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Life As A Newly Published Novelist, by Jenn J McLeod

The moment is here. The dream is now a reality. Your book is out there – loved by a publisher, edited, printed, distributed, displayed, launched, promoted. Now what? Time to kick back, relax and let all you’ve dreamed just happen. This is, after all, what the other side of the publishing fence is all about, isn’t it? Life is but a dream as you row, row, row your boat merrily down the book sales stream.

You’ve got to be kidding! Who has the time to row a boat?

If I’m not writing book three, I’m editing book two.

When I should be writing, I’m Facebooking.

When I’m Facebooking I think I’m promoting. (I am, aren’t I?)

Oh, and then there’s the blogging…

I’m blogging right now to bring you up to date with life as a newly published author now that House for all Seasons has been in bookstores since March 1.

In my January post I compared that desperate state of an aspiring author to a cork bobbing on an ocean; a sea of arm-waving wanna-be writers all crying out, “Pick me! Pick me!” while treading water, waiting for HMAS Publisher to rescue them, welcome them with steaming hot chocolate, and wrap them in a warm, comforting blanket.

The reality of being a first-time published author is not all warm blankies, book signings and Sunday brunches. (Sad but true!) So what’s really changed for me since March 1? I’m still hunched over a keyboard in a kind of self-imposed solitary confinement and developing addictions to coffee and chocolate, only now I’ve developed new addictions to Amazon rankings, Goodreads star ratings and sales figures. Oh, and then there’s the necessary Facebook status update along the lines of: “Look at me. I’m great. Buy my book.”

You probably think that having the ultimate affirmation – a published novel – would make a writer feel six feet tall and want to brag. No! I actually am six-feet tall and the thought of spruiking myself and my work is more likely to have me shrinking into the closest corner because, as I’ve discovered, it’s when that groundswell starts to form as your book hits the shelves and reviews start coming in that a writer can feel the most vulnerable. One minute you’re swept up in a tsunami of promotion: guest blogs, bookshop signings and Twitter storms (I wish!). Life is but a dream and you’re riding so high until… until that wave of expectations – reader, publisher, family, friends… your own – flips your stomach inside out; the kind of dumping wave that turns you in every direction and leaves you gasping for breath.

That’s where I am right now, trying to breathe, desperate to know if I’m meeting everyone’s expectations. Yes, reviews by book bloggers and readers are coming in and they are GREAT! But are they as great as Author B’s or Author C’s reviews? Why did that newspaper not review MY book? Are my sales good enough? Have they justified the promotional spend? Will all this affect book two? Will there be a book three?

Breathe, Jenn.

Maybe I need to “suck it up, princess” (as my friends like to tell me when I get like this). Am I the only author who stresses out about all this stuff? Do I sound all whiney? Should I not just go with the flow? Am I being too honest right now? Am I asking too many questions? Oh dear, I think I’m about to hyperventilate. Some one, please pass me a paper bag.

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Jenn J McLeod’s author website: www.jennjmcleod.com

Jenn J McLeod’s bio page

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House for all Seasons by Jenn J McLeod     Shattered SkyRotten GodsStillwater CreekThe Fortunes of Ruby WhiteA Changing Land

Writing Novels in Australia
www.writingnovelsinaustralia.com

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20 Comments Post a comment
  1. Well said, Jenn: a whole new set of pressures. But even so, I bet you’re still pinching yourself. I know I am.

    April 14, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country... #

      It’s pretty awesome, isn’t it Greg? Yes I still pinch myself. Every time I walk by my local bookshop 🙂

      April 14, 2013
  2. OMG … are you me! Otherwise how could you know all that? How could you know all my insecurities? Um … what’s wrong with us? x

    April 14, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country... #

      LOL, Jen, we are human. I know I’m not alone. I had to write this post because no one ever tells you this stuff when you are dreaming about what it will be like.

      April 14, 2013
  3. Great post Jenn. Yes – get that paper bag and then hyperventilate like crazy. I think you should relax. I think so many good reviews MUST convince you (you crazy author woman you) that you’ve done a great job. Any I’d say take anything positive out of any review you like and channel it to making book 2 even more brillianter… 🙂
    (Yes, it’s my comment. I can say brillianter if I want to).

    Lily M
    xx

    April 14, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country... #

      I may just use brillianter in a book somewhere, Lily!

      April 14, 2013
  4. *Passes the paper bag* Just breathe, Jenn, you’re doing great! 😀

    April 14, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country... #

      🙂 Thank you, Lilliana. I am now hitting a new phase. The ‘OMG, it’s all over now. Time to get back to the books and be normal Jenn again.)

      April 14, 2013
  5. Thanks for sharing and letting us know what may be in store — one day! Keep this post, Jenn, and compare it to the same time for the next book. It will be interesting to see if it’s all still the same, and what has changed for you. Hope the stress levels go down, that’s for sure!

    April 15, 2013
  6. Great post, Jenn. I know exactly how you feel. I think it’s just that we need to get used to this next phase – the roller coaster of being published. If you’re anything like me, you’ll never really get over that whole “am I good enough/is the book good enough” anxiety. Thanks for sharing and for being so honest.

    April 15, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country... #

      Thx Pamela. I wanted to do an honest piece.

      April 15, 2013
  7. I hear you Jenn, there’s always pressure, it just changes shape. When my first book came out I was a mess, too strung out from writing the second one and finding my feet in the promotional stuff to really take much notice of anything much. I remember a friend saying to me that he couldn’t wait to see his book displayed wall to wall in a bookshop, what a great feeling it’s going to be! I didn’t say anything but my thoughts, when seeing my book wall to wall for the first time, ran along the lines of why are there so many copies? Is no-one buying them? Do I have to sign them all? What if no-one buys them? What if everyone hates it? On and on in a fury of anxiety … it’s no picnic, but the company along the way is one of the best spin-offs of the whole writiing career, so you have our support and know you are not alone!

    April 16, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country... #

      Oh Phillipa, you make me laugh with that. *snap* on the ‘not wanting to say anything’ to a friend and the thoughts that followed. Thank you.

      April 17, 2013
  8. You are so not alone. My book came out a month before yours and I felt like you did. And blogged about it too. And like you I am six feet tall. But inside I am a little girl with her hand up saying – When I grow up I want to be an author.

    April 17, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country... #

      Tall girls rule! Thx Susanna. I am yet to read Losing February, but I’m seeing some great reviews so you must be an author! 😉

      May 6, 2013
  9. Well said, Jenn! And you’re definitely not alone! x

    April 17, 2013
    • Jenn J McLeod | Come home to the country... #

      I know, Dawn. Nice to be on this journey with you.

      May 6, 2013

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