When I left in-house book publishing, my trail-blazing friend, Kimberly Ann Johnson, hired me to help her create a book proposal.

That proposal eventually became her first book, The Fourth Trimester. (Listen to us talk about that process in her enlightening podcast episode, EP24, on how to write your book.) Call of the Wild - book

Three years later, she published her second book, Call of the Wild.

I asked Kimberly how different it was to write and launch a second book than a first one.

Knowing infinitely more about what it’s like to create and produce a book, was everything just EASIER?

Her answer was surprising. It was layered.

In short, her second book was a different animal.

An excerpt from our recent conversation is below. Or, watch our entire discussion here.

Kimberly Ann Johnson talks to Brooklyn Book Doctor
Watch our full conversation on YouTube

Kimberly Ann Johnson: On writing a second book vs. writing a first book.

“My first book was a bit of a Gong Show.

For one, I was filled with with self doubt. I was on the edge all the time, thinking, “I’m not good enough.” Even after I got the book deal, I still thought this.

Then, I thought my publisher was gonna fire me. They rejected the first draft of my manuscript!

I had to locate an outside editor I could work with—since you [Joelle] were already busy with another project by then.

For the second book, the writing process was a lot easier, at the beginning at least. I was clear about what I was doing.

I was also clear that I didn’t want to do it by myself. I needed someone to mirror me, as a human being, and as a thinker. I needed to be in dialogue, to have that back and forth.

So, I hired a writer and I made sure that I had the support structures in place that I needed.

People think, “you already have the course, so you already have the book structure.” But that’s not enough. Books are their own thing.

Then, of course there were other twists and turns in the writing and editing process, not least of which was a global pandemic.

It hit between when I submitted my first draft and when I got edits back from my publisher.

And then, all of a sudden, we had a new common language about race.

So, there were suddenly two whole other layers that I wanted to add to the book.

These ideas needed time to marinate. Yet, we had a deadline.

I’ve had a lot less self-doubt with my second book than with the first one. I’ve had more confidence that my publishers made a really good investment.

That they were lucky to have me, not just that I’m lucky to have them.

I knew they were getting someone who knew what they were doing, who knew how to market, and who liked doing it (because, for me, sales & marketing is just teaching. And I love teaching.).

But pushing this book to the finish line was actually a lot harder than it was for my first book. ​The world is very different now—my world, and the needs of the moment.”

Listen to our entire conversation to learn:

  • why you’d want to hire a writer when you’re already a decent writer yourself
  • on how doubt can manifest during the book writing process
  • and more about getting a six-figure book deal—then engineering a book launch for it.