Are you intimidated by the thought of writing your second book? You’re not alone. In fact, many authors have suffered from a condition known as Second Book Syndrome.
Also called the “second book slump,” this well-documented phenomenon occurs when an author’s second book fails to live up to their first one. With Second Book Syndrome being so common, it’s not surprising that many writers dread working on their second book.
However, you don’t have to be paralyzed with second-book fear. With the right steps, you can complete your next book and make it even better than the first. Here’s what you need to know to write a second book people want to read.
Bring Something New to the Table
If you’re writing a series, every book needs a viable story that can stand on its own. Sure, readers generally consume one book after the other in a series. But not always. Some will accidentally start your series right in the middle. For their sake, every book should add to the overarching whole of your storyline, while also acting as a self-contained novel.
That’s not all that should change when writing your second book. Your characters should as well. Or rather, you should add new ones. When you introduce new characters, make them unique and memorable.
You should also give your readers new settings and avoid using the same plot twists and the same tropes in the same ways. Use reader expectations against them. Make them think you’re going toward a certain point (as you did in your first book), but wind up somewhere else. This will make your book more fun to read.
Finally, don’t think of your second book as a bridge between the first and the third in the series. Write your second book with its own story arc, plot, and set of stakes.
When Writing Your Second Book, Learn From Your First
Your first book is the product of trials, errors, and lessons. You went through the process of storytelling, planning, writing, editing, and revising. Now, it’s time to apply the lessons you’ve learned from your first book when writing your second book.
Identify the issues your first book had and avoid those the next time you write. Also, find out the common themes (both positive and negative) that came up in your beta readers’ feedback.
Put these insights into practice to improve your writing on your second book. Although there will always be some difficulties, you can write your next book with more confidence. You’ll also have a better idea of how to make the writing process work for you this time.
Tune Out the Noise and Pressure
When writing your second book, you’ll be aware of many things at once. You may fear your second book won’t measure up to the success of the first one. This self-doubt adds to the stress of writing.
As a second-time author, you must tune everything out. Try not to think about external pressure and focus on your book. Don’t second-guess your ideas. Just write. Create a story you’re passionate about. The rest will work its way out.
If ever you feel lost, remember why you decided to write this book in the first place. Reconnect with your motivation and passion as you tackle your second book. Remind yourself of the things that made you excited to write your first book. Then use that as motivation to finish book number two.
Share Your Unfinished Work
Consider sharing your work in progress with others if you haven’t already done so. A group of fellow writers or trusted readers can critique your work and provide fair and useful feedback.
It might feel uncomfortable to show people your unpolished work, but it’s a wonderful way to improve your work. Their feedback helps you gain confidence that you’re on the right track.
Sharing your unfinished manuscript while writing your second book is also a great way to save time on the editing process. It lessens the burden on your editor, which will likely save you time and money.
Publish Your Second Book
Writing always comes with challenges. Don’t let those challenges keep you from writing your second book. Trust the creative process and get to work!
And if you’re ready to publish your first, second, or twentieth book, Argyle Fox Publishing is here to help get your book off your computer and onto bookshelves.