Sunday, March 8, 2015

Five Rules for Debut Authors

by Kristi Belcamino

Since my debut mystery hasn't even been out a year, I'm probably not qualified to write this post, but here goes:

1. The day your book comes out is going to be anticlimactic. Guaranteed.

That is not to say it won't be a great day, but besides getting carpal tunnel from refreshing your Amazon page, it's best not to expect too much on that first day.

The best thing to do is have zero expectations and then anything that happens is a bonus. And better yet, plan a small, private celebration for yourself to mark and celebrate this moment.

The highlight of my day was my husband bringing our kids into my bedroom that morning and saying, "Look at your mama, she's a published author."

There were other bright moments, including a bestselling mystery writer calling me on the phone to congratulate me and telling me his sad story about having high expectations on his launch day that didn't come true.

2. Do not compare yourself to other writers.

Don't compare yourself to other debut writers in the field. This is not a competition. There are enough slices of this pie for everyone. Jealousy will only hurt you. Your goal is to concentrate on your writing. Not on what everyone else is doing. There are enough readers in this world for us to support other writers.

3. Don't be broken-hearted if your baby doesn't win any "debut author" awards.

Don't get me wrong, awards are a nice stroke of ego and God knows I'll dance like a banshee if I am ever nominated for one, but the reality is, for me, I'm in this game to build a career. Awards are nice ego strokes, true, but probably don't make a huge difference in the big picture.

4. Prepare for negative reviews. If you can, appoint a "troll buster" to read reviews and pass along ones that might be helpful instead of just hurtful. Follow Don't Read Comments (@AvoidComments) on Twitter for daily reminders to not read the comments!

Be realistic. You can't expect every single person who picks up your book to love it or even like it. have you loved every single book you've ever picked up and read? I didn't think so. If you want a career in this business, now is the time to develop a thick skin.

5. Write that next book without delay and don't look back. Don't rest on your laurels. Successful writers never stop working. Your future depends on you keeping your butt in the chair.

The only real piece of advice that matters in this post is this one: Keep writing.


Scott D. Parker said...

I am prepping the sophomore book for publication later this spring or early summer so I'm definitely doing #5. And I'm writing book To Be Named Later now. It's definitely awesome to have Wading Into War out in the world and I'm looking forward to having The Phantom Automobiles join it.

Al Tucher said...

Kristi, I was touched by your husband's gesture. I can't count the women I know whose husbands just want them to stop their time-wasting foolishness and do something important.

Kristi said...

Yes, Al, he's a keeper. I'm lucky, I know.

Kristi said...

It's been exciting watching your process! You are doing great! Cover looks fantastic in the yellow, too!