Saturday, September 5, 2009

Maria V. Snyder Guest Post on Avoiding the Sophomore Slump...and a CONTEST!

I’d like to thank Donna and the rest of the First Novels Club for inviting me to be on their blog today! Thanks so much :)

I’m doing a little blog tour for my latest release, SEA GLASS. This is the second book in the Glass series and the story picks up right where STORM GLASS (Glass Book #1) left off. I always wrap up a main plot line in all my books regardless of where they are in the series, but SEA GLASS is closely tied to STORM GLASS and I suggest you read STORM GLASS first.

Having said that, I wanted to talk about the sophomore slump that plagues many novelists. It’s when the second book in a series or trilogy fails to sell as many copies of the first book. There are many reasons for this. First – new books by new authors are like finding treasure – especially when they are good. It’s a discovery and exciting – like first dates. But when the second book comes along, the world and writing style are no longer fresh, the characters are all known and it’s no longer a discovery but more like quiet contentment – a couple settling in, comfortable with each other. With trilogies, usually that second book is all the middle of the story plot – nothing is resolved or solved, it’s a bridge between book 1 and book 3. That’s one of the reasons I call my books a series, because I try hard to make each book its own story.

Publishing also plays a part in the sophomore slump. After hyping the first book and spending marketing dollars for ads and advance reading copies, the second book usually isn’t given the same attention in the press. Also some readers prefer to have all the books in a series before reading them so they will wait until they are all released.

Another reason second books sell less, is sometimes they aren’t as well written as the first. A new author can spend years on her first book, polishing it and refining the story until it’s ready to be read by the publishing industry. Then when the contract comes and the publisher wants a second book, the author now has a deadline and no longer has the luxury of thinking about a story for years.

Of course there is the fact that some readers will take a chance and buy a new author’s book and not care for the story or the writing and will not buy anymore.

And new authors are given some slack by readers :) The story may not be perfectly plotted or have pristine grammar, but it’s her first book – mistakes are expected and swept under the rug. However on book 2, the author is now a pro and those mistakes won’t be forgiven.

Authors can try and beat the sophomore slump, by spending more of their time and money promoting the book, and making sure it’s as well written as the first. But even doing these things, the slump can be inevitable.

When I sold my first book, POISON STUDY, I was happy I had 18 months to write the next book, MAGIC STUDY. There was no pressure, besides the deadline. I figured if POISON STUDY received rave reviews, I would have a hard time writing the next book – not wanting to disappoint my readers. And if POISON STUDY bombed – then my confidence would be shot and I wouldn’t be able to write. As it turned out POISON collected a number of great reviews and awards – so when I started book 3, FIRE STUDY – that’s when I had a hard time.

MAGIC STUDY also did well with the reviews and it actually sold more copies than POISON STUDY – but one of the reasons I avoided the slump, was because my publisher released POISON STUDY as a mass-market paperback a month before MAGIC STUDY came out. It seems all those readers who picked up POISON STUDY at the grocery store just couldn’t wait a year for MAGIC STUDY to be released in paperback. However when all three were re-released by MIRA as trade sized paperback, MAGIC STUDY’s sales numbers have been lower than POISON STUDY’s and FIRE STUDY’s.

So what does this all boil down to? Publishing can be a crazy business and readers can sometimes take a series for granted – like a spouse – thinking the books will always be there for you when you’re ready to read the next one. Except in this economy, that is no longer the case. Publishers will stop printing an author’s books if they don’t sell – even in mid-series.

That’s my take on the sophomore slump. Do you know any other reasons or have any stories about an author’s second book? Please share with us!

About Maria:
New York Times best-selling author, Maria V. Snyder switched careers from meteorologist to novelist when she began writing the award-winning Study Series (Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study) about a young woman forced to become a poison taster. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria dreamed of chasing tornados, but lacked the skills to forecast their location. Writing, however, lets Maria control the weather, which she gleefully does via a powerful Stormdancer in her Glass books.

