I recently had a chance to talk to someone about the experience of writing A Love Story for Witches and how that differs from this year as I start to embark on the journey of a sequel. I noticed that the words that I was speaking to this person seemed pretty relevant so I said, “Hey, I have a blog space thing, I should share this information.” Here follows the reasons that writing your second book is much better than your first, in my own personal opinion.
When I was asked to write A Love Story for Witches, I had never written anything in prose before and so the already prevalent “You’re not good enough” that comes with the brain of any writer (Prepackaged and patent pending) was given a booster shot of (You really can’t do this, why are you even trying?) Every moment of every day spent writing the first book I was constantly asking myself “But seriously, can you ACTUALLY finish this thing?” And the answer I usually gave myself was “No. You’re an idiot and a failure. Go cry in the corner. No, not that corner. Look at you, you can’t even pick the right corner to cry in.”
But then, this truly miraculous, unexpected thing happens: You actually, against all odds, finish the book.
When starting the second book, I immediately could tell that something had changed and upon more self reflection, I realized that the daunting terrifying thought of not being able to do it was gone. Of course I could do it. I’d already done it once and now I knew more and had more resources at my disposal. It’s as if I’d proven something to myself. It’s a pretty great feeling. I suggest you all skip the first step of not believing in yourself and just jump to phase 2 in which you treat yourself like a good person who tries hard and succeeds instead of a failure who deserves nothing less than sitting underneath a raincloud and crying like a cartoon character.
More Faith from the Publisher
Your publisher says they believe in your project the way that your ex says “We’ll totally stay in touch.” They mean it when they say it, but they forget it by the next day. That is, until your first project doesn’t fail miserably the way you thought it would. Suddenly, they give a shit. I think it’s important to note that I don’t fault them for this behavior. It’s a business but now that I am into book two, I am given a lot more leeway, resources and ACTUAL belief in what I’m trying to do. The best part is that the publisher believing in your project usually also comes with more money and more job security.
Knowledge is Power
This one sounds pretty obvious, but in case it isn’t: you know so much more about how you write, what you’re writing about, who you’re writing for and what the hell you’re even doing putting words onto paper, when you write your second book. When I say that writing ALSfW was a huge learning experience, I am not joking. I outline better now. I plan more. I catch mistakes faster. I come up with better ideas sooner and feel less sad when having to let go of an idea I really wanted but ultimately hinders the story. I understand my process better and know what realistic deadlines look like. And all that information means that in writing a second book I don’t just start back at having no tools at my disposal like a Zelda game. (Honestly, just hold on to that friggin’ sword so we don’t have to go through this EVERY time.) I can use that information to become even better.
Knowing what to expect in the publishing process
I think the scariest part of the whole process was the part where I gave it to another person, my baby, my hopes and dreams, and waited for a stack of paper in binding to spit back out. The reason this is so terrifying is that you don’t really know what to expect. It’s really not scary at all though, and when you get your first copies in the mail, it’s like a huge sigh of relief pours out of you. So, let me quickly explain the steps and you will see it is not so bad.
You send book to publisher.
They send back. You missed one little thing.
You fix. Resend.
They send back. That thing you fixed screwed up something else.
You fix. Insert curse word. Resend.
They say okay.
You wait two weeks.
You get copies, book goes up on Amazon.
You will notice that the worst part is the last minute fixes. Other than that, it is pretty painless and not worth the stress. It turns out, the publishing process is the easiest part of the whole friggin’ thing, so if you find that this is the part that scares you, calm down and focus on what really matters. You know, the whole not being good enough part.
As I start this adventure of sequeldom, I constantly notice places of the process which frankly made me a nervous wreck last year but now seem easy as watching ten episodes of Friends on Netflix in a row. I hope this sets your worries to some rest. Good luck fellow writers. Until next we meet, at least TRY not to bang your head against a wall when the characters won’t listen (Or for those of you on the more crazy side, when the characters won’t stop talking.)