The second novel is no easy feat, and with that in mind I put together a series of questions for debuts who are tackling the next obstacle in their career path. I call it the SNOB - Second Novel Omnipresent Blues. Whether you’re under contract or trying to snag another deal, you’re a professional now, with the pressures of a published novelist compounded with the still-present nagging self-doubt of the noobie. How to deal?
Today's guest for the SNOB is Emily R. King debut author of THE HUNDREDTH QUEEN a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat.
Is it hard to leave behind the first novel and focus on the second?
My second published novel is actually the next installment of The Hundredth Queen Series, so I can’t actually leave book one behind. Second books in series are hard. The author has to meet the reader’s expectations established in the first book and then take everything up a level. The romance, suspense, twists, action, world-building—everything has to ring familiar to the reader yet also be elevated. The most difficult part of the experience is that for the first time I am competing with myself in an open arena. Where before I tried to improve upon each manuscript I wrote, the outcome was mostly private, limited to my critique partners and beta readers. But now that book one will be out for everyone to read, I am striving to retain my readership by one-upping the first book. Tough doings!
At what point do you start diverting your energies from promoting your debut and writing / polishing / editing your second?
Working on two projects at once has its challenges. Becoming an author means wearing a lot of different hats. I set aside certain tasks until after I landed a book deal that I wish I had done before. Some ways to help ease the madness of editing book one while drafting and revising book two would be: establish your social media presence where you will interact with book bloggers and other industry professionals; establish your website with your contact information, news/events, and blog; talk to authors about their pre-publishing process and use their advice when you are in the trenches with book two.
Your first book landed an agent and an editor, and hopefully some fans. Who are you writing the second one for? Them, or yourself?
The second book for is for my publisher, which is weird, because for the first time I am writing a book that WILL be published. But I love the world and characters in The Hundredth Queen Series and am happy to spend more time there.
That being said, between book one and two is the time when an author really has to dig deep and understand why they write. Do they do it for fun? Is it enough to be published? Was that their goal? If so, what is their new goal? What keeps them motivated? I had to really think about and understand why I write, so in the end, whether I am jazzed about my newest story or sick to death of it, fundamentally, every book should in some way fulfill me.
Is there a new balance of time management to address once you’re a professional author?
I am more aware of how much time I spend on social media. When I am on deadline, I delete the social media apps on my phone and turn the Internet connection off on my laptop. This prevents notifications, etc. from interfering with my work. I am also more protective of my writing time. I turn my phone to silent when I am writing, and I write or read every single day.
What did you do differently the second time around, with the perspective of a published author?
I understand my emotions better, so when I hate my book with a fiery passion I know it will pass. I can survive hard editorial critique and finish the suggested edits by deadline. I have more confidence in what I do correctly in my writing, and I am more aware of what I need to improve upon. The emotional highs and lows continue to astound me, but they can be mitigated by shortening the amount of time I am on social media and by keeping my eyes on my own paper. No two publishing journeys are alike. No debut author can look at a successful author’s career and be guaranteed theirs will be the same. But because we are all unique, that leaves ample room for unexpected achievements.