Three ways it’s different with your second book

Emoji_u270c.svgLet’s face it – things are always special the first time. But hey, the second time can be pretty good too. It’s fair to say nothing beats the thrill of getting your first book published. A publisher finally saying yes, the first time you hold a copy in your hand, seeing it in a store. It’s all very lovely for those of us who have dreamed of being published authors. But – there’s something to be said for the second time around too.

Here are three ways it’s different with your second book:

1. Less Deceived
You pick up a little wisdom going through the process of having your first book out. You start to learn the ropes, almost without realising you are doing so.
You realise what you can and can’t expect from a publisher for example. You might be pleased by some of the ways they can help you, and very surprised by some of the things they don’t do. You learn how social media can help you and you find out about its limitations too. You learn a bit about what works in terms of publicity and personal appearances and so on. So you learn to head for the things which work and to avoid investing too much time and effort in the ones which didn’t work first time around.

2. If you build it they will come
By the time your second book comes out you have a little audience of readers which you didn’t have first time round. Now if, like me, you perversely choose to write two books which are entirely different from each other in style and content then this audience isn’t guaranteed to follow you down the road to book two. This I suppose is why so many writers tend to go for book of the same genre each time or even write a series. That makes all kinds of sense but it’s not for me, I’d rather write the books I feel compelled to write and I have been lucky that plenty of the people who read Song of the Sea God have decided to take a chance on The Pick-Up Artist, which has also picked up new readers of its own. But, so long as people liked your first book some of them will be prepared to invest in you as an author and see where your muse took you second time around.
Plus you will have built up some friends and followers on social media, that all important ‘author platform’ that people in the know are always going on about. So the bottom line is that, though you still have a mountain to climb to find readers, you are at least at base camp.

3. It’s still fun, but different fun

You might think that having gone through the process of having a book out once the shine might wear off the second time but it’s still a thrill. OK it doesn’t have the surprise element – but it’s still very satisfying,
Now that’s not to say that by book 12 or 13 it might not all be a bit meh – only time will tell. But I can honestly say I get just as much buzz out of signing my second book for someone, seeing it on the shelf of a bookshop, getting a nice review, as I did first time around.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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8 thoughts on “Three ways it’s different with your second book”

    1. That’s very true, and you don’t know what reception they will get which is interesting. You lose the newness after the first time but it’s still fulfilling knowing you’ve created something which is out there in the world.

  1. All recognisable for me too, Chris. Even more is the different audience. I find people who have read my memoirs often don’t take a chance on my fiction. But that’s life. I can honestly say that the thrill remains the same for me for each book too.

    1. It would be easier to attract a regular audience if we were to write to a template of course, but that wouldn’t be nearly so much fun 😉

    1. That’s very true Janet and that confidence is so important too I think – it’s tough out there and very easy to become disheartened.

  2. My second book was not so exciting for my friends and colleagues, only a couple showed any interest. But that was ok because the sales from then on came from people who were actually keen on my stories, not folk doing me a favour. So when people said they liked it, I believed them instead of friends just being polite.

    1. That’s very true. I think in general new authors get a surprise when they see who supports their book and who does not. If you are expecting massive support from among family and friends you might be in for a shock as not everyone will be as excited as you are about your literary achievement. And this is doubly true with a second book when the novelty value has worn off. Still, as you say, the good news is that you have hopefully started attracting some readers who like your work for its own sake.

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