There was an article floating around Facebook the other day by an author named Merritt Tierce. The article’s title is, “I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim- and Then I Promptly Went Broke” which is pretty self-explanatory. But I have thoughts on this.
The author in question never wrote a second book, instead she spiralled into a circle of guilt and paralyses that lead only to a day job which took all her energy. A few people on Facebook embraced this article as an example of the reality of publishing. But I saw it more as an artist who stabbed themselves in the foot. They COULD have written another novel. They could have gotten a contract for a second novel. They could have done a thousand things differently and made it to full-time author. But they chose, and if you read the article, they did indeed choose, many thoughts and actions that lead to them never writing another a book. There is no way to succeed in publishing without writing another book.
Which brings me to a blog post from Chuck Wendig, which I feel is a sort of counter argument to Merritt Tierce’s article. His article is titled “HERE’S HOW TO FINISH THAT FUCKING BOOK, YOU MONSTER“. It’s the usual amusing and swear filled, yet full of good advice, post that we have come to expect from Chuck Wendig.
In so many ways the two articles compliment each other. One stands as an example of how to fail. One tells us how to fix it. One is the perfectly demonstrates what authors call ‘the sophomore novel blues’, an often crippling doubt that another novel can ever follow the first. The second, again, offer advice on letting go of both the fear of failure and the fear of success.
The choice as always, lies within us. Do you crack under the pressure and never start (or finish) that second novel? Or do you do you damn well write another book, even if it doesn’t live up to the first?
As Merritt Tierce so astutely points out in her article- people don’t pay you to write. They pay for what you’ve already written.