Friday, September 10, 2010

A year in the life...

Two years ago, I'd hoped to finish a couple of books and start aiming for publication.

One year ago, my first book came out and my third was about two weeks away from being contracted.

This week, book #8 came out - by sheer coincidence, the day before the 1-year anniversary of the release of Between Brothers - and four more are scheduled for the next few months.
Kind of strange to think it's only been a year, and at the same time, surreal to think it's already been a year.

Being a published author has always been my biggest dream, and I still can't quite get my head around it. There are plenty of goals I haven't yet achieved where my writing is concerned, but the whole "getting published" thing happened a lot faster than I expected. And the novelty still hasn't worn off. I still get jittery the night before a book is released. I still "squeeeee!" when I get an e-mail from a reader. I still get excited when a book does well, and bummed out when it doesn't do as well as I'd hoped. I don't foresee any of these things changing any time soon.

I've definitely learned a few things in the last year.
  1. Not everyone will like your work. I learned this the day I received two e-mails on the same day, one criticizing me for the same point about which the other praised me. The opinions are varied, make no mistake. That also has some bearing on why...
  2. ...Googling yourself is a really bad idea. Or, as someone on AbsoluteWrite once said about the subject, "that way lies madness." It's true. So, so true. Why? Because of point #1. There will be reviews, there will be ratings, and some of them will be tepid at best tepid, scathing at worst. This has kept me from Google, but I do confess to obsessively checking bestseller lists on third party sites.
  3. Shit happens, and when it does, it isn't the end of the world. I've had a book pirated a week before it was released. One of the files for another book was corrupted. A book disappeared off Amazon. Another appeared without cover art on another site. Sometimes it's human error, sometimes it's someone's lack of ethics (I'm looking at you, whoever leaked Rules of Engagement), sometimes it's just dumb luck or computer issues. You just roll with it. 'Tis all you can do.
  4. Not every book will be a bestseller.
  5. Some books will be bestsellers.
  6. It's almost impossible to predict #4 and #5.
  7. There is nothing cooler than seeing cover art for the first time...
  8. ...except getting an e-mail from a reader.
  9. I wouldn't trade this job for the world.
So, it's just been kinda fun to reflect on the last year, and I'm really excited to see where the next year takes me.

To my loyal blog minions who have also walked the publication trail, what did you learn in your first year? What do you wish someone had told you before that year?


  1. I wish someone had warned me what a pervert you are.

  2. YES to the entire list.

    I have recently enforced new rules for myself regarding item 2. I don't Google anymore, and I don't look at reviews on GR or Amazon or ARe. It was a tough habit to break, but it has really improved my state of mind. It's so tempting to do, because sometimes you find those great reviews. And then, sometimes you find the not-so-great ones. And even in the good ones, there's always some little tidbit that makes you want to pull your hair out (it's amazing how often reviewers, even "professional" reviewers, get basic facts wrong and you have to wonder if they were even paying attention when they read it). In the end, there's not much to be gained except a whole lot of frustration.

    I also no longer allow myself to look at reviews of other authors' works. I never look at Jessewave anymore. And this has actually helped me more than anything. I can sit here and say that this isn't a competition until I'm blue in the face. But the fact remains, when I see a book that I think is mediocre at best get a five-star review, it makes me question why I'm even trying. So it's really best to NOT LOOK AT ALL. In the end, the only thing you can do is shut down the browser and go back to writing.

    Congrats on your dozen! That's amazing!

  3. I am just in awe of your ability to write and publish so many books so fast. Congratulations, you definitely have found your life's calling!
    I was published in 2007 and haven't managed another book yet...but I'm working hard on it now.