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It's almost been a year since I first published (bit whiny, sorry)

3063 Views 39 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  VMJaskiernia
I released Larkspur in March of last year. I had a lot of fun, even editing it and releasing new covers, promoting. I started Delphinium not too long after that, a few months, and got off to a great start. I had 9K in a few days. I had a release date planned, a party on facebook.. and then life, or depression, or school got in the way.

I had to tell the facebook party, 40 people who cared enough to want to know the second my book was out, that I was pushing the date back. I did that.. several more times. After I messed up the first or second time I just couldn't get myself out of the hole.

It's late February. I still don't have book 2 done. I feel like I failed those that liked my story, and if they were interested in the sequel they aren't anymore. I suppose the super-winter we're having on the east coast isn't helping my emotions, but this isn't the first time I've felt like this.

Thought it would get easier, the doubt and worry, after the first story was done. Somehow it managed to get worse.

Sorry for the whiny rant.
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Sounds like the dreaded Second Book Syndrome. It's really common. Just battle through it and the next one will be easier!
Here are some hugs and jelly beans.
Aww, don't worry, VM, you'll figure things out. Momentum is hard to break. I heard a while back that you need to do something 7 times in a row for it to become habit. It's a muscle that you build. If you're down on yourself, you get really good at it. Happens to everyone at some point. Keep your chin up, and know that you've got loads of support from a bunch of ragged strangers on the interwebz ;)
I fell into that. Never wrote a sequel to my first book. Started over in a new genre, and was sooooo paranoid of repeating that, I wrote novellas, as fast as I could. Once I wrote and published 3 in a 3 month span, I still battled that "OMG, what if I stop again?"

My advice? Either write Book 2 for yourself, or move to another project. You might go back and write Larkspur 2, or maybe you won't.

And I just looked and saw that Larkspur is 15,000 words. You can do Book 2! :) Just sit down and write. You can do it! Yes you can!
You are so not alone that there's a name for it. "Second-book syndrome."

The cure for it? Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, and writing. Even if it sucks. Especially if it sucks. This is where you struggle through, finish the darned thing, and for the rest of your life, you are able to stare down your current manuscript and say in your best Clint Eastwood voice "I can conquer you. I finished the second book, I'll finish you."
I don't think you've failed anyone. Sometimes getting it right means taking more time than we'd like, and life does have a habit of getting in the way. Readers may want it asap, but more than that, they want our best work. True, we have to maintain a balanced viewpoint (spending a year over what could qualitatively be measured as a 0.5 percent boost in quality might be considered excessive), and all too often I think we writers have a tendency to obsess over minutia readers rarely if ever notice (raising hand here). So consider giving yourself permission to get it right rather than their getting it right now.
Huh, second-book syndrome. I guess it's nice to know there's a 'reason.'
I had major second-book syndrome but I only had a limited window to write it in, so I soldiered through it.  It wasn't as popular as my first book, but I survived.  :)  Book 3 is my latest source of anxiety.  I'm learning to just accept the stress and try not to use it as an excuse not to write.  You can do it! 
I feel your pain, I really do. It's like the guilt of making fans wait for book two makes it impossible to finish, and the cyclical nature of the no-writing and added guilt compounds the problem.

But take heart... my first book was released almost two years ago (maybe longer, can't remember) and the second one in that series is set to be released next month. It's doing decent with pre-sales, so obviously some of the fans are still interested. Book one is doing better than ever also.

In hindsight, if I had it to do all over again I would have written both books before making a series out of it officially. Or at least i would have not been so blatant that another book would follow the first one. It would have saved me a ton of angst and guilt.
Actually, when I put out my first one, I thought it would be a standalone. The fans didn't agree with me. So it wound up becoming a series, and it took me about three years to get the second book out. Now, I need to get another book out, and I still have to battle procrastination and what-if-I-suck-itis.
Thankfully (for me) I've never had to deal with this. I always want to write. I love to write. Sometimes, though, you just have to do it. I had the worst hangover ever today (yes, I did it to myself). I still had eleven chapters and about 25,000 words that had to be done over a two-day period. I sat down and did seven chapters (16,000 words) today. I hydrated with my Keurig and iced tea K-cups all day. I don't agree that you should just abandon the series if you've already started it and promised a sequel to people. That just creates a negative environment and alienates fans. Come through for them. They'll appreciate it.
I ended up feeling one of my series (young adult) was a failure because it was lagging in sales. I still pushed through because I knew I had to finish the series. It was originally going to be eight books. I condensed it into five. After feeling it was a failure, but putting out better books than the first in the series, the sales picked up exponentially. The characters started resonating with people (not to the level of my other stuff, but still significantly). I finished the last book in the series in the fall (although it doesn't launch until April). I've since decided to revisit the series in staggered trilogies (at least two) starting next year. I told my fans it will happen, and I'll make it happen. Sometimes things can surprise you.
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As someone who has been absolutely obsessed with a story before and had an author promise the next bit and never come back for a long damn time... I can tell you one thing you need to know:
When they finally came back on it over a year later, I was still there and was SUPER excited to finally see the story I wanted.

