My book launch at my home church one year ago.

One year ago yesterday my first, full-length novel officially released to the wide world.

Now, one year later, there are two books out there with my name on them not to mention a novella (which is still free if you’ve been meaning to download it!). And a third book in the editing stages which should release next year completing the Appalachian Blessings Series.

So what have I learned in my first 365 days as a published author?

  1. I knew this writing gig wasn’t going to be all that glamorous, but it’s even LESS glamorous than I thought. Sitting behind a table of your books at Barnes & Noble desperately accosting strangers who say things like, “Are you the author?” will take any delusions of grandeur right out of you.
  2. When I went to conferences and experienced writers told me not to get into writing for the money, they meant it. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s amazing that I get paid for writing, but after the IRS is through with me . . . well. Let’s just say we’re not booking that celebratory, month-long tour of Europe any time soon.
  3. On the flip side, tithing my writing income has really been fun. I’ve gotten to send some checks that felt like a big deal to me to some ministries that were kind enough to say it was a big deal to them, too.
  4. I actually do better writing on a deadline. I’ll dither as long as I’m allowed to.
  5. Bad reviews aren’t that bad. Initially, they can be tough to take, but eventually you get used to them 😉
  6. Good reviews and contest wins are nice–like really, really nice. But they don’t necessarily sell books.
  7. You can market your tail off, promote like crazy, do giveaways, guest post all over the Internet, cross your fingers, dab stump water behind your ears, and still have no idea if any of it helped sell even one book. Okay, maybe one because a reader mentioned specifically that she bought a copy after seeing that post about moonshine . . . but certainly not two.
  8. If one more person asks how my sales are less than nine months after a new book releases I’ll probably burst into tears, because I really don’t know and deep down suspect sales are awful and the publisher only sends a report twice a year to keep me from getting TOO discouraged.
  9. Christian authors are the kindest, most supportive, lovingest group of people I’ve ever encountered. Everyone I’ve been blessed to meet or interact with has wanted MY books to do at least as well as his or her own. I know, we all harbor jealousy and a tendency to make comparisons (well, I certainly do), but I’ve NEVER seen that voiced or demonstrated.
  10. And what’s the sum total of my year of lessons? I adore this inspirational fiction gig. And I can’t wait to see what the coming year brings.

Happy Anniversary to me!