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Debut Life Lessons: Reflections on a Debut Year

Mini Announcement: I am signing books at The Book Cellar on May 27th in Louisville, CO from 10am-1pm. Other authors will be there too if you’re in the area!

*this post was first published on the Soul Mate Author website*


Last week I hit my first grand author milestone (besides, you know, the one about publishing a book.) I officially hit my one-year mark of being a published author! WHEN PLANETS FALL has been on sale for an entire year. I’ve been an author for an entire year. My taxes have been that much more complicated for an entire year!

(Kidding. Sort of.)

I still remember my cheeks smarting from all the photos my husband took, trying to capture my excitement over signing the contract. I still remember the heart-squeeze of the sudden panic when I read the subject line FIRST ROUND OF EDITS. I still remember my eyes watering when I saw the vivid red-black of my cover for the first time.

So, I decided to talk about my DEBUT LIFE LESSONS. What surprised me. What I would’ve changed. All the goodies you want to read in a reflection post. Fifteen minutes into brainstorming, all I had was a blank page.

Took me a cup of tea and four chocolate chip cookies to realize why.

Before publishing, I had read a ton about the debut year, googled the crap out of other debut reflection posts, corned any debut author at events or sat in on their talks. Even jumped at chances to speak with more experienced authors. All this research gave me a pretty accurate idea of what to expect:

  • I knew not every book takes off into the wild blue yonder, so when mine didn’t but performed well enough to make my editor happy—I was thrilled.
  • I kept track of sales so that when a payment mistake happened—I was ready.
  • I knew not to jump at every marketing opportunity, and to be selective in what I did participate in—which prevented burnout.
  • I knew imposter syndrome was a thing, so when the self-doubt came in waves—I ignored it and kept moving.
  • I knew comparisonitis can be brutal, so I took steps to prevent it—and let the envy go when it oozed through the cracks
  • I knew to pad everything with grace—preventing more burnout and lending more satisfaction.
  • I even knew the second book is always harder—and boy has it been.

Is it terrible to say that not much surprised me because of this? Is it terrible to say, I don’t think I would’ve changed anything?

Maybe it’s not terrible at all. Maybe this is a good thing.

By knowing what to expect, I was better able to focus on the positives of my debut year. I celebrated holding my work. I celebrated signing books for readers. I celebrated seeing my first fan art. I celebrated signing the contract for the next two books in the series. I celebrated whenever I made a good choice in balancing this new author-life-thing. I could live in and celebrate each moment.

What a massive gift.

So, no. I don’t have any huge DEBUT LIFE LESSON LEARNED. But I do think my debut year has been pretty awesome anyway 🙂

Has research ever helped you prepare? Or, if you’re published, how was your debut year?



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