Her new Glass Series (Storm Glass and Sea Glass) combines two things Maria loves, the weather and glass. The third book of the series, Spy Glass will be released next September, 2010. Readers are always welcome to e-mail Maria at or you can check out her website and writing tips at

About Sea Glass:
Like the colorful pieces of sea glass washed up on shore, Opal has weathered rough waters and twisting currents. But instead of finding a tranquil eddy, Opal is caught in a riptide. Her unique glass messengers which allow instant communication over vast distances have become a vital part of Sitian society. Used solely by the Councilors and Magicians, now other powerful factions are vying for control. Control of the messengers equals control of Sitia. Unfortunately that also means control of Opal.

If that isn’t enough of a problem, Opal’s determination to prove blood magic is still being used is met with strong resistance. The Council doubts her, her mentor doubts her, and even her family is concerned. When her world is turned upside down, she begins to doubt herself. In the end, Opal must decide who to believe, who to trust, and who has control—otherwise she will shatter into a million pieces and lose everything.

Hey, look - it's our FIRST CONTEST!
Maria was gracious enough to offer a signed set of Glass books to one lucky reader. This one's easy - just follow our blog (if you don't already) and comment below by September 19th to give yourself a chance to win these great books! The winner will be announced September 20th.

The Fine Print:
- The winner will be chosen at random, name-from-a-hat style.
- If you don't leave an email address in your comment, it's your responsibility to check back for the winning announcement.
- You have 72 hours to email us [firstnovelsclub (at) gmail (dot) com] to claim your prize, or else we choose a different winner.

Happy Commenting!


  1. I love Maria! Her books are awesome and she herself is just wonderful to chat with.

    I'd love to be entered to win.

  2. Please enter me for Sea Glass, thank you!


  3. I would love to be included.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  4. I'd love to enter!

  5. I love Maria's books! I ordered Sea Glass online and I can't wait for it to get here. I'm also dying to read Spy Glass. Please enter me in this contest!

  6. I have to agree with many of Maria's comments about second books. So often I find they're a hold over between the first and the last book.

    HOWEVER Sea Glass was (in my humble opinion) actually better than Storm Glass, and the ending...without giving anything was perfect. Sept 2010 is sooooo far away.


  7. I loved her first series and would love to read this series. I would love a chance to win these copies, it is always great when authors do this. Please enter me into the contest.


  8. I can't tell anyone how much I love Mrs. Snyder's books. I worked in a book store when Poison Study was released. When you're around something so much, you get tired of it.. And that's what happened with books. I was trying to find something when I saw a pretty red cover with a pretty girl on the cover in the Sci-Fi section, and it caught my eye... And it was Poison Study. I got the book and read in over a course of 3 nights (stopping only to sleep for work in the morning). I was hooked! I had the others in the series ordered as soon as the release date was announced! Not only did this book spark my love for reading again, but also romance, magic, and adventure. I can't say anything bad about it. Since reading them, I lend a friend my Poison Study book, and they feel the same way. They rush out to buy the rest... I guess you can call us a Study Series Group (LOL)!


  9. I had a great response written..then I somehow clicked the back button on the browser. sigh..
    I love the "Study" books, I read the 3 in 3 days, and wish that I could still follow Yelena. I would love to be entered into the drawing, though I may be to impatient to wait for the results..and buy the books sooner.


  10. This is my first time hearing of this author, but she does seem amazing. The cover for Sea Glass is beautiful! Thanks for this contest.

  11. *spazzes*

    I LOVE the Study Series and the Glass Series! I just discovered the books this year, and devoured all the Series books in a month, and (literally) finished STORM GLASS yesterday. BUT--as my husband has twisted my arm into promising not to buy more books until after Christmas--there's no way I can get SEA GLASS before December unless I win it! AHHH! Hope I win!!!

    bethrevis @

  12. Cool! I've been wanting to read Sea Glass! Storm Glass was amazing:) I haven't read the Study Series yet but, I'm going to too.

