Monday, October 8, 2012

Five MORE Things I've Learned Since Becoming Published

I've already shared six unexpected things connected to what it's really like to be published. Today I'd like to share five more, but instead of being unexpected, these five things are things I've learned during my debut year--which is winding down to a close. Which is crazy.

As I anticipate the release of my next novel, EMPTY, which comes out in a mere 84 days *gulp* I find myself doing a lot of reflecting. I've paid close attention to what was worth my time and what wasn't. Here goes.

5. This little bit of awesome just occurred to me, as in, like two weeks ago. When your first book sells, a lot of people and organizations want and need information on you and your book (author photo, cover image, brief bio, long bio, flap copy, blurbs, reviews). For a tremendously, and embarrassingly, long time, my way of gathering all of this information involved me going through my emails, personal folders, and online sites, for each request. For each event.

Then I had this lightning bolt idea. My eyebrows sizzled and smoked. It was that good.

Uh, Kate, why don't you create a PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS folder, and put the items people repeatedly ask for, all in one place, you silly, silly woman?

So I did. And it is simply wonderful. If you've already debuted or will in the future - give it a go. It makes your life much easier.

I learned this: my eyebrows grew back, and I had a PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS folder. Win.

4. Being a relentlessly driven person, I booked myself a gazillion book signings and events after CRACKED debuted. I think I reached out to every single bookstore within an hours drive (indie and B & N) and got myself booked for a signing. Just me. Which leads me to this sobering conclusion: book signings by yourself suck with the absolute suckage of suck.

I am a cuticle picker, which, if you follow this blog, you've seen photos of my band-aid covered fingers or read about me picking and then getting mad at myself. So let me say this, book signings by myself led to bloody fingers. I ripped the ever-loving-shit out of my cuticles just sitting there, looking uncomfortable, saying hello to people who didn't really want to say hello to me--the unknown author sitting by herself with a pile of books. Oh, even typing it out makes me wince.

I learned this: Until you have a following of readers (which may happen quickly for you), only do multi-author book signings. It takes the uncomfortableness out of it, AND you have fellow writers to sit and talk with.

3. Volunteering as an author, booking yourself for events where you will get the glorious opportunity to work with actual living, breathing teens, but you won't make a red cent, is worth every single minute of your time spent.

My sister works at the youth detention center for the county in which we live. The center is filled, at any given time, with juvenile criminals. Life's neglected population. Being the living angel who she is, my sister is always thinking of ways to inspire and reach the kids she interacts with. So far she has booked me there three times, and each time I walk out to my car overwhelmed. I'm always blown away by how initially closed off the kids are with me (crossed arms, dropped eyes), and how wide open they are when I leave (raising hands, filling their journal pages, looking me in the eye...smiling). They're truly just kids. And like all kids (like all human beings) they want to be loved and respected and believed in. Not much to ask for truly. But the majority of them are on their own.

I learned this: Volunteering makes everything else feel worth it.

2. Seeing my book out in the word will never get old. It is a thrill that produces this little squeal thing that I do, which no doubt annoys anyone who is with me. It annoys me. But I can't help it. It's just so, um, how do I say this? It's just so un-effing-believable to see copies of my book on display, or on a shelf, in a bookstore where I have no personal connection.

Like here. This unexpected display blew my mind at the Doylestown Bookshop (see #1 for the exciting reason I was actually in this great indie).



I learned this: Books are sexy.

1. My bookish social life has gone through the roof. I had no idea how many incredible events I would attend or how many incredible people I would meet - many have become friends.

For instance, Tiffany Schmidt - a fellow Apocalypsie debut author, who successfully launched SEND ME A SIGN at the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, PA, this past Friday night.There were lots and lots of people, custom made fortune cookies, friends, and two huge cakes.

Here is a photo tour for your viewing pleasure.

  
Even the sidewalk was festive.

The festive and yummy treats.

Some of the swag.

Tiffany's signing table : ) 
Tiffany reading excerpts from her book. People in the crowd would call out a number and then she would read an excerpt from that page. 
The crowd!
That's E. C. Myers and his lovely wife getting their book signed.
I learned this: Being published has deepened my friend base and bolstered my social life. Two super awesome side-effects for which I am thankful.