I've been getting asked a lot about when the next book is coming out.
The truth is, I already wrote my second book. It just has someone else's name on it and will be in stores next year.
And like Forest Gump used to say, "And that's all I have to say about that". (Legally I also can't say anything more than that.)
But. When is the next book coming out with my name on it? That's ... Well, the answer is complicated. I'm going to tell you why, and I hope in doing so I can convey to you the importance of having a backup plan.
Especially when you want to do something that's risky. Like say, write fiction. Or launch your own product. Or start your own business. You get the idea.
You should, without hesitation, pursue your goals and dreams. I really do believe that, and I'm a coldhearted atheist who agrees with Maya Angelou and thinks this world is bullshit. (Or was it Fiona Apple who said that? No, wait. It was definitely Fiona Apple.)
But. But. But. But. But.
You should NOT do so without a backup plan.
Because seriously. Shit can go wrong in a hurry, and you and I both know the game is rigged against 99.9% of us.
So even if you make or pitch the BEST THING EVER!!!!!!!!!!! It may not matter because you didn't graduate from Stanford, or because your Dad didn't know this other guy's Dad, and on and on and on.
You know what I'm talking about. The deck is stacked against you.
So, I am a huge believer that you should lead by example.
Trust me, if you've spent the amount of time I have in the world of advertising and marketing, there is a real lack of people who do that. As there is in most places, and it's disheartening. But I'm not going to be one of those people. I got my own plans and my own Plan B.
Let me tell you about them.
I've talked about "Vengeance, Nevada" a few times on this blog, but this is the first time I've really tied it into the "big picture". So here it goes ...
I'm starting a two year program at the University at Buffalo this month.
There's a lot of reasons for this. They're not terribly important, unless you want to hear about people dying and getting divorced and meeting someone you like and letting them slip through your fingers. You know, depressing bullshit. We're going to skip all that.
What is important, to you, is that this is my Plan B. I'm leading by example.
Over the course of the next year, I'm going to write and self-publish "Vengeance, Nevada". It'll be out not long after the Spring semester finishes.
So, when is my next book coming out? June of 2016.
If "Vengeance, Nevada" does well, then in June of 2016 I'll make a decision.
If the book doesn't make any money, then I'll continue into the second year of the two year program at UB.
If the book does well, then I'll press the pause button on grad school.
That's year one. If you make a Plan, it's good to have a short term goal (in this case, self-publish "Vengeance Nevada" by June of 2016), and then a long term goal.
In this case, the long term goal is to move to LA and work in the movie industry.
So,let's say the book comes out and doesn't do well. That's ok. Now we go for the second part, the long term part, of the plan.
Option two is that by the end of my second and final year of school, I write (at least) three movie scripts and pitch them through my friends and associates to get them to agents out in LA.
Do they sell? Awesome! If not? Ok too!
Why is that ok? I got my backup plan.
In June of '17, I will take my awesome degree and go out to LA anyway, with the ability to get a fun job working with college students as soon as the final semester concludes.
Thus completing one of my other objectives in life to never, ever, talk about marketing again. Seriously. By June of 2017, if I'm still talking about marketing, one of you has my full permission to kick my ass.
Keep It Simple
I have very basic goals here. I want to live in LA. I want to make and work on movies. Period. The Plan B (the degree from UB) gets me to LA no matter what.
So no matter what, that part of the goal is achieved.
The other part, being a fiction writer who sells enough books to make a living, is risky. It's not easy to do, so I'm going to take a shot at it while making sure my backup plan is in place.
You should take your shot, and if you miss? That's totally fine. I don't mean that in the phony startup world's "embrace failure" kind of way. I mean it in a, "You took your shot and you missed. At least you took it. Now you've got this backup plan, and everything is going to be ok.
The difference is that it's easy to tell people to "embrace failure" when you're pissing away other people's money. But when it's your money, your life, and your wallet on the line, you should absolutely have a backup plan.
I hope you will never need it, but it's there if you do.
(Image Credit: The city of Buffalo comes from Wikimedia Commons)