Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Second Book Blues

Oops, the wind caught the door. Give me a minute to get it completely closed this time. That blast of frigid air will cool the coffee in less than ten seconds!

Congratulations to Wendy Love. She won the (unannounced) prize for being the first member of our community to register with WestBow Press. I've never tried to ship a King Cake to Canada, but if I can do it, she will get one soon.

Marsha Moore joins us again, today. Her second book, 24 Hours Paris will debut in May. I asked her to tell us about her process for writing it. Thanks for stopping by, Marsha…

"Once all the excitement of having your first book published is out of the way and even the thrill of seeing your book in bookshops has faded slightly, it's time to sit back down at the desk and focus on your second challenge: Book Number Two.

 You'd think it would be easy. After all, you've already got something out there in the market. You've done it once, now you just need to do it again. That's the challenge – now you have a benchmark to live up to, something to match expectations, if not exceed. If you've been lucky enough to have had your first book well received, then the task becomes even more daunting.

Those thoughts flashed through my mind when I sat down to start writing 24 Hours Paris. Due to be published in May 2010 with distribution in the UK, Europe and Australia (and through Amazon in Canada and the US), the book follows much the same format as 24 Hours London: breaking down the day hour by hour and providing the best of what's on offer at any given time.  

Before I sat down to write, I thought through the following:

 What did I do well in writing my last book (i.e., what research techniques were useful; what would I use again)?

When you start researching a city as big as London or Paris, it's often difficult to stay on top of all your research. Using an Excel spreadsheet and labeling each column with specific times and activities enabled me to sort the information according to my requirements.

What could be improved (i.e., number of words written each day; fact checking; chapter structures)?

With listings like opening hours, telephone numbers and post codes, fact-checking can become a nightmare. Focusing on one item at a time  (for example, checking only post codes) allowed me to ensure the information provided was accurate.

What feedback had I received (i.e., what did people like, and what didn't they)?

Many people commented they liked the information boxes we'd scattered throughout the chapters, so with 24 Hours Paris we made sure to include those again.

What created the best environment in which to write (i.e., timelines, work structure)?

To work efficiently and to meet the deadline, I set myself a target number of listings each day. If I exceeded the listings on a particular day, then I knew I could 'take it easy' the next day. In this way, I was in control of my workflow and I knew exactly how much more I needed to do at any given time.

 Once I'd made a note of all of those factors and set up my writing schedule accordingly, I was ready to write the best book I could – and to have fun doing it. All I needed to do was stay focused on the task and not let those annoying subconscious voices question if I (or the book) was good enough.

 Second book blues? No way!"


Alexis Grant said...

Thanks for leaving this link on my blog... I like what you've got going here! I'm going to poke around...

Lynnda - Passionate for the Glory of God said...

You're welcome. Drop by anytime, Alexis.