The world is full of wannabe would-be authors. Encouragement is nearly everywhere, with an entire month dedicated to showing people that they can, in fact, write a book.
If you want to impress me, tell me about your next book. Because if your first book is your only book, your next step towards becoming a real author is clear: write another one1.
Here are four truths you probably don't want to hear:
- Statistically speaking, your first and only book won't impress an agent.
- Statistically speaking, your first and only book will never get picked up by a big publishing house2.
- Statistically speaking, your first and only book won't sell more than a handful of copies.
- Statistically speaking, your first book is the worst book you'll ever write.
So keep going. Take that next step. Write the next book. Develop new characters. Tackle a different problem. Illustrate a new path. Explore a different genre... a new perspective.
The most successful authors are always working on their next book3. So why aren't you?
1 - This isn't an endorsement of ignoring editing, cover design, interior layout and everything else that went along with that first book. If you're going to try and sell that first book, you have to do those steps. I'm just trying to convince you to not sweat the sales just yet. Keep writing.
2 - Yes, I recognize that there's more to success than getting an agent or a big house. Much more, in fact. But it's still a goal for the majority of authors I meet, right or wrong. Wrong, mostly.
3 - I use "book" in the most subjective way here. Substitute "project" and the same holds true for all sorts of new opportunities beyond the typical page.