It’s finally happened. You get the “call.” Receiving that long-awaited “call" (usually an email today) from a publisher is the closest an author can come to an out of body experience.
forward... Your first book survives editors, cover artists, and all the
attendant hands involved in the publishing process. Your sales may have
been better or worse than you hoped for, but if your editor still
answers your emails and your publisher sends out your royalty checks
there’s a good chance you’ll sell another book.
That's a great
thing—right? Hmmm... When your first book was released everyone you knew
bought a copy. Maybe several. You may have pictures of your kids, your
spouse, and friends posing with your book. You proudly post them on
social media. After all, you are a published author.
spent lots of time and energy—much more than you expected—promoting that
first novel. But not wanting to be a one-hit wonder you've been
cranking out chapters for book two. With an editor who believes in you
and lots of hard work you sign another contract (or maybe you signed a
multi-book deal up front.) My first editor told me that once you get
into the world of the published opportunities appear. You get invited to
sell and sign your book at libraries, bookstores and conferences. That
magazine or paper that kept turning you down miraculously decides they
found just the place for your article!
All this takes time, lots
of it, and you find it difficult to complete that second novel. But
somehow, you burn the midnight oil, turn down invitations, and
concentrate. Suddenly you’re putting “The End” after the last page.
Number two is ready to go! But something has changed. For starters
unless it takes you years to write, you’re probably still actively
selling the first book. Now the time you dedicated for signings,
readings, and social media must be divided. And you soon find a subtle
change in the attitudes of many of those close to you. Your kids,
significant others, and the friends who supported you and bought
multiple copies of book one no longer show you pictures with them
holding the new one. It may even become a bit uncomfortable.
let’s be honest, if you spent years writing, editing, and fine tuning
that first book, some of your enthusiasm has waned. Because once you get
into writing the second book, my friends, it is no longer a diversion,
something to talk about at parties. Writing has become a JOB!
that cloud does have a silver lining. In most cases the first book
taught you things you now take for granted. You know how to navigate
through social media, publicists, and blog tours. You’ve been baptized
in the cauldron of public speaking. You find yourself more at ease. And
something else has happened, something far more enjoyable: while the
numbers may be small, unless book number one was a hideous failure, you
now have a following. And readers I’ve never met giving me 5-star
reviews is far more gratifying than those from my college roommate or
next door neighbors!
And while writing doesn’t guarantee a
luxury sedan every year it’s a rewarding career. Those of you who sign a
second book contract have learned skills and techniques that will serve
I’m working on my fourth novel. And I’ve found that
while the second (and third) can be difficult they can be more
rewarding. So take heart. Don’t let the task of being a multi-published
author frighten you.
If you did experience sophomore slump in
college you also found that you overcame it and went on to a brighter
and more successful junior and senior years. It’s ephemeral, a phase you
experienced as a student and one you may experience as a writer. To
quote a far more gifted mind than mine: this too will pass!