Blog Tour: If Ever I Fall | S.D. RobertsonToday folks I am super excited to be kicking off the official blog tour for 'if ever I fall' by S.D. Robertson with a special guest post from the man himself all about how to deal with second book syndrome. Wise advice for all of us who are aspiring authors. As I always say, make a brew, grab a seat and I hope you enjoy.
Dealing with second-book syndrome
by S.D. Robertson
Ever heard of second-book syndrome? It’s just like second-album syndrome, but for authors rather than musicians.
It’s something fiction writers face after their first novel has been well received and, consequently, there is pressure on them to deliver the same again.
The biggest issue is usually the pressure they put upon themselves, as authors tend to be fairly introspective sorts, who over-think things. I know I am. And yes, I know all about second-book syndrome. So how have I dealt with it?
Looking back, it was something I first felt after signing my publishing deal with Avon HarperCollins, based on them loving my debut novel, Time to Say Goodbye. The initial deal was for two books and suddenly it was time to come up with the second one.
I knew I needed to write something that would appeal to similar readers, without being a rehash of the same idea. I toyed with a few different concepts for a while; my agent, Pat Lomax, was great at helping me to choose which to go for. And so If Ever I Fall was born, although at that time it had the working title On a Clifftop.
I had my doubts and fears. I was definitely worried about second-book syndrome. It often amounts to writer’s block, based on a self-imposed ‘rabbit in the headlights’ effect caused by weight of expectation.
Personally, the way I dealt with that was to just get on with it. I wrote every day, even when I didn’t feel like it; even when I didn’t like what I was putting down on the page at a particular moment.
Essentially, I silenced my inner critic and trusted my instincts as an author to get me through. Not that it worked every day. I definitely lost the faith a few times along the way, but the good days easily outnumbered the bad.
Writing is the key. You have to do it regularly, come what may. Otherwise that second book will never materialise. And if you end up throwing away a whole chunk of work during the editing process, that doesn’t matter. Every time that you sit down and write, you’re honing your craft. You’re making yourself a better writer.
Stressing out over what might or might not be, on the other hand, teaches you nothing.
I fear my words here make it sound easy, which it isn’t. Simple is a better term.
And so I’ll sum up my advice to anyone in this situation. If you’ve been lucky enough to publish a first book, you’ve already realised your dream. Don’t blow it now by letting doubts creep in. Forget the weight of expectation and harness the drive that got you through that debut novel, despite not knowing if it would ever be released. You’re a professional writer now, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. So stop beating yourself up and get writing. You’ll soon find your way.
About the book:
Is holding on harder than letting go?
Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. All he’s ever wanted is to keep his family together, but everything seems beyond repair and, try as he might, he can’t turn back time.
Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered, unable to connect with the real world.
In the face of real tragedy, can this couple find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through?
About the author:
*Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his job as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming an author and to spend more time with his wife and daughter. If Ever I Fall (Avon HarperCollins, £7.99) is his second novel. A heart-rending story of family tragedy, it is published on 9 February 2017.
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