Writing the second book is one of the best things any author can do. It may not be an easy thing to do, and it may not always seem worthwhile at first, but numerous reasons exist for why writing a second book is one of the best ways to reap the greatest benefits from your role as author.
Whether you are traditionally published or self-published, once your first book is out in public, you as the author have to commit a great deal of time to marketing it. This commitment can be exciting and exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting and time-consuming.
You may find yourself putting so much time and energy into promoting your first book that you don’t have time left over for the second book. Perhaps you even wrote the first book, not because you like to write, but to boost your public speaking career or to look like an expert in your field to increase your business; you may feel your first book accomplished that goal, so you don’t need a second book. Whatever the case, good reasons exist for why writing the second book should be an integral part of your business plan.
“Why? My first book isn’t even selling,” you might say. Maybe not, but a second book will help make that first one sell. Here are some primary reasons why:
- Increased Expert Recognition. The first book has made some people perceive you as an expert on your book’s topic. While many people will be impressed by you and think you are a celebrity just because you wrote a book, you won’t impress everyone. Let’s face it-especially if you’re a self-published author, some people will view you as an amateur. Writing that second book shows that you are committed to being an author, that you are professional, that writing, or at least the topic you write about, is your primary career focus. A second book is a great addition to your credentials.
- People like Variety. People might have noticed but not been sold on buying your first book. But when the second book comes out, it gives them a push to buy. They now have an option between books-they now have a choice, and people like choices. People will now notice both books and rather than ask themselves, “Should I buy this book?” the question will become, “Which book should I buy?” Many people will decide to buy both to avoid having to make the decision.
- People Don’t Want to Be Left Behind. When a second book comes out, it makes people who haven’t read the first book feel like they are behind the times and better hurry to catch up. The second book’s publication will then encourage them to buy and read the first book. I know many authors who have reported that their first book continually outsells subsequent books because people want to start with the first one, and each time a new book comes out, the first book’s sales go up. People who buy the first book may never get around to reading the second or third book, but at least you got them to buy the first one.
- People Like to Get a Deal. People always like a bargain. Even if it’s just saving a dollar or two, if they think they are getting a deal, they are more likely to buy. If you have two books, you can sell them together and let customers know they will save 10 percent, or whatever amount you decide on, if they buy the books together.
- You Already Have an Audience-So Sell to It. If people already bought your first book, a good percentage of them are likely to buy the second. Why do you think movie studios make sequels to films? Because a fair percentage, probably 50 percent or more, of those people who saw the first movie will come back to see the second. If people like your first book, they’re more likely to read your second book, and they’ll choose it over another book by an author they don’t know because it’s more of a sure thing.
Writing that second book can only increase your sales and strengthen your position as an author. And once the second book takes off, the more you write, the more people will be curious about you and want to read more. Agatha Christie hasn’t sold 2 billion copies, half of them thirty-five years after her death, by writing just one book. She wrote eighty-and only the Bible has outsold her. Would Harry Potterhave been so successful if J.K. Rowling only wrote one book? You know the answer. Get that second book on paper or your laptop as quickly as possible.
Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.