So a little over a year ago, something very special happened. My novel Hollowstone was released. To say it changed my life forever would be a vast understatement. From traveling across the country to promote the book, to connecting with extraordinary people all over the globe, I’ve had so many wonderful experiences thanks to one little book.
That being said, I’ve learned a lot in the last year. Some has been self discovery, some was advice from experts. And then there was “advice” from “experts.”
Being a published novelist has been a wild ride and at times a very crazy one, as you’ll see from this list. So below are 21 Lessons I’ve learned since publishing my debut novel.
21 Lessons Learned As A Debut Novelist
1) As I was repeatedly told by acquaintances, writing a book and getting published can’t be that hard. After all, if I was able to get published then CLEARLY they easily can.
2)We live in a society of non-readers. It’s pretty depressing when you stop and think about it.
3) Everyone will ask you for your advice on getting published. Few will actually listen.
4) Between interviews, guest posts, blog entries, etc. I probably have done more writing promoting the book than I did actually writing it. Which is kind of cool.
5) You’re not considered a “real writer” until you’ve published a novel. All previous published short stories and non fiction articles don’t count. Even if you were paid handsomely for them.
6) People are shocked to learn that most authors aren’t gazillionaires and most of us have a day job.
7) Opportunities you’ve spent years trying to make will be practically thrown at you after you’ve published a novel. Which is pretty awesome.
8) You’re only as “relevant” as your last book, as I’ve been told. And yes, I’m in overdrive working on my next projects.
9) If you’re a black writer, you’re NOT a real writer. You cheated somehow. Especially if you got traditionally published and white writers couldn’t.
10) Publishers that target black audiences aren’t “legitimate” publishers. They’re just not real. *shakes head*
11) If you’re a black writer who writes black characters, it’s automatically author insert. No matter if you based said black character on three high school friends. Everyone knows that ALL black people are a monolith. Tru fax! Tru fax!!!!!
12) Gay men have no business speaking on their issues or telling their own stories and the only “real” gay men are white gays. In fact, if you’re a POC and/or an LBGTQ author, prepare to be drowned in white woman tears, trolled, harassed, stalked and receive death threats. Primarily from psychotic racist white fangirls. I’m not joking. Though to be fair, they are also good in boosting book sales and helping that royalty check.
13) Strangers will know why they aren’t listed in the acknowledgements and demand an explanation. Kick them.
14) Upon getting published you will quickly learn who you real friends are. Prepare to be resented something fierce.
15) Some internet expert will try to “school” you on the realism of your fantasy story and will try to school you on the dynamics of a region you’ve lived in your entire life. This can often be fun when you pull out endless tons of research, historical data, facts, and shut said experts down, hard.
16) Never for a second take for granted the wonderful authors who offer advice and experience. Treasure them and their support. For that matter never take for granted anyone—friends, family, loved ones, fans, strangers— who buys your book or supports you in any other capacity, because they didn’t have to do so.
17) You constantly feel pressured to step your game up and take your writing and career to the next level. This is a good thing. As I’ve always said, stay hungry, stay humble.
18) People want to know when your next story is going to be released. This is always awesome.
19) Being a panelist at a con feels like being a rock star on tour. It’s pretty awesome!!!!!!!!
20) I’ve joined an elite group who have accomplished something that many talk about doing but few ever do. Oh yes I actually set out and wrote that Great American Novel. I’m doing what I love and for that, what I believe God sent me here to do and for that alone, I’m truly blessed.
21) Every author’s journey to getting published is unique. There is no one set rule, save for one. The ones who make it are the ones who never gave up.