Currently, my least favorite words to hear (of a professional nature) are, "Do you have a second book out yet?" My honest answer (despite many close calls and lots of magazine work) is still, "No."
I just turned in two more pieces to a magazine editor today, and received timely payment for another piece just before Shabbos. Magazine work is good for me. To keep things in perspective: I've published more in the last year than in my entire previous writing life put together, and I'm getting paid for my work. I'm learning new stuff by writing new stuff with new people, and audiences are reading it!
However, when I tell people, "Sorry, no second book yet. But I've been writing for magazines," most people glaze over. If it ain't a book, it doesn't count
Lately, I've written several pieces which were really good but when friends and colleagues have read them, they've said, "It's awesome, but no one will ever publish it." I don't want to write what everyone else is writing, but book publishers (especially in the current market) are afraid to take risks.
I've saved up a lot of rejected book manuscripts. I rewrote a few for the magazine format, which is a little more forgiving and a lot easier to break in to, and a couple of them sold. Another, I'm holding on to, because I think it's only right for a picture book, and I think it might sell after book #2 proves my work can sell well, if that ever happens.
I know it's great publishing in magazines, and I hate being nudged by people about when my next book will be coming out. Part of the problem is this: I still want to sell another book. Books endure. They get read over and over. They generally do not end up in recycling bins.
I'm giving up on picture books for now. I have a LONG short story (more a novella) that I'm considering rewriting as a short novel for Jewish teenage girls.
Genre: sci-fi/fantasy. Probably will get rejected anyway. -sigh-