I'm going to spill one of those dirty, dirty little authorial secrets to you all. This could get me killed, so if I disappear… well, I hope it was all worth it.
Okay, it's not that big of a deal, per se, but it is something that authors maybe don't talk about as much, even in this wide and open new world of indie authors where nothing's really a secret anymore. This is still something that, in my experience, authors hold close to their breast and don't let out into the world. Well, I'm going to let it out right now. Here it goes… any second now.
Okay: there are books we want to write that we probably won't, and books we want to publish that may never see the light of day. And I'm not just talking about the whole "Authors have more ideas than they have time" thing. This is different. Let me just toss some examples out. Names redacted to protect the innocent, of course.
I have a very close friend who made her career writing romantic suspense novels. That's her brand. It's what she does. But I also hear a lot about wanting to write straight-up thrillers from her. She wants, just once, to try tossing the romance aside and going for a suspense/thriller novel. She also has a book that she wrote already that doesn't fit the romantic suspense themes, so it's sitting untouched.
Yes, this is a thing that happens.
Another friend dreams of writing action/adventure novels in the vein of Indiana Jones, but SF/F series are everywhere already. Again, we have a difference in branding and, yes, not much time to devote to things that aren't really on-brand.
I'm in the same boat, too. I'm constantly toying with the idea of writing a series of crime novels a la Criminal Minds or Bones or something like that. Shorter, episodic, and character driven. But they aren't what I've got plastered all over the internet as what I do. I do speculative fiction. Which makes it a little tricky to consider doing something so comparatively "mundane" as crimes on Earth with regular people.
And I, too, have a book written that is just sitting there. Two, in fact, with the third one due to be written in 2017. Yeah. Basically a series that I'm just not doing things with. It's one that I personally love a lot, too. It's on-brand… but I am nervous. And this is one you especially won't hear authors talk about. But we're all friends here, right? No one on the internet is ever mean or cruel to strangers, right?
I am nervous about it, though. I love it maybe a little too much. Enough that I still tout it as my best work… that no one can ever get their hands on. I tell myself how brilliant it is every time I think about it, but it's not out in the world. It's been schlepped to a couple agents, but that's it. I haven't really been ready to pull the trigger.
I wish I was here to tell you that I'm going to put it up immediately. I'm not, however. I'm still holding onto it until there comes a time when I'm flat-out ballsy enough to tackle it. And that might come in 2017. I hope it does. But we'll see, won't we?
So next time you encounter an author… well, just know that we have those nerves and those hidden professional desires. I don't know what you're going to do with that knowledge, but hold it close. Maybe it'll help you remember that we're just people, too. Personally, I have a hard time remembering that one, even from the other side.