It was part of the book deal--I sold ACROSS THE UNIVERSE as a trilogy. Which was really funny, as I'd originally thought of AtU as a stand-alone. I think I was the only person on Earth who had a mini-panic-attack at the thought of selling MORE books!
2. As you prepared to write your second (published) novel, did you worry about making the book similar to (or different from) your first book? Did you think about reviews, book #1’s fans’ expectations, or other factors? Did you have any issues with writers’ block?
Everyone always says that the second book is the hardest--and they ain't lying! What's more, I desperately wanted to avoid the sophomore slump.
With my first draft, I think I tried too much to stick to what worked in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. I gave myself what I called "Catching-Fire-Syndrome." While I love those books, CATCHING FIRE was my least favorite because I felt it was too close to HUNGER GAMES. Which is *exactly* what I did with my first draft of A MILLION SUNS.
So I rewrote the book. Then, I realized that what I'd originally planned wasn't working--so I rewrote it again. And one more time, just for luck.
I didn't really worry too much with reviews or reader's expectations--mainly because every review or reader expectation was different from the one before. You cannot please everyone. So I didn't bother even trying.
But I'd be lying if I said that I didn't add the Elder-is-pantsless scenes for the girls who think he's hot.
3. What would be your #1 WRITING TIP FOR BOOK 2?
Start working on it AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. I gave myself a "break" after finishing edits on Book 1, which was a huge mistake. One week turned into four, and by the time I started writing, I'd pushed myself into a corner. I had to rush to get it to crit partners, rush to get it done by deadline. I wish I'd started much much sooner.
4. Are you doing the same type of marketing for the second book as you did for the first? Do you feel you’ve found a “comfort zone” for self-marketing? How have you done so?
Well, I try to pay attention to what works and what doesn't work in terms of marketing. I definitely think the classic bookmarks, bookplates, etc., and making them available to readers, works. This year, I'm experimenting with rubber band bracelets. But also working on doing more live experiences, etc.
I've toned down on online interaction in some areas. I think I over-saturated the blogosphere with an overabundance of interviews, so I'm doing less of them this year--especially as I found myself answering the exact same questions over and over again. I'm not doing guest posts as much, either, but that's mostly because they take so much time for me, and I'm simply short on time, this year more than last.
5. What would be your #1 MARKETING TIP FOR BOOK 2?
Weigh your options: for every penny you spend on marketing, ask if it's reasonable to expect that much in return for your investment. Same goes with time--is the marketing endeavor worth your time? I was so excited to be published, that I definitely wanted to do all the things! But some of it, while fun, wasn't worth the expense in either time or money. That said, some was: don't be afraid to experiment with marketing ideas, but keep track of expense versus pay-off.
6. What’s next for you as a writer? As a, well, human?
As a writer: more words! I'm working on SHADES OF EARTH now, the third book, and I've got an idea I'm super excited about for the next book. But first, finishing SHADES OF EARTH!
As a person? Well, I'm actually taking time out this year for a vacation with my family, so that's exciting! :)
Find Beth around the interwebs at...
And here's some more Bookanista fun!
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Corrine Jackson delights in CHOPSTICKS
Jen Hayley gives a shout-out to the classics
Debra Driza celebrates CINDER – with giveaway!
Katy Upperman raves over JELLICOE ROAD
Hilary Wagner is all about LEXAPROS AND CONS – with giveaway
Carolina Valdez Miller talks about the tremendous cover of TEN
Jessica Love has high ratings for THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Thanks so much for this series. I'm hoping to sell a second book in this lifetime, so the tips are very much appreciated.
What a great idea, Stasia, and wonderful thoughts, Beth. I don't even have my first novel sold, and I've already dreaded the sequel, so Beth, no, I'm sure you're not the first to have those thoughts! It's much easier to hold picture books in my head, but even there, the second of my dinoseries was extra hard to write. Thanks for the great post...
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