Here’s the final piece of the What I Learned posts from the Fearless Fifteeners. Happy New Year!
Ronni Arno Blaisdell, author of RUBY REINVENTED:
“First of all, congratulations! You’re going to have a book published! And now, stop whatever it is you’re doing. Take a deep breath. Go to a bookstore and stare at your book. Enjoy this moment. You will never be a debut author again. I know you’re probably worrying about sales and your next book deal and finding time to write, but put that off for a minute. There will be plenty of time to worry about those things (and you will!), but now is not that time. Right now, focus on the things that you can do to help your debut. Rock your launch party. Book school visits. Introduce yourself to local bookstores. And smile. You’re a published author! “
Meredith Moore, author of I AM HER REVENGE:
“I always knew publishing my first book—sending it out into the world after years of careful writing and revising and stress and worry—would be a strange mixture of thrilling and terrifying. Okay, mostly terrifying. What I didn’t know was how wonderful it would be to not have to do it alone. The YA writing community, especially groups like this one, have made my debut year so much less frightening. Finding writer friends to chat with, celebrate with, and freak out with has made all the difference, and I will never stop being grateful for that.”
Lance Rubin, author of DENTON’S LITTLE DEATHDATE:
“2015 has been so exciting and fulfilling and magical, but it’s also had its fair share of anxiety and humbling moments. In October, six months after my book came out, I wrote about what I learned, which ultimately came down to this: “Block out the noise and make the thing.” To go hand in hand with that, an author I recently met said, “Writing is a career, not an event.” Wise words. One of the pitfalls of putting weight on this idea of “the debut year” is it narrows your focus, so you almost feel like, by the end of the year, your status as a writer will be decided: you’re either a successful writer, or you’re an unsuccessful writer. Well, let me tell you, friends: the debut year ain’t no sorting hat. It’s just the beginning of a new chapter of your creative journey. So my advice would be to savor and enjoy all of the debut year’s trappings—panels, events, new friends, signings, reviews, tweets/blog-entries/shouts about your book-baby, and, of course, celebrating each of your debut peers’ books as they release week by week—but save most of your focus for the thing that got you there in the first place: the process of writing. The painful, uncomfortable, exhilarating, revelatory, highly rewarding process of creating something from nothing. Because, inevitably, 2015’s highs and lows will fade, and when they do, your old friend The Blank Page will be there for you, ready to bring you along on the next phase of your journey. “
Ann Jacobus, author of ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT
Some things I learned in 2015:
-Not having a multi book deal can give you more time to write your second novel which you will then squander.
-Let it go. Promote it, but let it go. I think all the debut authors agree that measuring and comparing and searching for feedback is a sure path to obsession and grief. Okay, there might be the occasional awesome surprise, but let someone else bring those to your attention.
-You may command a little more respect but you’re still one of hundreds of thousands of published authors.
-If your book comes out later in the calendar year, you may find yourself supporting the first half of the year release authors, only to have most of them get very busy and disappear when your book comes out. But you will get busy, too. C’est la vie. We formed a Fall-Fifteener group (thanks, Sarah Schmitt) and that was really helpful. Dividing the year into two parts is worth considering.
-Writers are awesome.
-Librarians are awesome.
-Life goes on.
Susan Adrian, author of TUNNEL VISION:
Ah, I learned so many things. The most important, and lasting, is that your release year will NOT be what you expect…but that’s totally okay. I had all sorts of ideas in my head about what release day would be like, what events would be like, how sales would go…and not one was exactly how I pictured. However, once I learned to go with the flow and enjoy all the moments I could, I had a fantastic year. I discovered that I loved doing events, and connecting with other authors and readers. There is nothing like the rush of seeing your book in a library or a bookstore! Or even more, watching your own kid read and enjoy your book. I discovered that I had so much support from my family, my real-life friends, and my fellow authors. Thank you to all the Fearless Fifteeners for launching on this ride with me!