Forging ahead in the indie world: Why book #2 should always be easier than book #1

This is a post by Donna Brown

Last may my husband, David, published his first book and since then it has been hard work all the way. The book took two years from first chapter to final edit and we thought it was time to sit back and put our feet up. No siree! Instead, that's when the real work began – the promotion and marketing – and it has been exhausting.

So, can we put our feet up now instead? No siree! Something special is coming up a year after book one's publication: the publication of book two. We are knee deep in chapters, edits, drafts, redrafts etc. at the moment.

So, given the breakneck pace of the indie author's life I thought I'd share some resolutions that are helping us to keep the faith as we now approach book two:

Think about all the things that will be easier.

By now you should have your lists of reviewers, promotional opportunities, and sales channels. The research you've done for book one should place you in great standing for the months ahead. Dig it out, dust it off and pat yourself on the back for a job well done – but don't forget to check if it's still up-to-date.

Remember how much cheaper it's going to be!

We spent a pretty penny getting the word about book one out there, because we didn't know what was effective and what was a poor choice for the book/genre. Fortunately, this means we're already prepared for book two – we can put our pennies into the areas that worked for us. Check back on what worked in order to protect your checking account!

Utilize your contacts

You've spent months building up relationships with new people from designers (for ads, bookmarks, buttons etc) to blurb wizards. David sought help with his cover and blurb for book one. Both changes had an impact on sales. He was able to go straight to those people who had helped him in preparation for book two's release. So, think of ways to get ahead of the game before it even starts.

Work your mailing list!

If you haven't built up a mailing list since launching book one, the chances are you've still built up a barrage of facebook fans and Twitter followers. Start getting the word out about your up-and-coming book. Don't spam, but do make sure they know what's coming up.

Get your reviews set up before the book is out!

Okay, this doesn't really apply to book two but to all book releases. Don't start contacting reviewers once your book is out there in the public domain – prepare ARCs and offer them to bloggers at least a month before. It can take a popular blogger 6-12 months to reach your book so help yourself out by getting an ARC to reviewers as soon as you can. If it is your second release, definitely make sure to contact those people who reviewed book one – if they enjoyed it I'm sure they'll be pleased to sample your new work.

Above all, stay positive.

It can be an exhausting business but it's like levering away at a boulder. It'll take a little at a time to get it moving, then it's a steady crawl forward, and then suddenly it's picking up pace. However hard it seemed to market book one, just remember that book two will be a dream by comparison, and you'll be one additional rung up the ladder towards being a savvy author and not the struggling newbie you were a year ago!

 

About this post's author:

Donna Brown works as a self-employed consultant and freelance editor. She also runs a book blog (Book Bags and Cat Naps) and The Indie Exchange, designed to connect authors and readers.

Pavarti K Tyler

I love this. I did everything backwards and wrote book 3 first, book 2 second and then wrote and published book 1 🙂 But it’s definitely getting easier with everything I learn!

    Donna Brown

    Even though we’re only looking back on 7-8 months, I’m stunned by everything we’ve picked up. It’s not a learning curve, it’s a roller-coaster!

Jane Rutherford

Right now I still need to finish book one (I keep getting distracted), but reading this post, it made me feel a little better about what’s ahead of me. Sure, it’ll be long and painful with book one, but since I’m not planning on quitting any time soon, at least I have something to look forward to (book 2!)

    Donna Brown

    Hi Jane

    It’s a slog – but like most slogs, the work you put in is SO rewarding. Every bit of feedback, every great review, every sale is a huge shot of adrenaline that keeps you going, so don’t worry!

    Donna

Sarah Butland

All so very true, Donna and very comforting to know that even those who seem to be experts sometimes struggle. Comforting to know you’re not alone and yet sad to see that others are in the same position.

    Donna Brown

    I’ve spoken to hundreds of people in the last few months and drawn the conclusion that everyone faces the same obstacles but gradually over time the energy needed to overcome them lessens. It can be hard to stay positive but thankfully there’s usually a happy reader or even an ardent fan to give you a reason to keep promoting and keep writing.

    Good luck!
    Donna

Tracyann0312

Very true Donna. Book # 2 is easier than book # 1 because you just add continuation of the story unlike book # 1 where you will think many things. The place of the story will start also the characteristics of the characters. Who are the protagonist and antagonist? Staying positive is important to have your focus in writing. Thanks for sharing your great insight.

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