You hear all the time "Your first novel is for practice," and "Don't expect to sell your first novel." But the funny thing is, once we decide we want to get published, we fully expect that first novel to do it. There's something inside of us that says But this one is different. The rules don't apply to it / me.
If you ask me, that kind of thinking is actually hugely important. It's what makes us work as hard as we can. And do you know what? A lot of people actually get their first novel published.
So that's my question for the day. What's the status your first novel?
Still writing it?
Haven't started it?
Saving it for posterity?
Shoved it in a drawer to revise sometime later?
Plan on it never seeing the light of day?
I want to hear all about it in the comments!
As for me: My first novel had an intended audience of two. I wasn't even thinking writing for real at that point. The writing for real started two months later, and you can bet that publishing it was in the back of my mind the whole time! It was a story I wrote with my kids as the main characters, and I figured that I'd just change them a bit during revisions. I wrote it purely off instinct. Then came my REAL first book. The one with an intended audience of thousands and thousands. :) I jumped off the diving board very deep into the writing world. I took incredible writing classes, went to lots of conferences, read every blog and book on writing I could get my hands on, and worked on writing every spare moment.
The problem was... when I got to the end of the book, I realized I had improved SO MUCH from when I started the book. Revisions were daunting, to say the least. (I kind of felt like this guy here.) Plus, there was this fabulous NEW idea calling my name. Someday I might pilfer ideas from the story, because the concept was great, but I wouldn't revise it. I'd be so much easier to start from scratch.
I write action / adventure books for middle grade readers, and I'm represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties. I have two books released-- SKY JUMPERS and THE FORBIDDEN FLATS (both action / adventure, for ages 8 and up, with Random House Children's Books). I love happy kids even more than I love cookies, I make lists as often as I eat lunch, and I love having every light in the house on almost as much as I love writing.