Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lessons I've learned as a Debut Author

Since Stupid Cupid has been out for almost 2 months now, I thought I'd do a post about some of the lessons I've learned during my whole debuting process (from acquisition in Feb 2008 to release in Dec 2009). For those of you who are writers or who want to write, here are 10 lessons I learned from the experience:

1. The industry's motto seems to be "hurry up and wait." You wait and wait and wait for stretches at a time, not hearing a word. And then everything comes all at once, like copy edits and this and that, and then you turn them around and waaaaaait some more.

2. Comparisons are evil. Comparisons are natural. You will do it, even if you tell yourself you won't. After all, you may have good friends who are published too. And when you find out what their print run was, or their advance, or how many printings they've had, you're going to compare it to yours. And sometimes, you're going to find yours may not be as "good" as what they had. The big thing I have to tell myself is that this is a long-distance trek, not a short race. I'm in it for the long haul.

3. Your book will probably never be as good as you think it could be. Even after being released, I'm scared to go back and read my story...I just know I'm going to find places I could have written better. So I'm trying to focus my craft on my new stories and just keep working on improving my storytelling.

4. You will get lots of emails. You will have people who want you to give them copies of your books for free, because they can't afford them and they can't get them from the library because they have too many fines (yes, this is true). You will have people who ask you to read their stories. You will get people who want to be on your book cover. You will get people who will request an advanced copy, and a good portion of those will never post a review. You will get interview requests. The emails come with the territory.

5. You will probably be petrified. I spent the whole day before my book launch nervous--OMG, what if I show up and they don't have any of my books there? What if everyone hates it? You will probably drive yourself insane.

6. You will probably be ecstatic. The first time I saw my book on the shelves, I couldn't describe to you how happy I was. Seriously, it's the most humbling, amazing experience ever.

7. Fan mail is the BEST. It awes me that people take time to email or msg me and tell me they loved my book. Seriously, it makes my day!!

8. Life is more than just your book. It's sooooo easy to get wrapped up in the craziness of debuting. But don't let your life fall to the side.

9. People are going to ask you how your book is doing. Odds are, you probably won't know. I just tell them it seems to be doing fine. haha

10. Don't let promotion overwhelm you. It's so easy to get caught up in the urge to pimp, pimp, pimp the crap out of your story. Of course, do get out there and do events, do contests, talk to people--but don't let it make you insane.

I hope this helps! Anyone have any questions for me? I'd be happy to answer them! In the meantime, I'm gearing up to go through these steps again, because Flirting With Disaster comes out on March 9. YAY!

And speaking of, pop by my blog to enter my launch contest HERE! Up for grabs is a $50 bookstore gift certificate, plus a signed copy of Flirting With Disaster. To enter, just gimme your best confession. Hope to see you there!


  1. Did you bother with swag for pimping, Rhonda? It's SO SEDUCTIVE. I met a local author who gave away this HUGE embroidered tote bag with tons of bookmarks and chapstick. It was really nice swag, and I had to buy four books in the series, but...

    I can't do any math that gains her money.

  2. Anonymous11:47 AM


    You always awe me with your positive energy (and so much of it) - This was really great to read. I hope by the time some day I need to know it, I remember ;)

    Good Luck keeping this great ball rolling!

  3. Great post! It's good to know what I'm in for this year. ;)

  4. I've been wondering about SWAG too. I LOVE buttons because people stick them to stuff and then people see your book, and so on...

    I'd love to hear what some of the fave swag from the fictionista girls!

  5. Great, great list. And all of it so true! You rock, chickie.

  6. I didn't do a lot of swag--for my book launch, I had some pens made that had my title and stuff on it. But the most swag I have are bookmarks--they are easy to hand out and very visual. :D

    Thanks, guys!!

  7. Thanks for this! I bookmarked it for that day in the future when I'm getting published :)

  8. I am petrified and excited. Thanks for letting me know I'm normal, lol.

  9. Amanda Brice7:40 PM

    I'll definitely have to come back to this post when I sell!

    And, WTF? Soemone actually emailed you to ask for a free copy because she had too many fines to get it at the library? Seriously?