Interestingly enough, I’ve never written a sequel. After seven years and fourteen novels, you would think that I’d have tried a sequel at least once–but I never have, not really. (Early on, the third book I wrote was a continuation of my first book. I don’t really count it as a sequel, however, since I simply stopped mid-plot on my first book because it was getting too long. I declared it to be ‘book one,’ took a breather and wrote something else for a while, then came back and finished the story.)
It isn’t that my books are all stand-alones. Actually, most of them were intended to be the first installment in a series. Early on, however, I realized some important facts. First, publishers HATE simultaneous submissions (i.e., books sent to multiple publishers at once.) They want to know that if they’re going to invest the time in reading an unsolicited manuscript, they will be able to purchase that book if they actually end up liking it. Second, publishers are unlikely to want to look at a second book in a series.
So, I realized I had to write first books or stand-alones. If I had three trilogies, I’d only be able to market to three publishers at once–but if I had nine stand-alones and first books, I could market myself to nine publishers at once. Over the course of the last seven years, I’ve become VERY good at writing first books. My style has become marked by my ability to generate new, interesting magic systems and settings.
Now, however, it’s finally time to get to work on a second book. Tom Doherty mentioned that he prefers series with continuing characters–and there’s a good reason for this. They sell better because people are interested in seeing what happens to the characters they’ve come to love. I built MISTBORN to be the first in a trilogy. Now that it’s done, I have to get to work on book two.
We’ll have to see if I’m any good at this ‘second book’ thing.