After the Second Book: Ten More Things I’ve Learned – A Guest Post by Sue Wallman

launch pic

Last year, Sue joined us on the site to write about 10 things she’d learned since her first book, Lying About Last Summer, was published. Since then, her debut was picked for the Zoella Book Club and her second book See How They Lie is out now too! So, here’s 10 more things that Sue has learned…

  1. Writing doesn’t seem to get any easier for me. The ideas, arranging sentences in the right order, avoiding clichés. Plot. Oh my God the plotagghhh. I trust more that I can get there – but I still have panicky days.
  2. Having said that, I live for the moments when I magically fall into my story. I realise now that it only happens when I totally know my characters.
  3. Over the past year I’ve improved and become more confident about speaking in public. Pre-publication it was one of my biggest fears. I’m still nervous but I’m not terrified. I could judge how far I’ve come by how I felt about making a speech at my first launch, versus the second. And it was from sheer practise because I’d been on panels and done school visits and I’d rehearsed talks and been asked to do a video for the WHSmith blog.
  4. Collaboration is key. Not just collaborating with my editor who, like me, wants my book to be the best it can be, but teaming up with other debut authors (Olivia Levez, Patrice Lawrence, Kathryn Evans and Eugene Lambert) to create a group called Lost and Found. We toured libraries and bookshops together to do events and promote each other. It was an unexpected bonus of my debut year, meeting and feeling supported by these people who’ve become friends.
  5. What I earn from writing isn’t enough to live on (but having a steady part-time job in addition that doesn’t take up too much head space and involves interaction with the age group I’m writing for isn’t such a bad thing).
  6. Paid school visits are not as plentiful as you’re led to believe, and are likely to be even less plentiful with dwindling school budgets.
  7. The thrill of hearing from a reader who likes my books never goes away.
  8. Signing a book requires more concentration than I realised. Spelling a name right for starters. Remembering what I want to say if I’m varying the message. Not pressing down on the pen too hard
  9. With two books published I’m more likely to tell people I’m an author. Sometimes I sense I’m being dismissed because I write for teenagers as opposed to adults. It’s aggravating but this sort of anger fuels my writing.
  10. My rituals are entrenched. For example, it’s almost impossible for me to start writing if I don’t have a cup of coffee by my side.