  13. Hmm, 2nd book. Maybe sales are lower because it is slightly easier to find them at your local library. More librarians are likely to put the book on their list when the first book has done well. At least I always seem to find the 2nd book and not the others at mine.

    kimnrob7 at

  14. Oh wow this is a great contest. I loved the Study series and I really want to read the Glass books. I am a follower. =]

  15. I've been wanting to read the both the Study and Glass series very much so I hope I get to win:)
    I'm a follower!! Thanks:)

  16. I would LOVE to win this set! Everyone keeps talking about how wicked Maria Snyder's books are and since I can't afford books right now and my local library doesn't get new books for at least a year, I am going to have to try to win them here!!

    *crosses fingers and toes*

    PS. Frankie, thanks for checkin out the location thingy for me :)


  17. I agree with Kim about it being easier to find the second book in a series at the library although that may be because everyone starts with the first but doesn't necessarily continue to the second.
    I have to admit I read Poison Study probably around when it first came out but didn't quite realize that it was part of a trilogy so by the time I realized there were sequels the third was out and I was able to read them one after the other. I also loved Storm Glass and I'm sure I'll love Sea Glass!


  18. I loved the study Series
    I loved that I was able to see charachters from the sydu seroes in storm Glass and meet new one as well Plaese enter me !!!
    congrates on it being your first contest !!!!


  19. Maria is a wonderful author! I bought her first series twice one in regular format and one on e-book, I have also read sea glass which is amazing! I have read some series where the second book was not exactly what I was looking for, but other series keeps my attention and I can't wait to read the next. For example the study series had no down time for me, neither did The Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter. The Pellinor Series by Allison Croggon and the Inkheart Series by Funk, left me feeling a little cheated by the end of the book. I always want the end to tie up nice and neat. Don't get me wrong I love both of these series and have read them many times, but I enjoy the first books in the series better.

    I also believe the second books in series do not do as well as the first because the second in a series is competing with the first of a series in another book.

    Please enter me into the drawing, Thank you

  20. OMG Everyone's been talking about fantastic her books are. And being me, I haven't tried it! I own POISON STUDY but that's it. Would love to enter :D


  21. I'd love to be entered in this contest!
    I have been dying to read those books!

  22. I recently read Poison Study (I got it out of my un-local library)and loved it. Please enter me for the contest, but beware- I live in England. If this means I can't enter, then apologies for wasting your time. Thanks!
    You can contact me at my blog;, or email me directly at

  23. Please please enter me!!

    infinitemusic19 at gmail dot com

  24. I absolutely love Maria's books!

    Please enter me in the contest!

  25. Oh I would love to own these books!!! Please enter me into the contest, I'm now following!

  26. I'm a follower! Count me in please
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  27. Awesome contest, thanks! I'm a follower.

  28. I'd love to play please!

    I'm now following your blog.


  29. Loved your blog and your books even more. Just finished storm glass five minutes ago and I'm cracking the spine on sea glass. I so adored the Study series. I though that I have the freshmans stall for writing. Any advise on how much of a story to develope in your mind before you start writing? Looking forward to chatting with you tomorrow night w/KatieB.
    Laurie (TimeStandStill) msnksu90(at)cox(dot)net.

  30. I love all of Maria's books! I read Sea Glass as soon as it came out. It was AMAZING! I also enjoyed this blog and am now a follower. I'd love to be entered in the contest.

  31. This is an awesome blog! I'll definitely be a follower. I'm a huge fan of Maria's and would love to be entered in the contest.

  32. I have loved both series.

  33. I've heard so much about her and her books. These sound great and I'd be thrilled to win them!

    ~Briana :D

  34. I am hooked on Maria's books. I've gotten several others from work hooked and my best friend (who's several states away). If anyone likes audible books all of Maria's are have wonderful narrators that really bring the stories to another level. I love to read along to them... please enter me, I would love to win this contest.

