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I Answered A Rant with a Rant but Maybe it will Help Someone Else Write a Sequel to an Unpublished Novel

I found you through twitter and decided to answer since I think I have a lot to say on this subject. Not sure if this will help because this is equally a personal rant for me. I am a quick writer who is unpublished. From 2010 to 2015, I have written 7 books plus a prequel and plan on writing about *4 novels and a novella and revising 2 novels this year (I know, crazy!). Writing is my passion and I truly believe one day I will make it. I have so many different stories to tell and mostly they are in the YA genre but regardless they itch to be written and shared.

First I have a few questions, have you had the book professionally edited more than once? Have you revised to the best of your abilities? Have you had beta readers and critiques? Have you tried entering contests with it? I ask these questions because your completed draft should be the best you can make it and these things definitely help contribute. Agents and publishers want a polished manuscript even though they polish it more. I don’t bother querying unless I have done most of what I asked you. You have to put your best foot forward. My editor told me that the first book needs to be polished before writing a sequel and I agree although I did not do it this way because I met her after I’d written more books in the series. The way I did it will cause me more work in the end because now as I am going back and revising the first book to perfection, the subsequent books will have to be rewritten as well. But let me tell you I am glad I wrote them so they are out of my head.

So my advice from experience is if you have to write it, write it but realize that you should put your focus on perfecting the first book until you feel you can’t do anything more. Perfecting means using others (editors, critique partners, beta readers, contests, coaches etc.) to make the novel the best you can. The same editor also told me that you have to sell the first book or there will be no sequel so keep that in mind too. In my case, I wrote the sequels as a rookie mistake but I am not upset I wrote them, I had to get them out. When I do sell the first book I can use them as a blueprint for the series. On a side note, many author and agent blogs state that the first novel might not sell but the second or third or eighth novel in a different series might, so keep on writing. So why don’t you do both. Write the sequel you’re dying to write and then write the new book and another book and another. Continuous writing is the key to becoming a better writer!

*The bold portion I left off my response in Justine Ashford's blog.


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