Tuesday, August 17, 2010
6 THINGS I LEARNED DURING MY FIRST YEAR AS A PUBLISHED AUTHOR
4. YOU HAVE NEW AND EXCITING WAYS TO PROCRASTINATE
To some extent, this blog is one of those, but there are many more. Yes, the social networks that many of us, both published and to-be published, frequent are still there, but now you can go ahead and add all forms of self-promotion. There are appearances to be planned, blogs to visit, and many more emails to answer than ever before. And then there are your Amazon numbers, which can be irresistible, and yes, most authors I know can’t resist checking them at least once a day.
If this sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not. Far from it. If, however, a writer has not already established a routine, they had better do so in a hurry once their first book gets published. For me, the one thing that offset all these new and fun opportunities to not write was the knowledge that my next book would be published. Knowing that it’s not a hope or a dream but a reality is a terrific motivator.
5. ASPIRING AUTHORS WILL APPROACH YOU FOR ADVICE
For me this began even before Killing Red appeared on store shelves, and I was caught a little off guard. After all, I was only one or two steps beyond where I’d been a little more than year earlier.
During the years I’d spent around mystery authors I had seen how generous they were to new and unpublished writers. So that’s the message here, be generous. The questions and concerns of new writers will be familiar to you. They will be many of the same ones you were asking just a few months ago.
6. YOU’LL NEVER HAVE A FIRST BOOK AGAIN, ENJOY THE RIDE
It seemed to take forever for Killing Red to finally come out. When the pub date (June 2, 2009) was announced several months in advance, it seemed a lifetime away. And that’s how it felt…at first. Weeks and months dragged by, but as April turned to May I suddenly realized that I still had a lot of things to do to prepare for the pub date. Then the time began to zip by and weeks felt like days, days like hours. I was trying to schedule signings and interviews, and all forms of promotion, and all of a sudden the pub date began to feel like a deadline.
That’s when I pushed the STOP button. I began making plans for how I would spend my pub date and the rest of the week celebrating with family and friends. It was the smartest thing I did during those hectic weeks.
Every book that a writer finishes and each one that gets published merits a celebration. Savor the moment, you’ve earned that. Your first book contract, and well as each one thereafter, may be your last. I’m not trying to be pessimistic here, pessimism is not in my nature, but that’s just the reality of the deeply troubled publishing industry. Enjoy what you have accomplished.
I assumed back then that the rush I felt when copies of Killing Red arrived at my house, and when I saw it on store shelves was due to it being my first book. Now that Mourn the Living is in bookstores, I realize I was wrong. And I don’t believe that feeling will fade from book to book.