What Should My Next Book Be?

So I’ve finally got An Incomprehensible Condition out of the way, and I’m going to start work on the next few things. My plan is to structure my book-writing like a Claremont A-B-C type plot – have a main book that I’m doing the bulk of the work on at any one time, a second one that I’m writing bits of, and a third I’m planning, then keep moving each book up a stage as I finish.

(This will probably mean roughly one blog post per week on each of the A and B books for a while, unless either of them is a novel. I’ve decided that with the novels I have ideas for, I’m going to write and publish them *first* and then serialise them after the fact).

So I’m interested in which of the book ideas I’ve got people are most interested in reading – and also if there are any books you’d like to see me write. A few things to bear in mind, though:

My music books outsell the others by a factor of three to one.
I have recently joined the Mindless Ones, so comic and TV related posts should go over there unless they *definitely* don’t suit that site, rather than here (so for example posts on new Doctor Who will go over there, posts on old black and white Hartnell episodes over here. Posts about Grant Morrison or Peter Milligan comics definitely go over there, but I’m not sure yet about e.g. Cerebus – there’s a specific feel to that site, and I know some of my material works there, but am not sure how much yet).

Book ideas I’ve got already:
Beach Boys books vols 2 & 3 – this is necessary after publishing vol 1
Guides to Doctor Who episodes, one Doctor per book, starting with Hartnell
A Sherlock Holmes pastiche that has a twist that, unbelievably, I can’t find in any other Holmes pastiche.
A guide to self-publishing, focusing on non-fiction
A look at all Morrison’s DC superhero work (Animal Man, Doom Patrol, JLA, All-Star Superman, Batman, etc)
A guide to the music of the Monkees
A space-opera, high-concept science fiction novel
Guides to the solo albums of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison
A book on Cerebus
A Hammer-style Gothic horror novel

or something else?

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13 Responses to What Should My Next Book Be?

  1. Rachel Kate says:

    Ooh… I’d like to read any of those, but I’ll vote for the Doctor.

  2. Richard says:

    Hey, if you want to do all the research, Alex and I will do the critiquing (and the essays) for your “About Times” ;)

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      That’s great of you to offer (and I may well take you up on it). But I wouldn’t want to even *think* about competing with the About Time series, because they’re some of my very favourite books. This would be far closer to my Beatles and Beach Boys books – a couple of thousand words on each story, possibly trying to put it into context with influences and stuff. It’d bear the same resemblance to About Time as my Beatles book does to Revolution In The Head…

      BTW hope the package arrives OK. Sorry I didn’t get it to you in time for your trip.

  3. Weej says:

    I’d like to read a Dr Who guide, but I should also put a word in for original fiction, that would be equally good.

  4. Susan says:

    Hm. Well, I’ll limit myself to four (in no particular order):

    I am a Holmes fan, so the pastiche intrigues me. And I know there’s a lot of competition, but if you ever did a guide/analysis/critique for Holmes and his descendents, I’d eat it up. I know that’s been covered but I suspect that you could bring in things (like comics) that are usually missed. Plus, I’d be interested in your thoughts on things I’ve seen discussed elsewhere.

    Morrison stuff, of course.

    The Hammer horror novel.

    The Monkees guide.

    Would you rather have one fiction and one non-fiction in the queue? Or is it easier to get in the mindset for fiction/non-fiction and carry that through different books? (Asking because I originally thought, “Of course you’d want a mix of things to work on,” but that may be just be solipsism since I can see an advantage in going the other way, too.)

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      I do prefer working on a mixture of things, but I think if I do that any fiction will take a *long* time to write, so I’m considering that too.
      As for a Holmes guide, I don’t know enough about the character, other than that I love the original books, the Orson Welles radio show, the Basil Rathbone films, the Peter Cushing TV show and the Jeremy Brett show all in their very different ways.

  5. plok says:

    I want to know what the space-opera is.

    As far as Morrison you list goes, Doom Patrol is the only one that’s crying out to be done…I could see a book about Morrison “ephemera” (Seaguy, Vimanarama, Flex, basically anything small and moderately self-contained — call ’em “short stories” if you like) but DP is wild and woolly and all over the map and yet about a particular thing pretty solidly from start to finish…as opposed to 7S, which is about many things. So, I’d vote for that. Well, for either of those, but mostly DP: I’d actually like to see an “ephemera” survey as a way of examining Morrison’s career in a more citational than deep-drilling way, because I think there’s probably some good things to be gotten out of that, but in my opinion DP is special because of all the sheer verve it’s got, and its thematic unity, and so…yeah.

    I actually am not sure about the Doctor Who book as you describe it here — would perhaps prefer to read a book about just a few episodes? “Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Dr. Who I Learned From These Five Episodes”, I think people would indeed buy a Dr. Who book (not unlike how they’d buy a Beatles book) but there are already episode guides aplenty out there — so I’d be more specially attracted by something that puts your personal spin on things more front-and-centre.

    A more widely-ranging book on the music of the Monkees, however, is something I think would a) be really interesting, and b) sell pretty decently. There isn’t much scholarship about the Monkees out there, for how popular they are. Since you’re doing Beach Boys anyway and have already done the Beatles Mono Masters, I can’t think of a single good reason for you not to do a Monkees book.

    A book on Cerebus is probably needed.

    And I want to know what the Hammer book is, because I think I have a pretty good idea of what you would sound like writing a book like that and it intrigues the hell out of me…

    …But I have no idea what you’d sound like on a big high-concept space-opera, so I still want to know about that most of all.

    So there’s my two cents.

    Or maybe it was more like a nickel?

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      The Space Opera is based on the TV show pitch you asked me to come up with. Sort of. With elements of my DC Universe reboot idea.

      The Morrison ephemera thing sounds like a good idea too, actually.

      And that’s a *really* good idea for a Doctor Who book, actually. I may just do that…

  6. I really want to read more of How We Know What We Know. Of the ones on the list, Doctor Who would be my favourite, especially a whole book about Hartnell.

    I’d advise against a book about self-publishing because no matter how helpful it is, it’ll just look like a scam. How do you get rich from self-publishing? Sell a book which claims to answer that question to gullible people who want to get rich quick! If you want people to benefit from your experience just give it away free on your blog.

    • Andrew Hickey says:

      You’re right about the self-publishing thing. One reason I ask these kind of questions is that I’m not at all aware of how things look to other people, and you’re right – even though I do, of course, give away more than 90% of every book for free on my blog (I do a quite light rewrite for the book versions incorporating beta-reader comments, and usually add an introduction, a few extra footnotes, that sort of thing, but it’s basically the same stuff you get for free) it would look like I was trying to rip people off.

      As for How We Know What We Know, that’s dead, I’m afraid – I got a draft through of my uncle’s latest book (on why evidence-based medicine isn’t) about a month ago, and so much of his material on Solomonoff induction, Kolmogrov complexity, decision theory and Bayes’ theorem is almost word-for-word what I’d have written that I can’t now write that book – at worst it’d look like I’d plagiarised a family member, and at best we’d both be competing and stealing sales from each other, because there’s about a forty percent overlap in content, and we have very similar writing styles. I will, however, be announcing when his book comes out, because I think it’s an important book.

  7. Al Ewing says:

    I’m interested in Who, Morrison and Ceberus, and out of the three I’ll vote for Cerebus – it’s something that as far as I know nobody else is doing at the moment. (That said, there’s a huge article on it in the new Comics Journal, apparently.)

  8. David says:

    I vote for the Lennon, McCartney, Harrison solo albums.

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