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I’ll always remember sitting with my first manuscript and a pile of rejections, wondering where to go from here. I didn’t want to give up on the book, and starting anything new felt just like that—giving up.
I eventually tried to write a sequel, but got less than halfway through before I began to realize if I never sold the first book, book two would be dead on arrival. I wasn’t ready to trunk the manuscript, so I continued querying, but I also started a short story that evolved into my second manuscript.
Eventually, I did trunk that manuscript. It wasn’t easy to finally put it aside and focus on something new because it felt like admitting defeat. But by putting it away and writing something new, I learned a very important lesson: the top priority for any writer should be to write the next book.
Don’t get me wrong, social media is important and when you publish, so is marketing. Branding, reaching out to other writers, getting involved in the community, reading as many books as you can get your hands on—all of those things are important. But whether you’re unpublished, self-published or traditionally published, the best thing we can do to further our careers and improve our skills is to write the next book.
For unpublished writers, the next book is a fresh opportunity to attract an agent or editor.
For self-published writers, the next book is a new chance for readers to fall in love with your words.
For traditionally published writers, the next book is another opportunity to sell and bring in some new readers.
The next book is what builds our careers. It adds to our repertoire of skills and teaches us new things about the craft of writing and our own ability. It reminds us that writing is always the most important focus and teaches us to push through and be consistent.
So take some time to connect with people on social media and promote your books and keep up to date on the industry. But above all, keep your top priority in mind: the next book.
What do you think? Is writing the next book more important than social media and marketing?
"The best thing we can do to further our careers and improve our skills is to write the next book." (Click to tweet)
Is is writing the next book more important than social media and marketing? Join the discussion at @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)