Did you hear that? That was me releasing the huge book release breath I’ve been holding.
The hoopla about Puzzling Ink is mostly over, and I’m pleased with the results. I spread the word like a good little marketer, garnered some new fans, pleased my current fans, and the reviews are excellent.
I still have some virtual appearances coming up and some book clubs to attend. Oh! And speaking of which …. one of those book clubs is RIGHT HERE!
It makes me sad that we don’t get a lot of interaction at our Chicks Book Club parties, and I’d really like to know why. We couldn’t have made them any easier to attend. They’re right here on the blog and require nothing but reading the book and having an inquisitive mind. I’d love if you’d pop in on Monday November 30 to chat about Puzzling Ink. Any questions, comments, or insights about the book, the series, writing, publishing, or even me are welcome and encouraged.
Regardless, now I find myself in a quandary. What to write next? I thought by now the choice would have made itself clear. I mean, that’s what happens when you ignore decisions, right?
It’s not that I don’t have any ideas for new books. In fact, the problem may be that I have too many ideas.
I have narrowed them down to two. (Who said well begun is half done? Was that Mary Poppins? If not, it sure sounds like her.)
I have a new cozy series in mind.
Pros: I think it’s a really good idea and it excites me. I think readers would enjoy it and I can visualize a long-lived series.
Cons: Even though I’ve been mulling for awhile, I don’t like to start book one until I’ve outlined a good series arc, plus outlined (at least in broad strokes) the first three books, and written 20 or so prospective titles. All this takes time up front. It makes the writing faster and easier, or course, but not for awhile. Perhaps quite a while, at the rate I’m going.
I also have a standalone mystery I’ve been itching to write for a few years now.
Pros: It might be my breakout novel if I do it right. It will stretch my wings a bit. Maybe it will garner me a larger audience.
Cons: I might not do it right. What if it’s too far out of my lane? What if I’m not up to the task? It’s not cozy, but it’s not at the opposite end of the spectrum either. What if my readers won’t follow me to a darker place?
Those are the major “what if” themes rolling around my head, and there are a bunch of minor ones as well, but I won’t bother you with them.
My Dad’s advice would be to ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” But in this case that doesn’t clear anything up because the answer is the same for each choice—writing the wrong one, wasting time and energy, annoying my readers, my agent, myself.
When other writers ask me this very same question (it does seem to be a common problem), I tell them, “Work on what makes you happiest, or the one that will make you money.” Again, useless advice because they’ll both make me happy and, as always, the money is like the ocean floor, the popularity of the Nae Nae, or Nala’s doggie brain … The Great Unknown.
I’m afraid of being stymied into inaction, procrastinating, doing everything BUT working on a new book while I try to decide.
But then I remember what Theodore Roosevelt said. “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
So if the worst thing is off the table, not even a choice, what say you? New cozy series or something a little bit darker? Extra credit for showing your work.