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Writing A Second Book

By Alina Rubin
April 13, 2023

Writing changed my life. Then publishing changed my life in more ways. I’m about to become a two-book Mama, I mean author. I loved watching my characters grow and evolve. The series is not done by a long shot. There’s so much more to tell. I’m excited, I’m nervous, and I want it to be the launch day already! I’ll share what changed and what stayed the same regarding my writing and publishing process.

WHAT’S THE SAME:

Writing process

I still love writing. I write in the mornings before my family gets up. I don’t do writing sprints; I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo; I don’t go to cafes. Writing time is for me and the world of my characters. My muse knows my hours and shows up (usually 30 minutes late). I grab my coffee, and my Kind bar (dark chocolate and sea salt). The muse brings out her lyre. We stretch and get to work.


Research

I’m not a historian. I’m not even sure if I’m qualified to play one on tv. I research what I don’t know. But there’s a plethora of what I don’t know. So how can I write historical fiction? I plot the story first. I don’t have to research just yet if Ella will dance the waltz or the minuet with the handsome officer she meets at a wedding. I jot down that Ella will go to a wedding and dance with the officer. What was his rank, what they wore, what food was served, what music played—those details require research. I refine them in later edits. As I write, I read fiction, non-fiction, and primary sources, but I zero in on what I need to know for my story. This keeps me out of the rabbit hole of reading every historical book out there.   

Self-publishing

I enjoy self-publishing. It’s rewarding in many ways. I wear many hats. While my favorite hat is writing, I enjoy marketing, web design, and posting on social media. I’m learning new skills, such as formatting manuscripts and building Amazon ad campaigns. I don’t query publishers. I don’t search for an agent. I don’t cry over rejection letters. I do all I can to produce the best books possible, the same quality as traditionally published ones. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t. I set my deadlines. I’m the boss. 

WHAT’S DIFFERENT:

Expectations

When I published A Girl with a Knife, I had no audience to satisfy. No one knew me as a writer. Family and friends responded with surprise: “You wrote a book?” With my marketing effort, readers outside my circle discovered my novel. I want to keep them happy and hungry for more. I often ask myself: Will they enjoy book 2 as much as book 1?  Did I meet their expectations? I’m sure they will tell me soon after the launch.

Beta Readers

I had four beta readers for Book 1. Two of them were so detailed in their feedback, they became critique partners. These two ladies were a tremendous help. I wanted them back, but… while I played with fictional plots, they dealt with life problems. They were not available. I found a new group of beta readers. They had different strengths, and they all helped make the book better.

Tribe

When I started, I didn’t know editors, cover designers, or even writers, published or unpublished. I searched for Facebook groups for writers, joined Zoom “pub nights” and conferences. Over time, I found my tribe. Now I have authors I can go to for advice, request an editorial review, collaborate on a promotion. I do the same for them by posting about their books on social media and feature in my newsletter.  I joined Paper Lantern Writers to collaborate on our launches, newsletters, blogs, and more. They are such a supportive group of talented authors! A rising tide lifts all boats.

NO JOB FOR A WOMAN LAUNCHING APRIL 2, 2023. SAIL AWAY WITH ELLA AND THE CREW OF THE H.M.S. NEPTUNE!


To interact with the Paper Lantern Writers and other historical fiction authors and readers, join our Facebook group SHINE.

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Alina Rubin
Written by Alina Rubin

Alina Rubin loves writing historical fiction about heroines with strong voices and able hands. Her debut novel, A Girl with a Knife, won the Illinois Author Project competition. When not working or writing, Alina enjoys yoga, reading and traveling.

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