Thursday, January 24, 2013

Advice From a Debut With Multiple Books

By Adrienne Giordano

Like most authors in their sophomore year, I can honestly say my debut year taught me more than I can possibly put to paper. A few of those things surprised me. The first being that I was shocked at how much I didn’t know.

And I’m not just talking about editing lessons. Nope. I’m talking about non-craft related things that ever so slowly caught up to me and clubbed me. What are some of those things? Here are my top three:

1.     Time is Sometimes the Enemy
During my debut year, time was my enemy. I was lucky enough to be a debut author who had five releases in thirteen months. My first book launched in July of 2011 and by August of 2012, my fifth book had been released. Of course, I didn’t have to write five books in a year. When I sold the first one, I had two others written and had an idea for a fourth. In between, I was asked by my publisher to write a novella for an anthology.

I remember one month where I was in three different rounds of edits on three different books while writing a fourth.  I literally carved my day into time chunks. I worked on one book for a set period of time, then the next, then the next. And I was brutal about my start and stop times. If I said I’d work on Man Law for two hours and two hours came, I stopped and moved on to A Just Deception. It was hard, and I didn’t like having a hard stop, but it was the only way to get all the edits done on time.

Let me just mention that in between all of this, I had to get my website revamped, get my Twitter and Facebook pages up and running, create author accounts on all the various social networking sites and create a newsletter. Prior to signing my first contract, it never occurred to me that the marketing end of being published is a full-time job.

When I added the time I spent on marketing to my writing related tasks, I realized I needed to clone myself. With cloning out of the question, I forced myself to decide how much writing time I was willing to sacrifice to complete my non-writing related tasks. My initial thought was that I would never be done with marketing. Ever. Based on my limited experience, it seemed there would always be something marketing related to do. Once I gave in to that idea, I was able to allocate a timeframe that would protect my writing time.

After all, the best marketing will only go so far when there’s not a next book to sell.

2.     Stop and Smell the Roses
With all the insanity leading up to my first release, I realized I’d forgotten to take a moment each day to absorb the fact that I was about to become a published author. I was so busy getting my work done, I hadn’t slowed down enough to take it all in. Sure, I’d have more releases, but there would only be one debut.  I’d waited years to be a debut author and I was letting it slide by in a blur.

From that day forward I took time every day, even if it was only a minute or two, to close my eyes and savor what I’d accomplished.

Which leads me to the third and what I think just might be the most important lesson I learned during my debut year.

3.     Recharge
After my hectic year, I plowed right into two new single titles. I kept telling myself I could pound out another two books while doing the marketing for my latest release. No problem. If I survived the previous thirteen months, I could do anything. Right?


I wouldn’t necessarily call what happened to me writer’s block. I’d categorize it more as self-doubt. In short, I became convinced every word I put on the page was utter crap. My critique partners all assured me the work was good, but that self-doubt, it’s a nasty sucker. It kept whispering in my ear and tearing me down.

Finally, while on the phone with my agent one day, I told her what I was feeling.  She spent the next hour convincing me to take some time off. To put the manuscripts aside and let myself rest. She told me to go to a movie or do something that relaxes me.

I may have been skeptical, but I was also desperate to enjoy writing again, so I did what she advised. I read a few books, went to the gym, met friends for lunch and enjoyed time with my family minus my laptop and phone.  I lost precious writing time on a contracted book, but I considered it something I needed to do to reclaim my writing confidence.

Within a week, the writing itch returned and I took to my desk again. What I learned from this experience was to make sure I’m giving my mind time to rest.  Sometimes simply going for a walk or standing in the sun for a few minutes is all it takes to recharge and keep my creative juices flowing.

And when you’re a writer, keeping those juices flowing is a fairly important thing.

What about you? What do you do to keep your creativity soaring?

Adrienne Giordano
writes romantic suspense and mystery.  She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane's Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction. For more information on Adrienne's books please visit Adrienne can also be found on Facebook at and Twitter at For information on Adrienne’s street team, Dangerous Darlings, go to


Amy said...

Nice post! As a non-writer it is always interesting to hear how authors work and what it takes to write a book. I am glad you have good people around you that look after you and encourage you when you are feeling doubt, Adrienne. Having readers that really like your books is probably hard to some degree. We love your work which is great but then we inadvertenly put the pressure on you to write more and write it fast! I have learned to *try* not to ask authors when their next book is going to be out or what they are working on currently. When it's out it will be out.

Adrienne Giordano said...

Hi, Amy. Thanks for popping by. As an avid reader myself I always want the next book from my favorite authors to come in a hurry. I think being an author has taught me to be more patient because I understand what goes into publishing a book.

I think writers as a whole are harder on themselves than the readers are. I know my writer friends always talk about trying to make their books better and better each time. We might be our own worst enemy. :)