your second novel, the little so-and-so
Will it be easier to write a second novel after publishing my debut?
I suppose it would be if you could just “find and replace” the character names and a few key details. Alas, many debut writers say that writing a second novel is very difficult. If you already have a second book under contract, you will be subject to deadlines, which can be brutal for an author who wrote his/her first book without such pressures. If you don’t have a second book under contract, you might feel pressure to quickly write and sell another novel in order to keep up your publishing momentum. Bad reviews or lack of promo for your first novel might have lowered your confidence by the time you start writing your second novel. Conversely, good reviews and positive attention for your first book might make you feel like your second book won’t be able to measure up. If you’re doing a lot of promo for your first novel, especially if it involves traveling, you might not find much time to write that sophomore novel.
Is it possible for the second book in my two-book deal to get canceled?
Yes, but I’m not sure how often that happens. Sometimes a sequel will get canceled if the first book doesn’t perform well, but I think a cancellation occurs more often with a third book than with a second book. Don’t quote me on that.
Any tips for how to get through the sophomore experience?
Do what you can to release pressure. Try not to rely on book sales for your income; that way, if it takes longer than expected to publish a second novel, you won’t be living on saltines. Ask for your deadlines to get pushed back if that’s what you need–everyone will be happier to have a good second book at the expense of having a speedy follow up. Stay in contact with other writers who can remind you that most sophomore novels are cheeky brats.