I have learned that part of having a multi-book contract with a publisher is the requirement to provide them with an outline of the second book. My publisher (Kensington Publishing) is also the publisher for several other SINC-NE members, Liz Mugavero and our chapter president, Barb Ross.
For us, the outline is due two months after we submit the manuscript for the first book (which for me is the period when my first book under my pen name of Tace Baker comes out, the period requiring LOTS of promotional activities). Once the outline is in, the manuscript for the second book is due seven months later, which will fall a month after the publication date for the first book. Rinse and repeat. It’s quite a schedule.
What do you think of when you hear outline?
A. Chapter One
1. Farm-to-Table dinner.
2. Get to know new characters.
a. Unliked community member.
b. Person with reason to kill a.
Right? I was not looking forward to this experience. I write my by the seat of my pants, or into the path of my headlights, which move forward with me. I suppose outlining the whole book would help me get it written more efficiently, but would it also start to bore me if I knew what happened ahead of time?
Or if they wanted a detailed synopsis, that would involve describing pretty much every scene. Again, might as well just write the book!
Luckily, when I queried the editor, he said something to the effect of, “Beginning, middle, end. Who, what, where, when, why. Doesn’t have to be super long.” Whew! That I think I can do. And if the end changes while I’m writing it, I think that will be acceptable. After all, with the first book, they didn’t ask about the end (or the middle) and I didn’t know it ahead of time, either.
Do you write to an outline? Have you had to write a detailed synopsis?