Someone asked, “What is a realistic schedule for writing that second book while promoting the first book?”
This will be unique to each author, since each person writes at his or her own pace. But if a novelist takes seven or eight months to create a novel, that means she will need to block out time in her schedule to market the releasing book as she creates the next one. It can be tough — do you spend all your time marketing the first book? Do you spend it writing the second book? Where’s the balance? This is why I encourage every writer to create a writing calendar, where you can map out which projects you’re working on for the next year or two — whether it’s writing, editing, marketing, or just taking time away to reflect on the next book.
Generally speaking, most authors find they simply must help market their releasing book right around the time of release — so build that into your calendar. I realize you didn’t get into this business to be a full-time marketer, but you don’t want to let the book release and do nothing. So build in some marketing time, if not in your regular week, at least some focused time during the release season.
By the way, here’s one piece of advice I’m famous for sharing: Good is always better than fast. Your publisher will want books fast, since he is in the business of selling as many books as possible. So he might push you to write a new book every four months — and will almost certainly encourage you to create a new book every six months, so you have one releasing each selling season. But if you require eight months to craft a good novel, then agreeing to the six-month plan is career suicide. You’ll either miss all your deadlines (and sour the relationship with your publisher) or release bad books (and sour your relationship with your readers). Don’t take the bait. Focus on doing good books, not fast books, and you’ll be happier. I’ve known plenty of authors who were unhappy they rushed a book, but I don’t know that I’ve ever met an author who was unhappy because she took her time and created a great book. Good is always better than fast.