  35. I love love love these books! Have plowed through the first two Study books and am now waiting impatiently for the bookstore to call and let me know that Fire Study has finally arrived for me :)

    I would love to win the set of books! I'm going to take a chance and not leave my email address b/c of possible spambots and trolls.

  36. I would so love to win these books. They sound great plus the contest ends on my birthday!


  37. Honestly, I haven't read any of Maria's books but I've heard very good things about them so I definitely have to check them out!

  38. I've heard nothing but great things about these books and have wanted to read them forever. My library doesn't have them so it would be so GREAT to win! Thanks for the opportunity.


  39. I would love to win these books. Great contest!

  40. Please count me in =)
    I already have Storm Glass, but I still need Sea Glass.
    Nice giveaway =)

  41. I love the covers of the book they look so nice.
    I follow your blog.

  42. I would love to win these books. I read and enjoyed Poison Study and I'm excited to try more of Maria's books.

    I'm a new follower


  43. Maria is one of my favorite authors and I've read all of her books and they are FANTASTIC!

    I would love a signed set!


  44. That was a fascinating take on the sophomore slump. Thank you for the wonderful interview and please enter me in the contest! I'm a follower.

    angiegirl (at) gmail (dot) com

  45. Great interview! These books sound fabulous and the covers are incredible!

    melacan at hotmial dot com

  46. omg i abs loved the interview!!! i would love to enter to win! became a follower

    leslie-lv at hotmail dot com

  47. I have been dying to read these books. Great giveaway!


  48. Oh, I'd love to be randomly chosen!

  49. Oh, forgot email! eliza.lefebvre[at]gmail[dot]com

  50. I follow. I am also adding your contest to my contest page on my blog. :)


  51. Hi Maria~
    enjoyed ur guest blog!
    I never knew that 2nd books had such a tough row to plow; they seem to be the quintessential middle child,lol! I for one like full sets, so enter me please :)

  52. Please include me in your giveaway. I am a follower.

  53. I am a follower and would love to win.


  54. Well, I'm now a follower! I love Snyder's first series, and I couldn't set it down. I've heard that this series ties in, and I'd definitely like to be entered


  55. What a great post! I like the insight about why second novels don't sell as well... and I like the way Maria calls her books part of a series ..

    Would love to be entered in the giveaway!
    I am a new follower!!

    Thanks so much for hosting!
    quzy (at) mac (dot) com

  56. Ooh, I would love to be entered for this. I have been dying to read her series. They look fabulous. Oh.. and congrats on your first contest!

  57. I am a follower and would like to enter.

    kirar59 at yahoo dot ca

  58. These sound like great books! Thanks for the wonderful interview & giveaway.
    I'm a follower, please accept my entry. Thanks!


  59. Great giveaway, have been dying to read these books. I would love to win this, now a follower, and here is me email: rrivera39 at

  60. I would be thrilled to win these books. I think my daughter will like to read these, too. I am a follower.

    booklogged AT gmail DOT com

  61. Oh, I'm dying to read this series! I have been on hold forever! Maybe now I won't have to wait so long.

    I'm a new follower.


  62. This sounds like an awesome series! Please enter me.

    I became a follower on blogger.


  63. Awesome contest, please enter me!
    I just became a follower.

  64. please enter me, i'd love to win this series!
    juiceb0xx at hotmail dot com

  65. MARIA! *waves* I love your books! So happy to have Yelena and Valek come up in this series as well, they're too cute :)

    I'm a follower.
    barbrafl737 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  66. I would love to enter and I already follow! :)

  67. The Glass books sound incredible, as well as the Study books! I haven't read any of them yet, but I want to read them! I'm a follower.

    paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

  68. So sorry. It wasn't showing me as following before but I fixed it. I'm following now. :D



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