This is a continuation of my report on the experience of launching a second novel. If you missed the first part, no worries! You can read it here. To recap:
Everyone loves a debut. A new star bursts on the scene, with a world of possibilities still ahead. A friend publishes her first book and has her dream come true. The second book? Not so much.
I’d heard about the “sophomore slump”—the letdown and lack of media interest in a second novel. I’d also heard that a second book is easier because the process isn’t so unknown; experience can bring clarity, confidence, and manageable emotions.
Both descriptions of the sophomore novel made sense to me. Since I was about to launch my own second book, I was curious to know what others had to say—writers who had “gone before me” and could reflect back on what it was like. I reached out to authors I knew whose second books had come out fairly recently and asked three questions:
- How was the second book different for you, externally? That is, did you approach it differently in terms of promotion, strategy, finances, and so on?
- How was it different for you, internally? That is, were there differences in your expectations, attitude, emotions, personal experience?
- Were there ways in which the two experiences were similar?
I ended up talking with twenty people, representing a wide spectrum of publishing paths. Because I collected so much data, it made sense to share it over two posts. Last month’s post focused on the first question—how the authors’ external choices and experiences differed in the second book—that is, how they focused their time and spent their money, what they did themselves and what they outsourced.
Today’s post focuses on the second question—what it felt like, internally. Here is what these twenty people had to say about what it was like the second time around: differences in self-confidence, self-care, expectations, fear of disappointment, and other aspects of the emotional experience. [Read more…]