What does a writer do when, after months (or years) of work, their novel isn't warmly welcomed by the reading public?
Fellow OTP author, Ilene Schneider ("Chanukah Guilt", "Unleavened Dead") posted a "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip (by Stephan Pastis) in which the character, Rat, after deciding that he must write a novel, is crushed when he presents it to an unimpressed world and turns to drink:
That's one option a writer can choose, but I suggest a much better one....
I'll be the first to admit that I, like almost every writer who has been published, had dreams that my first book would hit the top of the best-seller lists, thus propelling me to super-star author status (much along the lines of Stephen King, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts) or, at the very least, allow me to quit the "day job" and make a living off my writing.
Four years later, I'm still very much working a "day job"... and I'm still writing. No, my first book didn't hit it big. Neither did the next three books. And my fifth book, due out in a few months (and still untitled), probably won't either. So why keep writing? Why keep promoting? Why keep trying to sell my work?
One thing I have learned is this: each subsequent book fuels sales for the previous books. I am always meeting new people who haven't heard of me or my book series, but when they find out that I've written and published four mystery novels, they are interested in going back to the first one to see how the story starts.
I've always been advised, from my earliest writing days, that a writer should always be working on the next book, whether it's a series or not. Despite all the work involved in promoting and selling your work (as disheartening as the sales numbers may be at times), there should always be time for writing the next book. Especially if it's a series. For one thing, it shows that a writer is serious about their work. And it shows that they love their job enough to keep doing it, even if the financial rewards aren't that great.
If, like me, you're blessed enough to find one or two people who love your books enough to want to read the next one, that should be reason enough to keep writing. Do it for love, not for money.