I’ve heard from a few people who read The Marinara Murders and then went on to read The Saints Go Dying, or vice versa. I can see quite easily how having more books means more overall sales.
If one person really likes one of them, they’re likely to read more, and voila: one customer makes for 3 or 5 or 10 sales (Amanda Hocking and John Locke have both sold more than a million Kindle books, and one of the main reasons is that they each have more than 10 books in the store).
Problem is, I’m working on a science fiction novel right now. (And it’s going incredibly well! I’m 110 pages into it.) Thematically it’s fairly similar to the Beautyman mysteries, but it’s still a whole different genre, which means it’s not as likely to appeal to the same readers.
If my goal was to purely make money, the best I think I could be doing right now is work on the third Beautyman book. I know the general plot, I know the themes, I think I know the title, and I have a pretty good first chapter. I’m excited about it, but I need a break from the series.
My hope for publishing in 2012 is a little audacious, but I’ll put it out there anyway. (It’s always easier to hold yourself accountable when other people know what you’re trying to do.)
So here goes.
I want to finish the science fiction novel early in 2012, like hopefully by the end of January. I’ll put it in a drawer, and let it sit for awhile (I did this for The Marinara Murders and the time away really helped).
While it’s sitting there, I’m going to try to write the next Beautyman book. Then I’ll put that one away and open back up the science fiction novel to get it ready for publication in the late summer of next year.
Ideally, if that were all to happen, I could get Beautyman III out by the end of 2012 as well.
I’ve written at this pace before, but not so sustained. Even with that kind of a schedule it’s still roughly one book per year. The closest I’ve probably come to that was in college, when I finished a novel every 18 months.
But there’s a key difference between then and now: a lot more people are actually reading my books, and that is an incredibly encouraging thing. I would be lucky to have 10 people read a book in college. My biggest success as a writer was in 2000 when I was sailing with the Sea Education Association, and there was a wait list of my friends on the boat (plus the captain!) to read my novel. That book still probably never had more than 20 readers.
Knowing that a lot more people have read my books, and liked them, makes it a lot easier to write them.
So It’s really hard to say if I can manage it. But really there was no real writing-related reason I couldn’t have had The Marinara Murders out this summer. Mostly it was the campaign that kept me way too busy. And I did very little writing before the campaign this year, so planning to use the late winter and early spring for a Beautyman book isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility, if I can get the sci-fi book done before then.
Am I crazy? Maybe. But that’s my goal.