Having just turned in the second book of a two-book contract, I'm now contemplating what to do next. I do have two more book proposals under consideration with my editor, and I'm planning to write three more books in the Cooper Justice series so all the brothers have their own books. But given the rate I'm writing these days, I could easily be finished with all of the Cooper books by early 2010, even though the books themselves will be spread over 2010 and into 2011.
What that probably means is that I'll have time to contemplate a bigger book if I want to write one.
There are definite benefits to writing a bigger book. I'm not as limited by subject matter, type of hero/heroine, language, etc. as I am writing for category in general and Intrigue specifically. I can delve deeper into the areas of the story that aren't directly related to either the mystery plot or the romance, allowing me to explore other relationships for the hero and heroine--family, friends, etc.--as well as delve a little more into their own personal histories and issues. That's also quite tempting to me, as I sometimes have to leave things out of Intrigues that I might have liked to include in order to flesh out my characters a little more.
Plus, whether it's fair or not, single title authors get a little more respect from readers as a whole than category writers do, despite the fact that I believe some of the best writing happening today is happening in category, especially Intrigue--Dana Marton is hands down one of the best writers I know, and all the Intrigue authors out there flat out know how to tell a great story. I feel completely humbled to be included among them and it's a challenge to live up to their examples. The money for a single title author is hit and miss--but when it's a hit, it can be very good money. Who wouldn't want to be Norah, Jayne Ann, Suzanne or Susan Elizabeth?
On the other hand, there are also drawbacks to consider. First, I'd have to interest a whole new editor. And I'd almost certainly have to get an agent. I'm not sure how I feel about having yet another person to please, on top of a new editor, just to write a longer book. Pleasing the editor I have is hard enough! Also, there's a certain security in writing for Intrigue--you know there are going to be six monthly slots to fill, and if you're an established writer and you write a good book, you have a more than decent shot of landing in one of those slots. But becoming a debut single title author? It's like starting all over again.
I know several Intrigue authors who've either made the jump to single title or write single titles and category novels simultaneously. I know others who happily and successfully write only category books. I love writing category, and it's not a stretch to imagine myself writing Intrigues for the rest of my career.
So I guess I'll keep pondering this question until the Cooper Justice books are done, and then maybe I'll have an answer.