I recently got laid off from an IT job I’d held for 35 years (I really did stay at an insurance company that long) and became a debut author. This has been, without a doubt, an exciting time. But new beginnings, even ones you desperately want, can take some getting used to. There have been moments when I wanted to rush back into the comfort of my cozy Kafkaesque cubical.
A lot of what I’ve had to do as a debut author is way outside my comfort zone. I’ve had to cold call or email total strangers, and get up and talk about my book in front of total strangers and friends who in the anxious blur start to look like strangers. I gave my first class ever (about true crime), was on blog talk radio, and participated on a panel on a real stage in a real theater for the first time. There have been moments at 3AM when I wake in terror thinking, what’s next? This kind of stuff makes me want to scramble for Xanax, but it has also taught me that doing something new is almost never as hard as you think it will be. And with each new thing your comfort zone gets a little wider.
So in honor of ch-ch-changes and new beginnings, here are some thoughts about being a debut author in the YA world and beyond.
- Some refreshing, if painful, straight-talk about Why Being A Debut Author Isn’t Exactly A Dream Come True including, “there is a comedown period for the debut author, but then there is a plateau, followed by a reunion with your formerly sane self.”
- I had high hopes that 10 Things I’ve Learned About Being A Debut Author would have a few sparkles and unicorns, but no.
- According to 10 YA Authors on Not Being a Debut Anymore “the funny thing about being a debut author is that you don’t quite understand what being a debut author means until years later.” Good to know.
- One of the biggest mysteries for debut authors is how to sell books. Not sure this analysis of the data from YA sales in 2015 solves that mystery, but it definitely contains some clues.
- Finding the right beginning for a new novel can be even more stressful than starting a new career. Check out these Ten Great Openings to Recent YA and MG Literature.