Third Book vs First: What Changes, What Stays the Same

I am so excited to have J. Elizabeth Hill write the first guest post ever on Kayla Dawn Writes!  She is releasing her new book, The Nine, TODAY!!!  This title is her third indie-published novel, and since I’m on the cusp of release my first, I thought it would be fun to have a veteran talk about how the process feels once that pesky first is out of the way.  Thanks, for stopping by, Liz!

Hi, my name’s J Elizabeth Hill. Most people call me Liz. I’m the author of the Fantasy trilogy The Mirrors of Bershan. Kayla has been kind enough to let me celebrate the release of my third book, The Nine on her blog with a guest post. Thank you Kayla!

It’s been an interesting journey, publishing a complete trilogy, one that has come with a lot of lessons. When Kayla invited me to talk about how releasing the first book and the third differed, I realized how much I’ve learned in the process, but also how some things haven’t changed at all.

Releasing a book is a wonderful, fun, nerve-wracking experience. Enthusiasm is a big part of the event and the way others share theirs for my book is always a kick. Putting this book out there I’ve worked on for a while is both a high and frightening. On the one hand, I want others to read the story and love it the way you do. On the other, this little voice in the back of my head always whispers, “What if they don’t?” It doesn’t seem to matter how hard I worked on the story, because I know no story is great to absolutely everyone.

With my first novel, Bound, there were other things involved in the release, other feelings. One of them was hoping that I’d set the stage for the trilogy well enough. I’d already written the first drafts of the other two books by the time Bound was ready for publication, and I knew it was a good story as a whole. But I was also aware that the first book had to draw people in enough to want to read all three. More than that, I wanted to give the readers a sense of who these people were before the story started, because characters are transformed by the journey they take. This, of course, had to be balanced against the need to keep the pacing up, to not info dump. No one likes an info dump, after all.

This time, I’m saying goodbye. Mostly to the characters, as I plan to write a prequel to the trilogy, but it’s still a parting. I’m a little sad about it, as I’ll miss these characters. They’ve all been fun to write, and I love who they’ve all developed into. I hope people like the place where I leave the characters at the end of the book, especially after everything I’ve put them through. I wanted it to be a fitting close to the trilogy, just as I wanted to set the stage properly with the first book. The characters have been through so much. They deserve an ending that fulfills the promise of everything that led up to it. So do my readers. And this is the BIG ending, the end of the whole trilogy. So no pressure, right?

Each book is unique in some ways, and the release is different for each one. But it’s always fun, and there’s always hope that people will love what you’ve done. There’s a lot of work involved in releasing a new book, every time. It doesn’t seem to get any easier either, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m getting to do the thing I love the most: tell stories and share them with others.

About J. Elizabeth Hill:

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Julie Elizabeth Hill exported herself to Vancouver, British Columbia after many years of staring longingly at the map following every snowfall. For as long as she can remember, she’s been making up stories, but it wasn’t until high school that someone suggested writing them down. Since then, she’s been hopelessly in love with story crafting, often forgetting about everything else in the process. She is the author of The Mirrors of Bershan trilogy (Bound, Possession and The Nine).

Twitter: @jlizhill



Amazon Author Page:


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