July 4, 2016

How to Survive the Trenches of Debut Authorhood

By Elaine Stock

Surviving? If you’re a pre-published writer who desperately wants to become published you might be rubbing your furrowed brows wondering why a debut author is offering survival skills. Shouldn’t she count her lucky stars daily until her sophomore book releases? Since I cringe at narrow-eyed gazes cast my way I’ll back up a sec. Yes, ever since my novel debuted in January 2016—after many years of submissions and rejections and close but not quite what we’re looking for responses—I have thanked God for the blessing of the one yes that’s changed my life.

Yet, I learned a lot since that January day about things I never thought I’d learn. Ultimately, what I discovered about having a novel debut swings right back to learning more about myself, others, and Life 101 Part B. This is why I believe it’s necessary to share with others.

1. Expect a temporary neurosis

    I’d waited for this special moment in my writing life for seemingly forever. In my mind’s eye
    I’d visualized the time between signing the contract to the novel’s release as a time of sheer
    joy and peace because, hey, isn’t that what happens after having a dream come true, i.e., The
    Contract is finally signed?

    Nope, it doesn’t happen. I jumped from writer to soon-to-be-released author during days  
    stretched thinly across the deep waters of excitement, wonder, and fretting. Then there were
    the days of keeping so busy to escape stress that I became more stressed.
    Remedy: keep your eye on Him. Read scripture. Read inspirational blogs. Reach out to author
    friends who “get you.”

2. Expect Delays

    What I’m referencing here is the delay of congratulations, how-can-I-help?, interview
    and blog guest invitations, reviews of your book on Amazon, or even a simple Retweet
    or a Share on Facebook of your newest meme.

    Don’t take these delays personally. The uncle that you last spoke to five years ago will
    pick up your book, your neighbor will look at your website, and your critique partner will
    surprise you with trumpeting your name across Facebook when you least expect it.
    Life is complicated for many folks. Those who love you, support you, and are your friends
    will not forget you. Thank them!

    Remedy: forget about you and reach out to others and help them.
3. Don’t read your debut novel

    How many times did you read this novel in its manuscript form, from creation to final edit?     
    Right—one too many! I doubt you’ll be able to read your own story without wondering
    why you didn’t plot differently, or why you had a character die, or why you used the
    same word twice on one page. You will land back into #1: neurosis.

    Remedy: begin another writing project.

Will I proceed with trepidation or courage when my next novel is about to launch? Bring it on—I
can’t wait to find out. And, I’ll look out for your book!
A former Brooklyn gal, Elaine Stock lives in the Northeast with her husband where she enjoys spring, summer, autumn, and puts up with the winter. Elaine writes contemporary fiction, fusing family drama and psychological suspense. Her debut novel, Always With You, Elk Lake Publishing, released in January 2016. A 2011 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and a 2013 My Book Therapy’s Frasier Bronze Medalist, Elaine is a member of ACFW and WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Association), as well as a contributing author to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope. Please visit her on her website for more information.

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