I can do that. Especially the middle initial thing. I might be too vain to totally change my name, though (unless of course the first book is a complete flop). But I get you on the sell-through concept. Thanks.
Should I just put it aside and work on something else... book five in the other series (my agent's taking a look at those after this one sells), another stand-alone (I have two started)?
(I noticed that there was talk about making a compilation of the more salient bits. Did that come to any fruition? It might be a bit crazy to ask now, considering how long ago that was, but it can't hurt to check.)
Yes, put it aside. If the one on submission doesn't sell it won't have a sequel.
No, don't work on something in another series.
First, write a short story to clear your palate. (See above, this year's Christmas Challenge for one possible way to do this. Hey, mine sold.)
Next, write a totally stand-alone book. Do it this way: Three pages a day, without fail, for three straight months. At the end of that time you will have a book -- and you'll probably have a call-back from your agent.
And watch a couple of movies along the way. And read a few novels just for fun. You have to top off your fun tank. It may be getting low.
There's the Uncle Jim Undiluted thread, but more than that, there's a book that's in progress based on this thread.
Yog's right. I'm living proof. When my agent took on my book and raved about it, I went right into a sequel, thinking that we had it sewed up for a sale. One year later--the prequel has not sold. Where does that leave the sequel? You guessed it.
You have my official permission to Write Crap.