First of all, check out J.A. Konrath's excellent post titled "Confident or Delusional" at

Now. Let's say I'm working on the second book of a series without having a contract yet on the first. Considering the current publishing climate, does that make me confident or delusional?

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Depends on the book, Jude.
I would call it optimistic.
Perfect word, Anne.
That's what happened to me. I had 4 novels finished when I found an agent and a publisher. This explains why I don't have to write to a deadline.
I would agree with "optimistic" being a better word than either of the others.

I wrote my first novel, and an editor said he wanted to buy it. Then there were delays, a lot of them. During those delays I wrote my second novel. The same editor then said he thought it was a better book with which to start a series, so he bought that one instead without any delay. The first novel was rewritten and came out last November as the third in the series. I ended up selling it to a different publisher as part of a two book deal - the fourth in the series (second in that deal) is coming out this June.

What goes on in the current market, is anybody's guess. I think it is safe to say that publishers are currently taking fewer chances than they might have a year or two ago.
I have four books of a series in the drawer, ready to go if anyone wants them. I didn;t mean for it to go that way, but a publisher strung me along on Book One for two years before passing, and I kept cranking out. The last book and the current WIP are not from that series, though the WIP may turn into a series of its own.

Optimistic? Delusional? Neither, or both. I just keep writing the next book I want to write. It goes how it goes, until it doesn't go anymore.
Why worry about what others say--if it's in your blood to write, what other choice do you have?
To me it depends on the connection. If it is a series of independant stories, go ahead and write. If it is the second book of a trilogy, dependant on the previous book and cannot stand on it's own, then it would be the fun of writing to complete this without a sale and results from the first.
You want to talk delusional--I'm working on a new book of poems now...
I sure understand your ambivalence, Jude. I have three books written for a series--only one of which was published, but is now out of print. I have lots of ideas for others, but I also have ideas for stand-alones. So I'm working on them.

I think whatever story you want most to tell, you should write. Even if you never sell the first book, one you write later may catch someone's eye.
I like optimistic.

I also remind myself that writing the second novel (and third, and so on) can also help one understand what they have done wrong in the first novel. This often makes the first novel a stronger book. (Assuming the writer is studying their craft and looking for ways to improve. Some don't.)

Also, it can help publishers out because they can launch the two books closer together, instead of the usual long time. This increased hype can also increase sales. In theory. Always in theory.

Write on!
Good points, Clair.


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