I have just submitted my mss for book two to my editor. It is the second in the series.
Now I should be cracking on with book three, also in the series, but here's the rub...I really fancy starting on a stand alone that's been brewing for months.
Do people think it's too early too break free? And will my publishers even let me?
Or is this just a typical 'grass is always greener' scenario?
HB x

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go for it! if the new story is bubbling away, i think you should start it while you're excited by it. i'm not expert but break free and do it!
This sounds so familiar. I signed a contract with a publisher for a book with an option for the next in a series. The first is coming out in June and I've already outlined & begun the second book. But in the back of my mind, I keep replaying the scenes for another book I want to write that has nothing to do with the series.

Here's what I plan to do...write the second book for my publisher at night, after dinner. Then, work on the other one that has been brewing in my head in bits and snatches, weekend mornings, etc. If you really fancy the stand-alone, it would be a waste to let the idea fester without doing something with it.

As for your publisher...I wouldn't worry about that right now. But consider using a pen name for the stand alone if you finish it, simply as a way to prevent alienating your current readers. That's what I plan to do. My current book series is a cozy series, but my other idea is much grittier.

Good luck!
Really depends on whether you want to continue on with the series and, of course, how well it does. I started off with a two-book deal for a series and was really debating what to do next. Various booksellers in the U.S. advised me to at least produce a consecutive book three--otherwise it would look like one book and a sequel rather than the possibility of anything more.

I'm glad that I did write a third book in the series. I then took a break to write a nonmystery middle-grade book, which will be out later this year, but have returned to the series with a new publisher. I'm working on a standalone at the same time--kind of what Patrick's doing.

I would chat with booksellers and get their feedback. They are pretty knowledgeable and speak directly to your readers.
Oh, that is very good news, Naomi. I'm so glad. Major congrats and good wishes.
Write the book that wants to be written.
Go with your muse Helen or the stand-alone will keep getting pushed to the back of the queue. It might help to appease your publisher with a synopsis or vague idea for book 3 - and then ask for a far-off deadline.
I would certainly write the standalone. For one thing, you will write better and faster while you are inspired, and for another, you'll probably have a year before the issue of # 3 becomes urgent.
You're right I do have just under a year - but I'm worried it will fly away from me, what with editing book two, promoting etc. Also I have book one coming out in Europe so am panicking about how much stuff there'll be to do for that.
I am going on holiday next week and it will be good for me to take a deep breath and make some calm decisions.
HB x
Okay then, could you outline # 3 now, and then work on the other one? Also keep in mind, that it is possible to work on two different books by taking a break from one or the other from time to time.
Depends on how many books your contract is for. If it is a three book deal, for example, and you start going in a different direction to that preferred by the publisher on book 3, it puts you in a weaker position at negotiation time. If they want your lead character as a series character and you seek to depart from it, they might not try as hard to keep you. If, however, the series character is a strong one, which it is, and you agree to do a third, and also the first one in the next deal, then you are negotiating the next deal from a strong position, but still leaving your options open for book 5. If you have a loyal following by book 5, people will buy the new one regardless and then anticipate the next in the series.
I have a three book deal and although my contract does not specify that each book has to be part of a series I suspect that is what my publishers will want - particularly in the light of the good start I've had vis a vis sales.
I think IJ's advice is sound and that I should get my outline down at least for the standalone. I always dfo very detailed plans, bios etc and I always work very quickly at the front end. Then I could crack on with book three in the series for which I already have a synopsis.
HB xxx
I don't think it is a grass is always greener thing. I think your muse is keeping you busy. GO WITH HER!


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