My first year as a published author….

9 Jun

by Mandy Hubbard

~~~

I am not sure how I got here, but somehow… I am just two days away from the 1 year anniversary of Prada & Prejudice’s release date.

*scratches head*

I dont think anyone really knows what to expect when you have a book coming out. And maybe that’s because… your publisher doesn’t tell you. You could sell 100 copies a week or 1,000 copies a week and you have no idea if that is good or bad or if they are happy or not. You’ll get a huge mix of reviews and the good ones will make you happy for three minutes and the bad ones will make you mopey for three days. You’ll go to Barnes and Noble and wonder why your book isn’t face out, and you’ll rearrange half of the H section to make enough room so that you can do it yourself. After you’re done signing stock, you’ll put them away yourself so you can sneak one onto an endcap.

You’ll see your book in the catalog and then you’ll see the other books with their 2 or 3 page spread and you’ll despair. You’ll beg anyone in a 100 mile radious of New York City to go to BEA (book expo of America) just so they can see if your publisher is giving out ARCs of your book. You’ll set up google alerts for your book title. And maybe extra ones with various mispellings. And even though you have the alerts, you’ll still end up spending half the day on google anyway.

The first year as an author is a roller coaster, filled with so many ups and downs its hard to keep track of it all.

The highs I experienced:

My first ever fan mail–first, the totally random emails that could bring on complete and utter glee, and later, my first ever snail-mailed fan mail.

Seeing my book in a store. A Real. Live. Store. 

Seeing Prada & Prejudice mentioned in TIME magazine.

Selling foreign rights to countries I’ve never seen, to be translated into languages I can’t speak.

Connecting with other authors who have become friends– for life

Selling more books and realizing I might be able to do this more than once.

The Lows:

Finding out Borders didn’t want to stock Prada & Prejudice. Wondering if that meant my career was totally finished. (They changed their mind a week after it came out.)

Watching other books get more publicity, more glitz, more foreign sales, more INSERT ANYTHING HERE. And driving myself crazy comparing. Over and over. Crazier and Crazier.

Going to a book festival 2+ hours away. And then sitting at a table while people avoided looking at me and no one bought my book.

Realizing how much is out of my control. Learning to focus on the writing, the only thing I can control.

It’s still hard to fathom that a year has gone by. I was so focused on that magical date– June 11, 2009– that once it was over, the days just floated past me. It was more stressful than expected–but so much more exciting and gratifying, too.

So I guess what I am saying, in the end, is the roller coaster never ends– it just gets a little loopier and a little faster, but it’s always worth it. 🙂

-Mandy

Author, Prada & Prejudice

Agent, D4EO Literary

www.mandyhubbard.com

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22 Responses to “My first year as a published author….”

  1. Julie Eshbaugh June 9, 2010 at 12:37 AM #

    Mandy, you are such an inspiration! Thanks so much for your incredible honesty. This is a great post. It’s so AWESOME that we have you here at LTWF!!! Thanks for everything, including all the “little things” you’ve done for me personally. They definitely add up! 🙂

    • mandyhubbard June 9, 2010 at 11:26 AM #

      Aww, thanks Julie!! I am so excited to read about YOUR first year as an author. 🙂

  2. Vahini June 9, 2010 at 1:38 AM #

    I’m with Julie, the little things you’ve done for me personally are so fantastically helpful.I love how honest you are in this post. You give the BEST insights ever into how this getting-published-stuff not only works but feels.

    Basically, you’re a rocksar 😀

    • mandyhubbard June 9, 2010 at 11:27 AM #

      *warm fuzzies*.

      Hee, thanks, V. You and Julie are next, you know. I decreed it and so it shall be.

  3. Victoria Dixon June 9, 2010 at 8:24 AM #

    Thanks for the insight, Mandy. It’s good to know upfront that I’m still on the kiddie coaster. LOL

    • mandyhubbard June 9, 2010 at 11:28 AM #

      No way! the pre-published coaster is just as emotional. Probably more. You’re working just as hard for a lot less glitz/glamour/payoffs.

