Uncategorized · writing

A Case of the Sequel Blues

Hello, hello! I’m typing this with sticky BBQ sauced fingers which means only one thing…

I’m back in Washington, at Third Place Commons, working on my writing, and eating Burney Brother’s pulled pork, as I have for some eight years now.

I’m going to be in Washington for a while. Among other things, summer break is starting which means Zaq and I are both heading back home with our respective families for a few weeks. I left early, because I was going crazy in California. It feels good to be back to my favorite independent bookstores, waterfront parks, and cloudy grey skies.

I’m in kind of a strange lull, halfway done with a million things, and in-between another million. I’ve been working a lot on The Neverland Wars sequel…which has been slipping through titles faster than a fish through buttered hands. I’m hitting a strange point of “oh my god this is actually happening” and I feel as though I have just looked down on a tightrope I was, until now, very confident on.

My publisher deals with a lot of series and have ushered me along with the sequel very naturally…so much so, that it hasn’t been until this week that I’ve realized how terrifying it is to put out a second book.

Despite all the market research suggesting otherwise, I have become somehow convinced that the second book won’t sell nearly as well (after all, nobody will read it who hasn’t read and liked The Neverland Wars, and people are going to stop reading that because it won’t be new and exciting anymore, right? Options: Panic.)

A lot of people who were super excited about The Neverland Wars, immediately bought it, and left it stunning reviews…and now I think we’re starting to see reviews from less excited people who didn’t like it as much, but who believed the stunning reviews. I’ve been doing pretty well at not letting the bad reviews get me down, but as I prepare to release yet another book into this world, I feel like my nerves are just looking for excuses to worry.

I bet some people only ever blog about all the great stuff that’s happening to them and always look like super successful people. I’m not sure—I never read those blogs.

I don’t know whether it’s luck or a curse that I learned blogging from Amanda Palmer, the queen of soul-crushing honesty and despair as candid as her delight.

I’m very happy to be in Washington right now, and surrounded by people who are so supportive and encouraging of my art. I should probably just print out all the nicest reviews I’ve gotten and put them up somewhere for constant reference. Now that would be a motivational poster. Forget the shallow platitudes, I think everyone should print out the nicest things anyone has ever said about them and keep those up on the wall.

But it’s hard to remember the compliments, isn’t it? Even the unique ones, the ones that filled you up with the best feelings, seem to pale in contrast to the tiniest criticisms. As Chuck Palahunik points out, “It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.

This week I’m trying to learn a little from peace and remember the sweetness. I think it’ll work out for me, like everything else in life, if I just make the effort.

Take care, keeping reading, and expect big news in the next two weeks~

2 thoughts on “A Case of the Sequel Blues

  1. Hi Audrey! Those nerves your feeling are completely understandable, but I think you have nothing to worry about! The Neverland Wars was BEYOND amazing and I’m sure the second one is going to be even better! When it comes to poor reviews my suggestion is just to block out the haters and focus on the lovers (which includes myself and many, many others). Your writing is fantastic and your ability to create characters that readers can connect to is uncanny. I hope you know how excited a good number of us are! Good luck with everything!

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Holly! It is so neat to be publishing and sharing the stories I love with other people…especially folks like you who seem to love them every bit as much as I do! I’m still growing as a writer (and hopefully always will be!) and I am so grateful for the readers who are already here and helping me stay focused on end goal…giving people great stories! I hope you’re having a great summer 🙂

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