I'm fortunate enough to know a YA author who also happened to work in the publishing industry. He was kind enough to take a look at my first chapter, and his critique was fantastic. Without his input I have no doubt my novel would be anything like ready for publication.
I mailed him recently to give him an update (oh, and to also ask him if he'd like to come and give a talk in my school some time). I told him that I'd bashed out my first novel, and was at the editing stage. Then I added that I'd done most of my first draft for novel two, and had ideas for three and four. I fleshed out the bare bones of my novel number three outline, and am very, very excited about it.
Whilst my learned author friend congratulated me on my progress, he suggested I hang fire and get more feedback on novel number one from agents and/or publishers before I go and write anything else. He suggested I might be barking up the wrong tree as far as they're concerned, and feedback from them might help to 'shape my future ideas'.
Part of me thinks who's to argue with a man who used to work in publishing and has six published novels to his name? But then part of me trusts in my writerly ability, and the fact that I'm naturally improving and progressing as a writer, and trust in my novels to improve. The guy who's writing novel no.2 is a lot more savvy than the guy who wrote novel no.1, and I'd like to think the same will apply to novel no.3. It's given me much to ponder, and I'll let you know what I decide to do...