      Hope your coaster climbs very soon! 🙂

  4. Jay June 9, 2010 at 9:20 AM #

    Thanks for this, Mandy. It’s always nice to read the stories of those who have gone before us. Congratulations on your successes!

    • mandyhubbard June 9, 2010 at 11:28 AM #

      Thank you, Jay! And good luck on achieving your goals and finding success too!

  5. Savannah J. Foley June 9, 2010 at 9:33 AM #

    I love your honesty, Mandy! Thanks for giving us a realistic peek into the life of a published author.

    • mandyhubbard June 9, 2010 at 11:29 AM #

      Thanks Sav!! 🙂

  6. Jill Wheeler June 9, 2010 at 10:04 AM #

    I really appreciate this post, especially about the roller coaster never ending. You think, “Oh, if I can just get an agent, I’ll bet set!” or “My life will be so much better after I get that book deal!” Not so. We should all just enjoy where we’re at in the process.

    • mandyhubbard June 9, 2010 at 11:29 AM #

      Yeah, I think that is key– realizing that you’ll never have it all, and relishing the happy/smaller goals you achieve instead of always wanting more. Because you will ALWAYS want more.

  7. Nora MacFarlane June 9, 2010 at 12:37 PM #

    I’ve enjoyed watching your roller-coaster ride from the Blueboards, facebook and Twitter. I’m still waiting in line for the ride, but in the meantime, I appreciate your sharing your journey to success. I wish you many more published books (yours and your clients!). Now, I have some reading to do. Prada & Prejudice is sitting in my lap. BTW, I bought it at Borders.

    • Julie Eshbaugh June 9, 2010 at 9:52 PM #

      LOL I bought my copy at Borders, too! Then I went back and bought more for gifts! And every time, I turned the copies on the shelf so they would be facing out!!! 🙂

  8. Cari June 9, 2010 at 12:48 PM #

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience! By the way, at the Barnes I work at, your book was a face out for a good long time. I saw it and thought: Hey, I kind of know that author!

  9. Kat Zhang June 9, 2010 at 1:52 PM #

    I laughed at the bit about you putting P&P face out at the bookstore, because I totally did that at the Borders I went to–after calling my friend over and being all, “I know the person who wrote that!” :]

    • Julie Eshbaugh June 9, 2010 at 10:00 PM #

      Hahahaa! I was in B&N with my son a few days ago, and we were in the YA aisle and I was looking specifically for P&P. So the saleswoman comes over and is all, “Is there something I can help you find?” So of course I answered, “Yes, I’m looking for my friend’s book – Prada & Prejudice… Oh, here it is! *waves it in saleswoman’s face* My friend Mandy wrote this.” Let me tell you, if you ever want to embarrass a boy, brag about knowing an author in the middle of B&N. My son was mortified, but it was SO worth it. *beams with pride in just being an e-friend of Mandy Hubbard* 🙂

  10. Emilia June 9, 2010 at 2:51 PM #

    Girl, you are a heroine. 😀 I remember a few years ago trying to avoid eye contact with an author who was signing at Borders. Looking back, and having heard stories like the one you mentioned, I feel SO bad, LOL. The first-year sounds both amazing and puke-worthy. Congrats on making it this far, & here’s to many more years to come! ❤

  11. Angela June 9, 2010 at 10:16 PM #

    Wow. Being a published author sounds as stressful and tough as querying.

    I always hear about the contributors here talk about the hardships of querying, so I didn’t realize that being a published author was still tough @_@

  12. Samantha W June 9, 2010 at 11:00 PM #

    Borders obviously saw that they were missing out 😉

  13. Biljana June 9, 2010 at 11:05 PM #

    What a wonderfully honest post :). I agree with all the comments: you’re an incredible inspiration and a really cool person to interact with. Thanks for pointing out the lows with as much ceremony as the highs. It shows you’re really genuine :). I’m taking these things to heart.

  14. samanthabina June 10, 2010 at 12:15 AM #

    You’ve always been an inspiration for me, and hearing you and Sarah talk about your experiences with your books has really kept me going over the last few months. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart ❤

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