Congratulations! You made it! Your first book is published! And now…you get to write another one! But you’re also marketing Book One and possibly even doing school or book club visits, even if you’re an introvert! (Watch for the marketing-for-introverts post coming May 27!)
So how do you manage to juggle it all? Here are my top five tips from my own experiences this past year on completing Book Two.
1) Write, Right Now
Start writing your next book as soon as you begin querying book 1. Not even kidding a little. I know it can be hard, when so much of your heart and soul is caught up in that first book. But don’t fear the sophomore slump. Truly, the biggest thing that helped me balance everything is getting a lot of work done on the next story in the lull between submission and the first round of edits. If you can get your next book on its way, then you’ll find yourself drawn to it even when you have a lot of other things on your plate. You will make time to write when you’re excited about the story you’re telling. Knowing there will be another book in your future also helps reduce anxiety about the one about to come out, because you just don’t’ have 100% of your energy on it. You can’t. You’re too busy writing. Right?
2) Plan Ahead if You Can
If you are writing a series, go ahead and plan out the NEXT book while you are writing the first or second book. I didn’t know my book would turn into a series and I wrote myself into some corners that took extra time to work myself out of it. Time is not something you’ll have a ton of. Keep in mind, if you are writing a series, you will eventually move on from Book 2 to Book 3. Then you’ll be marketing book 1, editing book 2 post-submission and marketing it, and drafting book 3. You may be doing school visits or book club visits, too. Planning ahead can save you time later. If you’re a total panster, this method may not work for you, but it might be worth a shot.
3) Time Management is Your Friend
Make a daily to-do list, a weekly list, and a set of longer term goals. Cross things off as you finish, and break big goals down into achievable, measurable steps. With Book Two, I had to figure out how to fit many more activities into the same amount of day. You might try breaking your day into segments if you can. Maybe you’ll do social media marketing stuff first thing in the morning and at lunch. Don’t leave your Facebook tab open if it sings you a siren song. If you can set a chunk of time for marketing and leave it at that, the rest of the day you may find it easier to write on your next book.
4) Narrow Your Focus
Marketing will be important for you to fit in. The goal is, of course, connecting with readers and other writers, which is lovely and fun. But marketing can take a lot of time, and not all of it will be productive for your genre or audience or personal style. Decide on a few things you will do well, and focus on those, rather than trying to stretch yourself across a dozen social media platforms sporadically. You’ll feel a stronger sense of accomplishment, build a better community, and once you get the hang of each particular platform, you can work faster and smoother because you know what you’re doing. (More on marketing next time!)
5) Put Your Rear in the Seat
I wish I had some really exciting tip or trick to getting everything thing done. I don’t. It’s mostly hard work. But the good news, once you learn to let go of obsessing about your first book (well, obsessing less) and focus on the next one, it becomes even easier to move on from book two to book three and so on. You’ll begin to trust yourself, knowing that there will always be another story to tell, and one book is not going to make or break you.
A writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. Treat it accordingly.
Stay on top of things.
Keep your eyes on your big goals.
The rest will come. You’ve got this.
Amy writes fantasy stories for tweens and teens. She is a former reading teacher with her Masters in Library Science. As an Army kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters and are currently living in Germany, though they still call Texas home.
Her upcoming upper-middle grade fantasy, Mer-Charmer (World of Aluvia, Book Two) releases May 9th from Curiosity Quills Press.
About MER-CHARMER ( World of Aluvia, Book Two)
To save her beloved merfolk from an ancient sea beast, 14-year-old Phoebe dives into the ocean and discovers her own magic. But when the beast decides she is the tastiest prey in the ocean, she must learn to control her wayward sea magic, earned at a shocking cost, or lose the very people she loves the most.