Monday, 9 December 2013

GUEST BLOG: The Worries of an Author ... - Steve McHugh

There’s an idea that it’s the second book which is the most difficult. Much like the difficult second album, the second book is meant to be the one that solidifies you as someone to watch. Someone who is going to grow and get better throughout their career. You’re meant to be nervous about its publication.

I wasn’t nervous, or concerned or anything other than wanting to get the book out. You see I self-published Crimes Against Magic back in April 2012 and it did okay. It didn’t set the world alight, but then I never assumed it would. As a first time, self-pubbed author, I was unknown and unproven and thus incredibly happy with the results.

Book 2, Born of Hatred, came out in Dec 2012. Once again I wasn’t really nervous or concerned that it wouldn’t be liked, I wrote the story I wanted to tell and people would like it or they wouldn’t. Then something weird happened. It did really, really well. So well, in fact, that I got an offer for a 3 book deal from 47North in Feb 2013.

47North re-launched books 1 and 2 in September and they both did very well once again. I hit the number 1 spot in 4 genres in several countries and managed to get in the top 100 best selling books in Canada and USA. I was, and still am, a happy man.
By the time the books had been re-released I’d finished book 3 and was quite content with it. But as the launch date of next Feb edges ever closer something dawned on me: what if people don’t like it?

It was a feeling I had when publishing both books 1 and 2, but for book 1 there were no expectations and book 2 was written so quickly after book 1 that there wasn’t time to really consider the idea that people might be waiting for it with their own expectations. Now I’ve had time to think about it, time to stew the idea that people have gained a measure of enjoyment from the previous books and expect the same, if not more, from book 3. People have told me that they’re looking forward to reading it, that they are, in some cases, exceptionally excited about the possibility of reading the insane ramblings in my head.

This was all new territory for me. People have e-mailed me in the past and said they liked my work, but the books were already out by then and book 3’s launch felt such a long way off. Now it doesn’t. Now it’s looming.

Fortunately, after talking to a few writer friends of mine, I came to the conclusion that all you can do is write what makes you happy. If you’re happy with the book, the chances are others will be too.

I’m still nervous about book 3. For one thing it’s the first book where I have a publisher to impress, as well as readers. But instead of worrying about how it will be received, I’ve decided to get on with book 4. Because if there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to keep you busy, it’s writing another book. That way when book 3 finally arrives, I have a whole new story to worry myself about.

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