(This is my cat Persephone. She knows all about luxury problems, despite not being a cartoonist.)

Congratulations! You’ve finished your first published book. It’s been edited, copyedited, proofread, corrected, designed, approved, proofed, printed, bound, shipped, warehoused, marketed, sold into stores, and finally…


Now is the time for you to be busting your hump doing events, having a launch party, giving interviews, providing material to your publicist and marketing department, etc. You are going to be so busy promoting your book!

So when exactly in all of this are you supposed to work on your next book? The one your editor is waiting for? This is a nice problem to have (a luxury problem!) because, hey, it means you have two books getting published! But a luxury problem is still a problem, at the end of the day.

It’s not infrequent that this conflict arises at First Second. If we liked you so much we signed up a first book, it’s not hard to imagine we might like you enough to sign up a second. And in these cases there’s good reason for an author to wonder about her priorities.

Q: Which is more important, finishing my next book on time, or making sure my first book is a resounding success?

A: Yes!

Sorry, unhelpful.

The ideal-world answer is: both are important. Maybe just don’t sleep for a month? There you go! Problem solved.

The real-world answer is: if you need to choose one, take the time to promote your book. This is something First Second’s marketing and editorial staff generally agree on, because there’s a limited time frame to promote a book. Editorial deadlines generally have a little wiggle-room built into them, but most of the publicity for a book happens in the first month of its life. Seriously, that’s how narrow that window is. So we generally advise our authors to carpe the diem, and take a few weeks to get their first book out there before returning to the grindstone to work on the next one.

Next week in luxury problems: tuna vs catnip.