Thanks for joining us today! Author Crystal Parney shares her experiences and tips regarding writing a sequel. Here’s what she has to say about…
Diving into Writing a Sequel and How Not to Drown While Doing it
Have you decided to write a sequel? Are you writing one now? Deciding to write a follow-up novel isn’t always easy. There are things you must ask yourself:
1. How good was my first novel?
2. What is the purpose of the second novel?
3. How well did my first novel sell? (This applies to Indie authors as well as those published traditionally).
4. Is there a market for my second novel?
5. Do my readers want more?
6. Does my publisher want more?
7. Do I have a burning need to write a sequel?
8. Is it worth the risk? (Writing a novel can be risky for many writers, but we do it besides the risk. We do it because we are creatively driven, mad, passionate, and maybe we do it for the risk).
9. How long has it been since the first book was published?
10. Do you have an author platform, and what shape is it in?
I asked myself these questions before I decided to write a sequel. When I wrote my first book, Beyond Gavia, I left the end cracked open for a second book. Writing a sequel is trendy in today’s fiction, but that’s not necessarily why I wanted to write another book. I wanted the story of Courtney and Antioch to continue. I wanted to dive deeper into the possibilities. I knew their story wasn’t over with the first book. And Courtney still had so much to learn, to conquer.
It was a scary decision. What if my book didn’t do well? What if readers didn’t like it? What if the sequel falls flat? What if it sounds forced? These are some of the pitfalls of writing a sequel. It takes a big bundle of energy and time to write a book. Negative questions and concerns can rise up, stifling the creative process. In my case, I pushed them away and focused on the positive.
After the book was published I had readers anxious for another. I’d talked about writing a follow-up while marketing Beyond Gavia, so the word was out there. My publisher encouraged me to write a sequel. Though the early sales of Gavia showed promise, I wasn’t guaranteed a contract for a second. I couldn’t respond to all the questions above, not with secure answers. It would be impossible. I decided to take the risk, with a burning need fueling me.
Some Guidance and Tips
* Writing a sequel works much like when you wrote your first book. If you are an outliner, outline. If you like to plunge right in, plunge. If you do a little bit of both, do it. Even with all the questions you must ask yourself, just keep at it. Get it down, get it out, and make sure it flows well from the first book.
*Make sure your characters have the same voice, the same quirks and behaviors, yet at the same time show how they have changed and grown from the first novel. It’s a bit of a balancing act, if you ask me, but an interesting one.
* Make sure your second novel can stand alone. This is good for marketability purposes. A reader should be able to pick up your second book, read it, and follow it without reading the first. You should add enough information from your first novel so the reader can do this, but not bog them down with it. A reader should also know they are reading a second book. Most novels say this on the front, such as Book Two.
*If you get stuck, do some research on your genre, character behavior, or things that pertain to your story. Doing research always helps me out. Beyond Gavia is science fiction. When I need inspiration I watch History Channel programs about aliens, or I do online research. The aliens in my book are human-like beings and I want readers to believe what I write. Creativity does have its boundaries, and it comes with believability. You can write the most outlandish story, but it has to be believable.
* The last thing I’d like to talk about is the author platform. I titled this post diving in and how not to drown. One of your biggest lifelines is going to be your platform. A platform can be built through online social networking, having a website, a blog, discussing writing with other writer’s within both online and physical writing communities. It’s what you stand on to sell your book, your ideas. It isn’t the easiest thing to build. I’ve been at for a while now and I’m still climbing that ladder. You will need a platform to sell not only your first book, but your second as well. In today’s cyber world it is a must. Here is something that happened to me:
When Beyond Gavia was published my book sales started out good. I received an email from my publisher congratulating me. As time went they gradually declined. You start out with a bang because of the marketing you have done. I took almost a full year off from building and maintaining my platform to write for a friend. I learned much from the project, but it was a killer to my platform. Don’t do what I did. No matter what you are working on, the sequel to a first book, or another novel, never stop building your platform.
And last, don’t let yourself sink, even if you must tread through rough waves. There’s so much that goes into writing a book, and it’s hard work. For me, writing a sequel has been difficult and at times I felt like I was sinking beneath it all. The things I wrote above has helped keep me afloat. They might also help you.
Crystal Parney is the author of Beyond Gavia, a science fiction novel with unraveling secrets and the thrilling unfold of love and alien attraction. Her inspiration for the book came with a mix of hope and sadness, as her aunt was diagnosed with cancer for the third time. She is currently working on its sequel. Beyond Gavia is published through Whiskey Creek Press who gave a first time author a chance. She has several other stories in the works, stories that vary from fantasy, historical fiction, and young adult. She’s been creating stories since a child and looks forward to the continuation of them throughout her writing career.
Contact her at: http://www.crystalwriterparney.com