Allison here: I’m thrilled to have romantic thriller author Elizabeth Heiter here at Murder She Writes! She has her second book coming out later this month. I love the way her publisher has branded her series. I loved the first book HUNTED and am so excited about the upcoming VANISHED. Liz is giving away a copy of HUNTED to one lucky commenter … so please tell her hello!
“Second Book Syndrome”
By Elizabeth Heiter
Last year, my debut novel HUNTED released on New Year’s Eve (a fun night for a first book release, because you’re already celebrating!). You spend months – maybe even years – working on that first book (that sells) and then it finally happens! After that sale, you spend another year(ish) working with your editor to make the book even better, and then it hits the shelves. There’s a certain splash to being a debut – a new author gets some attention simply for being new. Then comes book two.
I’ve heard “Second Book Syndrome” described in two different ways: First, that an author puts years and years and all their best tricks in that first book and has nothing left for the next one, which often has to be written on a much faster timeline. Second, that the “novelty” of being a new author is gone, and the attention just isn’t there, regardless of how the book turns out. “Second Book Syndrome” is a dirty set of words in the writing and publishing world, and no one wants to catch this syndrome!
For me, like a lot of writers, my second book wasn’t really my second book – and that’s true in several ways. It took me many years (and many finished and unfinished manuscripts) before I sold. So, my second book was probably about the seventh full manuscript I wrote. Also, I sold five books off the bat and only HUNTED was complete. So the second book releasing is actually the third of those contracted books that I wrote – but it will be the second one to hit shelves, since my separate romantic suspense series books are coming out back-to-back-to-back. Instead of feeling as though I was lost with the time constraints of being on contract or that I was struggling to find new material, I actually feel like my second book is stronger. I’m really excited for the release!
But I am seeing the other side of the syndrome: the novelty of being a brand new author isn’t there anymore, and so in some ways, the marketing work gets heavier. As a writer, I feel out of my depth in the marketing world – I’m an English Literature major and in a perfect world, I’d just write the books. So, I’m learning to get more creative – and more involved – in the marketing side for this book. I’m definitely out of my comfort zone, but I strongly feel that I should be pushing myself when I write every new book, so why not this, too?
VANISHED, the second book in my Profiler series, releases December 30th. In it, my FBI profiler finally gets the chance to answer the question she’s been searching for since she was twelve years old: what happened to her best friend, who was abducted by the Nursery Rhyme Killer and never seen again? One of the best things about writing this “second” book was returning to the world I’d created in HUNTED – and hopefully readers will love coming back to it, too! I’d like to call that a different kind of “Second Book Syndrome” – one I’m guilty of with authors I love to read: the idea that you’re desperate to return to a series after you read the first novel!
Now, that’s a “Syndrome” I’d be just fine with catching!
Although you don’t need to read HUNTED to enjoy VANISHED, I’m giving away one signed copy of my debut novel (US/CA only) to one commenter!