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The Sequel: Lessons to Apply to Your Second Book

December 02, 2021 (Last Updated December 22, 2021)

Marcy G.

Self-publishing is nothing shy of an invigorating (yet challenging) experience to embark on. From the moment you first start brainstorming your ideas as an indie author to translating that onto paper, it can easily send you down unforeseen paths that might make it enticing to quit before you finish. In fact, 97% of people who start their first book unfortunately never finish because of these very reasons.


But if you are part of that determined 3%, then you know all too well the joy you feel when you finally have your first published book in hand – so much that you may already be itching to write another one. And the best part about the second self-publishing round is that you now have a whole set of valuable lessons that you can apply to your extended journey - ones that can help ensure that your book sequel will be nothing but successful.


Analyzing Reader Feedback and Critical Feedback

The cool thing about writing your first book is that you only have to do it once. After that, you can start gaining some wonderful insights from your readers and leverage that to structure your next one to be even better. In short, your first book is like a testing ground to see where you stand as an indie author and how you can improve. So, during this self-review process, read through both positive and critical feedback, as this can significantly help you realign, readjust, and roadmap more soundly towards meeting those expectations for your next book project.


Analyzing Sales from Previous Books

In conjunction with scanning through reader feedback, be sure to take some time to deep dive into the sales portion as well. Here, you can see in raw numbers how your book did on the market, what audiences gravitated towards it, and how many copies you sold within a given duration. Not only will analyzing sales help you pinpoint your success range, but it can also support you on nailing down the perfect book printing number to have in your inventory so you can seamlessly meet the new round of predicted demand.


Adjusting Budget According to Sales

Self-publishing your first book comes with a whole slew of trial and error, and that most definitely entails budgeting. Tying into the points above, be sure to take a comprehensive look at your sales and reader feedback to solidify your budget even more accurately this time. For example, if your sales showed a 15% higher rate than you initially predicted, a higher budget will likely be in order. In addition, if your reader feedback shows a trend of people saying they are eager to see the sequel, that is also a prime indicator that your budget should increase to prepare for returning readers along with new ones.


Remember, a higher budget means paying more upfront, but if the sales are promising, your ROI (Return on Investment) will be more than worth that initial investment.


Adjusting Marketing Strategy

Last but not least, your marketing strategy. This particular factor in self-publishing is the grounds of which can make or break your success as an indie author. Because the reality is that you can write the best book within your genre, but not many people are going to know it exists if you don’t market it properly. Using your marketing strategy from the first publication, use this as a lesson on what works, what doesn’t, and where you can improve based on impressions and conversions. Coupling this with budgeting, you can expect your marketing budget to go a lot farther with your sequel by integrating mindful strategy tweaks – making it the ultimate win-win scenario.


Summary – Lessons Learned, Advantages Gained

In summary, writing a second book is still going to be hard in its own light, but you can have the peace of mind that you are well equipped to optimally handle it from cover to cover. All of the blood, sweat, and tears that you experienced the first time around are now deeply ingrained into your muscle memory as an indie author. This means you’ll notice certain things that were not so apparent before, have a better foundation to create storytelling scenes, and have a much better grasp on what your core audience is/will be to market properly.


If you are part of the 3% of self-publishing authors who finish their first book, then you are certainly in a wonderful position to be in to excel the next round. With that being said, take what you’ve learned, apply it to your sequel, and stay open to taking in more lessons as you go. The more you grow and deliver quality work, the better your chances will be at reaching your readership goals as a well-established, respected indie author.


Whether you are on your first book, second, or even third, don’t hesitate to contact 48 Hour Books today. As a renowned printing and design servicer with two US locations, you can have the confidence that our dynamic team can help you every step of the way towards spearheading your self-publishing goals.


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