I spent the first half of my morning waiting for a phone call from my editor about my second book. I knew that my editor had already sent it to her senior editor with a recommedation of acquisition, but I still spent my morning trying not to throw up my breakfast as I awaited the verdict of the senior editor.
The news was very good--they're buying book two and want me to send the proposal for book three by the end of next month. My editor also mentioned "multiple book contracts" for the future, which is very exciting.
But the point remains--even though I reached that milestone of publication last year, there are still no guarantees in this business. My editor could have decided she hated book two. Or the senior editor could have thought my editor had lost her mind by recommending acquisition. And there's always the possibility that readers will think both of the editors are nuts for ever buying book two in the first place.
I remember back before I sold my first manuscript, I thought that if I could just get published, the rest of my career would be a piece of cake. I had all sorts of story ideas waiting to come out of me, and once I was published, selling those ideas would be easy.
First, ideas are not manuscripts. Ideas can derail at any point in the process. And second, even if you manage to put together 65-75,000 words in some sort of coherent order, that story may not have the special flair that makes an editor sit up and take notice. Or the book may not fit the line you're trying to sell to. Or it may be a good book with a topic or theme that just isn't in vogue at the moment.
There are lots of variables, whether you're published or not. So it's always a good idea to be humble, be determined, and be flexible enough to adapt your writing to better fit the market you're trying to break into.
Yay! I've sold book two. But there's still book three, book four, book ten, book twenty...