Your Agent Wants a Second Book


As you read this, are you at some point—beginning, middle, or end—in the writing of your first book?

Start thinking about Book #2.

Think of yourself with a shelf like Stephen King’s (partial version here)

I’m serious.

I know when we’re up to our eyeballs in alligators it’s hard to start planning ahead to draining the next swamp.

But athletes think in terms of careers, as do dancers and filmmakers and restaurauteurs and entrepreneurs.

You and I need to too.

Can you picture a shelf of books? Your books.

Ten of ’em.



Can you imagine not just one title but an actual body of work?

It’s in you.

You can do it.

The Legend of Bagger Vance was my first published novel. I remember my blood running cold as the manuscript was being submitted when my agent, Sterling Lord, called and asked, “What else have you got?”

Of course I had nothing. Not even a glimmer.

“That’s the first thing a publisher will ask me,” Sterling said. “‘What’s his next book?’ I can make a much better deal for Book #1 if I can tell them, ‘Steve’s just finishing the next one and it’s a corker.’”

Beyond such commercial considerations however lies the deeper soul-connection between you and me and our Muse.

The goddess does not like it when we sell ourselves and our gifts short. Can you blame her? She’s the one giving us those gifts.

Thinking beyond Book #1 doesn’t mean we have to sit down and plot out the next seventeen titles. We couldn’t even if we wanted to. The Muse loves to surprise us. She knows what’s coming next and she’ll communicate it to us when she’d good and ready.

But be assured: there is a next one.

And another after that.

Are you forty years old? You’ve got another forty years of writing life, maybe more.

Fifty is nothing for a writer.

Sixty-five is barely a beginning.

An amateur can write one book. You and I must think of ourselves as pros.

A professional thinks in terms of decades.

She thinks in terms of a career.

Start thinking ahead now.