Saturday, 7 April 2012

Second albums

It's quite difficult to write a book, edit it, rewrite it, polish it and put it out there for possible cruel rejection. Having got an agent (just pausing to pinch myself) I'm now aware I have to come up with a credible 'second album'. Although I just wrote a book I liked, rather than tried to think in terms of markets and editors, I wonder if I shouldn't be so relaxed this time.

Agents and editors want career writers, not one book wonders. I had already started A Baby's Bones, and was enjoying the story of Sage and her uncovering of the past, but I'm aware it probably wouldn't make a good second book for The Secrets of Life and Death. I've left Jack and Sadie bloodied and bruised, and they need to work out where they are going (and so do I). Writing a credible follow up (I hate sequels and trilogies) is sensible but I'm not sure how to go about it. 

So I've looked around at second books that follow a strong first. Some of them are, frankly, a bit weak, especially those that are written as the middle of a trilogy. I loved Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy but The Subtle Knife feels like the weakest to me. The novelty of the world building in the first book, Northern Lights, is over and the story is building to a big finish in The Amber Spyglass

I feel a pressure to go even bigger than book 1, as if there has to be an escalation. I suppose unless I do sell a book, and the editors there suggest a direction, I'm in limbo, and I can carry on writing for myself. It's a rather nice feeling. In the meantime, Jack and Sadie seem to be working on a  conundrum that might yet throw up the right antagonists. Otherwise the book is going to have to be called: Jack and Sadie go Gardening.      


  1. Congratulations on getting an agent Rebecca - it's a hell of an achievement, especially these days with such volumes of competition and agents being so selective of new clients.

    I know how you feel about the inevitable sequel, or matching your first book. It's all different now that there may be dead-lines and input from agent and editors. Bottom line is that you've already proved that you're good enough. Just go with your instincts and take all professional advice that comes your way - I did, and my soon to be published sequel is based upon something my agent had always wanted to see written.... The best thing about being represented and published is that fact that you're not on your own any more. :o)

    1. Thank you, Dean. I'm still a bit dazzled by the whole thing, but knuckling down to the edits. They are the experts, after all! It sounds like you have a very productive relationship with your agent. It will be nice to have some guidance, now.

  2. Every small success is wonderful!