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The Second Book Lull



It's been almost three months now since I released my debut novel, All the Wicked Dolls.


I can remember when I was in the middle of writing it, and listening to all the go to podcasts like Self Publishing Formula and Joanna Penn... and even though I knew starting this journey was going to be a long game, I think deep down you still hold on to all of the amazing stories you hear about all of the other successful self published writers. You think to yourself, I'm just going to get this book out there, and then boom, it will go viral, I'll be in the top charts, I'll get a tonne of great reviews really quickly and it will spur me on to continue and everything will be great.


That's obviously not what happens though!


I think the pandemic hitting, and the move to working from home, and the lack of commute really gave me more time to write than I normally would have done so I powered through the first book, I then powered through the draft of the second book and was like WOW that so quick and easy I loved it! What I didn't anticipate was that in the wake of releasing book one, and jumping into 'marketing' or basically doing anything I could think of to try and market the book, I sort of left book 2 to stew. Which at the time I thought was a great idea, all the advice out there tells you to have a break once you have done a draft and come back to it.


When I did go back to it over Christmas and re-read it, I found myself in such a dilemma. Realising from the first release that the Wicked Doll series is essentially a 'passion project', I hadn't thought about marketing or target audience. Yes it is YA... yes it is 'urban fantasy' to a degree, which is where the conundrum comes in. Readers expect certain things to happen in books of particular genres, certain tropes, character arcs etc. That is something that I did not include in any of my planning for the series, I put it all down from the heart about what I wanted to do and where I wanted it to go, but after realising and listening to feedback on the first book I knew I would have to change the second book significantly.


Now... it's not going to be a total re-write, but there are certainly important parts that need changing, need adding into it and then trying to make sure anything added flows and appears natural. I was originally planning on the series being five books, but I have come to the conclusion that I am going to finish in three books instead, which again means I have to rework the second book so that everything can be tied up.


This is HARD! I've been so stuck with it since Christmas, my brain has refused to work with it. I've also got ideas for a new project which I have started to work on and I'm about 20,000 words into it. At first I felt very guilty that I had started this new project, guilty that my brain would only think about that rather than the second book which I desperately need to get sorted and finish.


Yet what I have come to realise, is that I don't need to feel guilty. I want anything I write to be the best that it can be, and if my brain isn't allowing that at the moment then it can wait. It can wait until my brain is ready to re-engage with it so that it can be turned into the masterpiece that I expect it to be.


Also if that means that I'll have the first book of a new project nearly finished by the time that happens then that is also fine, and a bonus!


I'm currently working on the new project still, but book 2 is still in the back of my mind. It's not forgotten, and when it's ready to start working for me again it will. I can't till that day comes as I want everyone to read the next instalment of Roman's journey in the Synod!


- Ben

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