Thursday, June 14, 2012

What to Expect your 1st Year as a Published Author


This month marks my first full year as a published author. My debut novel A GOOD EXCUSE TO BE BAD released this time last year, the sequel SOMEONE BAD and SOMETHING BLUE releases in two weeks, and book three sits on my editor’s desk being edited as I write this post to you. In honor of my small anniversary I wanted to share some helpful truths about this first year to you.
  1. Know when to pick your battles with your editorial team
    • Have a flexible and jolly attitude about your story.  After you turn in your finished manuscript your editor will come back to you with a list of edits they would like for you to do, in order to make a better book. Be cool about it and make the changes.  The quicker the better.
    • But don’t be afraid to defend certain important things. For instance in my state we called the middle part of Georgia “Middle Georgia.” However, I had a copyeditor who kept wanting to change Middle Georgia to “the middle of Georgia.” I had to express in a respectful and firm way that that phrasing must stand. So know when to pick your battles.
  2. Read through that final proof with a fine tooth comb.
    • sbsb7A lot of hands and eyes will be in your book. Yet, some mistakes still don’t caught. So you have to drop what you’re doing and comb through the pages. Usually you get a few weeks or less to read through that. Don’t take it lightly.
  3. Don’t be afraid to talk to your editor, but don’t stalk them either.
    • One of my biggest mistakes this year was not communicating with my editor at the right time or at all. My mom had become sick and I foolishly thought I could care for her, my family, my business, and write a thriller. Really?! What I should have done was contact her the moment after my mom was diagnosed and talked to her about what was going on. Instead my health suffered and my story. I know I could have written a better story if I weren’t stressed with that looming deadline on my head. She gave me the extension and helped me to write a better cleaner novel. So Don’t make my mistake. Keep your editor in your loop. Be realistic about what you can do.
  4. Get to your publicity team at least nine months before your book releases.
    • You need to know if you have one or not, so that you can identify any shortfalls you will have to catch in your own marketing campaign
    • You also want to work with them on your campaign. They are pros at this and can shed a new light on how your book is perceived to your reader.
    • If your PH doesn’t have a publicity department, then build a relationship with sales and marketing. They will use the same marcomm (marketing communications) to sell your books to distributers.
  5. You will have to do some direct selling whether you want to or not.
    • Public library systems are on a strict budget. They are going to acquire books they believe their patrons will read. If you want to get into your local library, you will need to connect with the collections department manager and the branch manager. And be prepared it is going to take a while.
  6. Author Appearances at Bookstores
    • Promote that event a month before it happens. Folks won’t know you’re there unless you blow the trumpet early.
  7. Yes, you will have to write book two, while promoting book one, and pitching book three, so figure out a way to focus, write and deliver.
  8. Do not use an independent editor at this stage, because you do not have time to write copy then send it to an outside editor for clean up. It’s best your editor feels confident in your writing. You don’t want then questioning whether they should have acquired your editor instead of you.
  9. Do not use Facebook Fan Page as your website.
  10. If your publisher creates audiobooks of your novel, listen to it. It will help you read your story aloud to readers at public events.
miranda8I have plenty more truths, but I will end at that. Enjoy your first year, Debuts!
MIRANDA PARKER is the Kensington Books author of the Angel Crawford Series: A GOOD EXCUSE TO BE BAD (July 2011) and SOMEONE BAD and SOMETHING BLUE (July 2012).  She has appeared at the 2011 National Book Club Convention, the 2011 Decatur Book Festival, the 2012 SC Book Festival and has been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, RT Book Reviews and Publishers Weekly. She also contributes to THE BIG THRILL and is the Social Media Person for ITW’s Debut Author Program.  Visit her at
If you would like to join the International Thriller Writer’s Debut Author Program please click this link.
If you would like to contribute to THE THRILL BEGINS contact Miranda at mparkerbooks at gmail dot com or Twitter @itwdebutauthors


jenny milchman said...

I want to read the 'more' truths you have--these are great! Thank you so much for sharing, and I hope you can write book four with much greater ease of mind.

LaShaunda said...

Excellent advice Miranda.

Most new writers wait until the book releases to start promoting. You can’t wait until the last minute to promote your book. Having your own web page or blog is very important for readers to find you and for the media to be able to contact you. Include a contact email. You don’t know how many people miss out on promotional opportunities because there is no way to contact them.

Terry said...

Thank you for sharing this column with all of us. I am also celebrating my first anniversary as an author who self-publishes my work. A year ago this week I released Teaching: Education and Academics at the Turn of the Century, and to promote it I'm using my blog to provide chapter summaries and public reviews posted at amazon. I would love to have you come and read some of my blog, and let me know what you think of this week's posts. They are very different from those that review others' books.

Terry said...

wooops ... forgot to give you my blog address: http://terrysthoughtsandthreads.blogspot.comnpepre 198

Miranda Parker said...

thank you all for your comments.

Thanks, Jenny. I hope it's easier, too.

LaShaunda, amen. Time slips away so fast. I'm still trying to catch up to my marketing calendar before my book launches.

Terry, thanks for sharing. I will check out your link.

PatriciaW said...

Congrats on moving from debut to seasoned author, Miranda! You know #8 made me chuckle. That would suggest only market for freelance editors is with unpublished authors. But makes sense.

Great tips. Can't wait to hear the rest.

Ricky Bush said...

My debut novel, River Bottom Blues, has been out since the end of January 2012 and I can relate to much of what you've mentioned. The first go 'round is eye opening.

Jodie Renner Editing said...

Great list of helpful truths and don'ts, Miranda! I'll be sending some of my clients here to read this!