What It’s Like to Be Published

Friends and Other Liars has officially been out in the world for one month, and many people have (naturally) asked how it’s doing. I haven’t come up with an easy answer for that yet. The real truth is, I’m not really sure. There is a thing called Author Central on Amazon that provides some pretty bleak numbers, but my agent tells me it doesn’t update as quickly as the publisher’s numbers, that it doesn’t include e-book sales, and that independent stores take longer to report. So it’s not an accurate picture. She tells me the numbers she’s seeing are a “modest, but not terrible,” beginning.

Which isn’t exactly comforting.

So, because I like to keep it real, I’ll tell you that I’ve had some hard days. Deep down I know this book is good, that it deserves to be read, that it will be successful. I also know that I’m the most impatient person in the world and my expectations of it soaring to number 1 overnight are entirely unrealistic (I’ve always known that, but you know, law of attraction and what not).

Being a published author is a dream come true. It really is. But that’s only the beginning of the dream. My real dream is to be a novelist. For this to be my career. To write a book a year. To have a readership who is excited for my next to come out. To support myself doing what I love. Everyone tells you this is impossible, that such a small percentage of writers get to this level. And yet, that’s what I want. That’s what I’m determined to get.

So while perhaps I should be focused on getting that first step crossed off, instead I’m trying not to freak out. As I’ve mentioned before, my publisher has until the beginning of May to decide whether they want to buy my next book. And on top of worrying if they’re going to even like it, I know a large part of their decision will be based on if I’ve hit their target with my first book.

No pressure.

I’m slowly moving into a place of peace about it. I’m not checking Author Central every day (I would like to not check it at all, but come on), I’m not refreshing Goodreads and Amazon every ten minutes to see if more reviews have posted (again, I do find myself checking every couple of days). I’m not worrying about the numbers, or obsessing over what I could do to boost sales. I’ve done practically everything within my power, and now it’s simply up to all the strangers out there who are browsing for a new book.

Instead, I’m focusing on all the wonderful people out there who have featured me on their blogs, (full list on my events page) – interviewing, reviewing, posting excerpts, and running giveaways. Book bloggers are da coolest.

I’m focusing on the fact that when I did check Goodreads the other day that 134 have rated it, 83 have reviewed it, and nine people are currently it. No, that’s not thousands or even hundreds, but that’s 134 individual people I don’t know who thought my book looked interesting and added it to their cart, who could be holding my book in their hands right now, in places from Spain to South Africa to Tanzania, (yes, I stalked them all).

One negative about this particular novel: it is the author’s debut, which means I can’t grab all her other work for immediate reading.

This may well be Kaela Coble’s debut novel but I am certain it won’t be her last.

I’ll miss them all [the characters]. I feel like I’ve lived it with them.

I’m focusing on all my friends on Facebook and colleagues who drop in my office to tell me they loved it, that they couldn’t put it down. Your support means everything!

And perhaps most importantly, I’m focused on writing the next thing. One way or another, it will be shared with the world.

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