Further, they explained they'd been battling depression and other issues and not only did I accept that and not mind their long absence as much, I supported them. As did so many other fans, that their blog's comments were auto-closed due to being "full".

So don't let it get you down. Just keep writing! Get book 2 out! Go tell them it happened, but here's the thing! They'll be happy to see you back!
Start a mailing list and get those fans to sign-up for updates. Then, even if they forget, you can email them with news - when you have it. It's not ideal. We'd all want to pump out books one after another, but most of the time, that's not possible (especially for authors that also hold down a ft job).

As for writing it: Just do it. Even if it's a chapter a day. Do something, anything, every single day. Get into the habit of visiting your writing every day, and before you know it, you'll have a book.
I'm trying to avoid this by having the first three things written and ready to go before I first hit publish.
Though maybe then it'll come back and bite me as I try to write the fourth thing.....!....
Actually Kayla, thank you. You're very right, and while the fluff replies are nice (thanks guys <3), a kick in the arse is probably more helpful. If it makes you feel better I'm *not* making a ton of cash, and in the last three months I've sold 6 copies.

I'm on meds too, though I tend to forget to take mine (I should stop that). It's really great that you can and have powered through bad spots. I try, I do, but sometimes I end up throwing a pity party for myself. Now the party's over, I have to clean up and get stuff organized again.
Second books suck for most people. Its the first time you have people who have expectations for what your book should be. It's hard because for the first time in your life you writing for your fans and you don't want to disappoint them.

My advice would be to not make any announcements as to when the book will be finished until its actually finished.

Good luck and realize that you aren't alone. Most of us have been there in some way before.
Second book syndrome. When I had it, a writer told me it's because you know what's coming (in writing a book) and I guess there's resistance. Somehow, just knowing it was a "thing" and not "me" got me working again. Don't worry, your book is there in your subconscious and it'll get written.
Good luck!
You aren't whiny, you're being too hard on yourself. So forgive me for being preachy (but I can SO sympathize with missing deadlines for writing, I've done nothing else for years ;o) ) ...

The only case I've ever heard of someone dying because of a missed deadline is poor m'sieu Vatel, head chef for Fouquet and prince Conde, who hara-kiri'ed because the fish deliveries arrived late for a famous dinner for the Sun King -- and even the King, who was VERY aware of his own importance, thought the poor chef was over-reacting ...

It is not written in the sky or on stone tablets that deadline-missers are bad people that will go to hell for their sins against people's expectations. You aren't the first who's passed a deadline multiple times. You most likely meant it when you made your promise. You've most likely done your best to keep it. Since writing doesn't seem to be (for most of us anyway) like producing toilet paper or beer cans, why not be a bit kinder to yourself?

You wrote a book good enough for a lot of people to sign up for news on the next because they didn't want to miss it. That makes that book worth waiting for. Ask yourself what you'd appreciate the most from YOUR favorite writer :  a poor book now or a good one later.

There's plenty of good advice out there to get going again. Outlining might help to identify the "white spots", if missing plot parts is your problem. Freewriting about why you CAN'T really write (the finish of your novel) is a way to start getting words on screen again. "Writing crap" might also work, it often ends up producing crap that turns out to have some gold that can be mined. Browsing other works (movies, books, whatever) that tell stories in the same vein as yours is a time-honored way to re-grease the inspiration engine ("mature poets steal", remember?). A fun, off-beat trick is the "how would my fave writer have written the parts I haven't written yet?".

Try one, try'em all, or find some other trick that makes writing FUN again - fun will recharge anyone's batteries in no time.
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