manage a writing lifestyle before you hit the New York Times bestseller list, follow my blog here.
For invaluable information on a variety of publishing topics, visit Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent. She’s candid and encouraging and highly knowledgeable about what publishers and agents are seeking. I cannot recommend her enough.
For similar advice on fiction publishing and the writing craft, visit author Jody Hedlund’s informative blog here.
If you’re looking for help on writing your novel, I’ve listed several of my favorite resources on the subject below.
And most importantly: READ. RESEARCH. WRITE. Your writing is only as good as the quality of work you’re reading. And learning as much as you can about the publishing process (by searching words like “agent submissions”, “query letters”, and “manuscript formats” online), branding, your platform, style, etc. will give you the edge you need to stand out. And finally, write. You can’t sell what you haven’t written. So take one step at a time, learn as you go, and…good luck. 🙂
* How to Write (And Sell) a Christian Novel by Gilbert Morris
(This title is out-of-print and some of the advice may be a little dated, but I still refer to my well-used copy on occasion, when I want to return to the basics.)
* Chapter after Chapter and/or Page After Page by Heather Sellers
(Two of my absolutely favorite books on the experience of writing a novel. Not only do they contain invaluable advice, but they’re just plain fun to read.)
* How to Get a Literary Agent by Michael Larsen
(Not only does it contain basic advice on securing a literary agent and proceeding into the world of publication, but it gave me a new respect for everything an agent does for their client.)