The First 30 Days – Raven Oak

The First 30 Days

[important]I’m posting this two days before Day 30 because I have a guest author on Friday. I don’t like doubling up posts like that, so we’re going to pretend that January 28th is January 30th. I don’t feel like this topic gets covered enough, so I wanted to take the opportunity cover it honestly and bluntly, for myself and others.[/important]

January 1st, 2015 was The Day–the day I officially donned the title “Published Author,” and all that goes with it.

Stack of books, Amaskan's Blood by Raven Oak 30 days later, there are moments when it doesn’t feel real. Moments when I have the opportunity to breathe, and the enormity of it hits me. I’m published.

Somewhere out there, people are reading and enjoying my book the way I’ve enjoyed my favorite authors’ works, and some day in the future, I’ll glance back at this moment and smile. It’ll be fuzzy with time and viewed through a filtered lens, making it all the more important that I capture my thoughts on this now while it’s fresh and new. It’s also an excellent opportunity to be blunt and honest with myself (and you), so here goes–The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of the First 30 Days.

The Good:

  • Be prepared for the giddiness: I’ve been overwhelmed at the joy my book has brought to readers. The reviews thus far have been stellar, and all are excited for the series’ continuation. Many are equally excited about my upcoming works outside the land of Boahim.
  • Be prepared for the epiphany that it’s all worth it: I was fortunate enough to have a book club read my novel this month. They invited me (virtually) to the meeting where they discussed Amaskan’s Blood. Their questions and comments about my world (Boahim) and its future were the greatest complements an author can receive. It made every late night, grey hair, and coffee addiction worth it.
  • Be prepared to nervously babble: Being interviewed about your book is freaking phenomenal. While I was nervous being recorded, listening as others geeked out over my book was unreal. Be prepared to babble when that happens.
  • Be prepared to make friends: I’ve been invited to teach a writing workshop with other fantastic writers in my genre. Being published has opened doors and made connections that I never imagined. Beyond that, I’ve made friends with folks in my field who understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a writer and are genuinely happy about my success.
  • Be prepared for people to surprise you: More people are planning to attend my book signing than I thought would do so, leaving me a puddle of gratefulness and glee. I was expecting a room full of crickets.

The Bad

  •  Be prepared for others’ expectations: People really want book II. As in yesterday. The pressure of knowing so many await the story’s continuation is, I have to admit, a tad scary. Book II will happen, never fear, but this is quite the expectation to live up to. Writing is not for the weak!
  • Be prepared to lose your personal time: I am busier than I ever thought possible. It’s good, because it means I’m working and my books are selling, but I have less time to write now that I’m published due to conventions, publicity/social media, participating in more networking opportunities, etc. I make time to write daily–that hasn’t changed–but my personal time is almost non-existent. I work 7 days a week, often for 12-15 hours a day. I have a convention or workshop to attend 8 of the 12 months this year. O_O I know that as my career progresses, this will only get worse.

The Ugly

  • Be prepared for the long haul: Writing is a marathon. Being a new author (an unknown) with 1 published work = hard for readers to find. My book sales are doing decent enough (based on rankings and folks telling me they bought a copy), but I’m certainly not topping the charts. I didn’t expect to do so with my first published work. I’m realistic, and I know the drill. But I dream big, so I won’t lie and say I hadn’t wished for a blockbuster right out the gate. 😉 Patience is not my strength.
  • Be prepared to be angry & frustrated at times: Some people close to you won’t understand that point above and will assume that because you’re published, you are now infinitely wealthy and amazingly famous. Because of these misconceptions, I’m asked for money and favors entirely too much, by people who don’t get that I still have a mortgage to pay and a life to live. I endeavor to ignore these people in the future as they are a dead weight that I don’t need to carry.
  • Be prepared for the crazies: There are crazy people out there, folks. Crazy people.

Anyone else out there feel like sharing their first 30 days? I’m curious to see how your experiences line up with mine. To the readers out there, keep telling your authors how much you enjoy their books.

The good carries us through the bad and the ugly, I promise.

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