Have you ever noticed that amazing first books are often followed up by mediocre second books? I mean, not always, but often enough to be worth noting. For example, I consider Fool Moon, the second book in the Dresden Files, to be the low point of the series. In that particular case, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. The book was still better than half the crap I’ve read, but still, of the sixteen or so books in the series, number two is the one I am least enthralled by.
Patrick Rothfuss’s debut, The Name of the Wind, got widespread praise, and rightfully so. His second book, however, was generally considered to be a bit of a letdown.
I think I’ve sorted out why.
My first book, Awfully Appetizing, is the work of years. Not to say that I spent every waking hour working on it. Not even close, sometimes I went weeks without touching it. But the thing is, I never had to work on it, so if I wasn’t feeling inspired, if I hadn’t sorted out whatever problem had made me stop working on it before, I simply left it alone, letting everything percolate in my head for a bit longer.
But my second book is supposed to be sent in by September. There’s a time limit on it. I’m on the clock. If I don’t feel like working on it today? Tough luck. The work needs to be done.
Now, fortunately for me, I have a publisher who has indicated that she is open to pushing back my due dates a bit. Fingers crossed that’ll hold true, but however understanding she is, I don’t think she wants to push release days back years, so the shift is still there. I spent years working on book one, polishing it, sanding the rough edges, looking at it in different lights… compared to that, book two is going to be a rush job.