The question of the night at our book launch party was, "So what's your next book?" Shocking, right? It's like asking the mom with the newborn when she'll be delivering a sibling. Or minutes after the Super Bowl, interrogating the winning quarterback on the chances of taking the title again next year. What the heck?
At first I just responded with a laugh, as surely it was a rhetorical question born out of an uncomfortable moment between two strangers. The next time a second book was mentioned I didn't laugh it away but tried out answering with, "soon." When the third person inquired about the next release I let my sister handle it and went to the bar for another tequila.
Just like in any other industry, you're only as good as your last deal. Damn. It.
I'm not completely freaking out or anything but those people definitely got into my head. In the morning I am no longer driven out of bed by the thought of a strong cup of coffee and a quiet home but by a few statements that flash over and over like a cursor on a blank page:
"PR is pointless unless you've got another project coming"
"The next book is where all the money is"
"People may never find your first book until you write the second one"
"This book is clearly part of a trilogy. What are the next two about?"
"What's the vision for your brand?"
It's enough to drive me to more drinking.
Yes, there are two more cocktail books planned. But the only thing I've written are the titles. Can I just feel good about this one before I roll up my sleeves on the next? If I never write another book will pride in one be pointless? Does the term "writer" have an expiration date? Is there a secret way to channel a few of my favorite prolific authors: Barbara Kingsolver, John le Carre, and Carl Hiaasen?
For the moment, I'll work on finishing this French toast in front of me. And enjoying the coffee. And the quiet house. The second book will come eventually. But just not now.