Second book syndrome

Pushing through with the writing and publication of a second book can be fraught. How can you navigate some of the inherent concerns about the process?

It’s a well-known phenomenon: the anxious, agonising self-torture writers put themselves through when releasing their second book. (Musicians suffer from a similar malady: the difficult second album.)

There are usually all sorts of worries that afflict writers upon contemplating their sophomore creation. Is it too similar to the first book? Or maybe too dissimilar? Was the debut effort a total fluke, leading to a debilitating case of imposter syndrome when trying to replicate it? What if, after momentarily basking in the publicity sun that the first one enjoyed, this second one is just ignored because you are no longer the bright new thing?

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina