Today is my official 1st year authorversary!
Which is kind of a big deal because I have been published for a whole year and have not (1) screamed myself into a million moths and vanished, or (2) eaten any hats, or (3) looked back at my book with horrible regret. I am very proud of A Thousand Perfect Notes. I am very proud of me. 😌 This whole author life is the opposite of “easy” (spoiler alert: it actually gets harder haha…oh) and while I’ve had some depressing setbacks, I am just ferociously pleased with the fact that I did it.
I have not one, but two books in bookstores, and my heart is forever filled with gratefulness!!
Author Milestones Achieved So Far!
(some of these are sarcastic shhh let me laugh)
walked into a bookstore and seen my book on the shelf!!!! ✓
had my debut novel featured in a book box (Illumicrate!) ✓
been tagged in negative reviews 🙃✓
actually told someone NOT to read my book haha (but for their mental health reason!) ✓
seen my book in a library! ✓
had BOTH my books featured by BookDepository.com
A Thousand Perfect Notes got written up in a UK newspaper ✓
I signed my name G.C. Drews and I just….😑 ✓
had some favourite authors buy copies of my book (Brigid Kemmerer, Elizabeth May, Nadine Brandes, Helene Dunbar!! AHH) ✓
been told, many many times, that someone “won’t be reading your book unless you send it to me for free” which I just…hmm. ✓
had someone review my #ownvoices autism book and call it “bad rep”😑😂 ✓
BROKE HEARTS. SO MANY HEARTS. WITH BOTH MY BOOKS!!!! ✓
had people say “I usually don’t like contemporary but…I loved yours!!!” ✓
hit #1 amazon bestseller list twice!! ✓
The Boy Who Steals Houses ranked in the 30s on the Book Depository bestseller list! ✓
have had people do twitter chats and book club meetings featured around my books ✓
been able to encourage autistics and people with depression after reaching out to me to say how much they connected with my books and I just 😭💛 am so honoured ✓
A Thousand Perfect Notes reached 10,000 adds on Goodreads! ✓
been asked desperately to write sequels which, while it’s out of my control, is really sweet and I appreciate it more than I can say ✓
had a book cake recipe inspired by ATPN ✓
HAD FAN ART MADE ✓
had my books read in one sittings ✓
found typos in both books 😬✓
had an inbox filled with encouraging messages from readers!!!!!! day after day!!!! ✓
petted my author copies and whispered “preciousssss” ✓
And so so many more things…honestly I can’t list them all. But I’ve been loved on and supported by the book community, but strangers, by friends, and by other lovely authors…and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Today is for celebrating good things but I *DO* want to say — no it’s not all been perfect or easy.
In fact, as we speak, things are really not easy and I’ve had more setbacks than I have teacups to fill with all my tears. I say this because it’s really easy to only talk about the highlights. Otherwise we sound ungrateful, right?! I strive to be honest, professional, and realistic with what I tell you about the publishing world, but I can’t always tell you the slumpy parts.
But if you’re a writer, sitting there amongst piles of setbacks and depression and listlessness –– You AREN’T alone and all authors go through this! To be honest, it’s like the author life 65% of the time.
Like I said, though, I am here to do a happy shimmy today because 🤗 look I survived a year of being a published author. And as crushing as this career often is, today is for flailingggggg.
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Which also brings me to the second part of today’s post…
in my 1st year as an author!
I’m officially no longer a debut! I’m a veteran (me @ chokes on my soup) and definitely want to pass on some of the knowledge I’ve gleaned which (a) might help other future authors out there, or (b) be absolutely of zero help which is totally on brand for this blog. Who knows which it will be? IT’S A SURPRISE.
1. Celebrate yourself!
Like I’m so guilty of always looking ahead, piling up new goals, gazing at what others have achieved while I fell short and being like “oh…I have not worked hard enough.” When in reality!?!? I have a freaking book out. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do that!! So sure maybe I have a Quiet YA and I’m not a bestseller but I still have worked super hard, tumbled into some luck, and I’m in BOOKSTORES.
This? This is good and worth celebrating. You do not have to be the Next JK Rowling to deserve celebrating.
Also 100% going to keep dreaming up big goals. BUT. Celebrate everything. Absolutely everything. 🤗
2. Get yourself some author friends.
You know what’s lonely?! Being in the publishing career without friends. My son, you need them. To understand what you’re going through, to flail with you, to offer candid feedback, to motivate you and scrape you out of meltdowns. I’m not even joking — my author-life became 1000% better and more bearable once I met @cosyreads. And now I’ve added on a ton of amazing author friends on instagram that I chat to regularly and I just 😭💛The best thing you can do for yourself is — don’t do this alone.
Also so much love to @lettuce_read @authorcrrhillin @anovelescape @daleydowning @helenedunbar @nadinebrandes 💛💛💛I can’t thank them all enough!!! (And pfft of course there are dozens more blogging and bookstagram friends I have and I would list you all if I could.)
3. Don’t assume someone else has an easy publishing journey.
I fail at this often. I admit! It’s really easy to see another author only list their highlight reel on social media and not see the behind-the-scenes…where they probably have dozens of breakdowns, rejections, monetary issues, and things going sour. Don’t 🙌🏻 ever assume 🙌🏻 anything.
4. Did you stockpile some chocolate? Get twice as much.
Just…trust me. Whatever you thought you’d need, it isn’t enough.
5. Learn to listen and collaborate.
Because prior to being a published author, we pretty much are in charge of everything ourselves. From our self-imposed deadlines to exactly what we decided to take vs discard from edits. THEN you start working with your publishing team. THEN you start pitching books before you’ve written them. Taking advice from agents/editors/industry professionals. Learning to listen and collaborate and be flexible is invaluable.
6. Thank bloggers!!
A like! A tweet of thank you! A share!! DO IT ALL. Bloggers (and bookstagrammers, booktubers and reviewers) actually will change your life and your book’s life. So 🙏🏻 thank them, treasure them, be polite. FYI I love all all all you book community creatures who have supported me. It has, absolutely, made such a difference and I am FOREVER in your debt!!!
(And yes they’ll overstep and you’ll get tagged in negative reviews. Go back to #4 and eat that chocolate. Then cry/yell with your friends in private DMs. Not in public.)
7. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything the “other authors are doing”.
Like a book event? School talks? Book signings? Tours? Maybe your publisher won’t even give you that opportunity or maybe you CAN’T DO IT. I am a socially anxious wreck who can’t even talk to my agent on the phone. Yet I got here. You can get here too.
8. Writing is probably going to get harder and that’s ok.
You’ll feel both buoyed and terrified by your success. “PEOPLE LIKE MY BOOK!!!!” vs “omg they will expect more what if that one time was a fluke.”
Panic. You are allowed to panic. You know what I’m doing right now? Probably panicking. I have had the worst writers’ blocks of my life after getting a book deal. There’s nothing like the validation of “You’re a good writer!” to actually suspect you’re not. Lol @ how that works.
But see? Controlled panic. Panic efficiently. Panic any day you want. Do a weird like panicky shimmy dance. All we debut authors are doing it, it’s ok.
And no I don’t have a cure. I just have the words — it’s ok. You’re allowed. (Just don’t stop writing.💛)
9. DON’T READ GOODREADS REVIEWS.
GET OFF. GO. RIGHT NOW.
do you know what idiot reads reviews?? Me. I read all of ATPN’s reviews until I hit the most debilitatingly harsh one ever, cried for like 3 days, and then swore of reading reviews. Things would be different for my second book!! I would learn!!
Anyway the exact same thing happened with TBWSH. I read all the reviews until I stumbled on one that gutted me to the core. Now I don’t read reviews. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Cait. There are easier ways to cure yourself, you intolerable onion.
Anyway, please just remember: Goodreads thrives off negativity. You get more likes for being salty. I know! I am a book reviewer (I’ve since stopped doing negative reviews of my own choice though…for this reason lol. I can’t handle getting them; I can’t give them now.) And also star-ratings mean nothing. I once read a 4-star review that was 90% hate and criticism…but they gave it 4-stars and I’m still like ??????????? Anyway.
Readers will be wrong. Readers will be right. You are not here to learn from them (you can’t write a book that solves every negative reviews issues because one person will hate your pacing and one person will love it!). They are for the readers. Not the authors.
And, authors? Don’t engage. Never never never.😘Your book is up to them to interpret and book reviewers can be problematic just like authors can be. It’s just best to stay out of each other’s spaces when it comes to opinions on your book.
10. Allow yourself grace to struggle with changes.
Now I’m really really bad at things changing. Being faced with change (and I’m also autistic, so this plays into it) sends me into a tailspin all the time. And like publishing a book is a HUGE thing. Suddenly I had less time to blog, my relationship with the book community (as a reader not an author) changed, I could spend hours on social media just upkeeping everything?!? My writing process started to change. My internet routines collapsed. I lost friends. I made friends.
It’s been a year of unfathomable change. And I’m still learning to cope with it.
But to my fellow debut authors? Let yourself have a meltdown over the world shifting if you need to. 🤗Give yourself time and space to refit yourself into what needs to be done. Make it work for you. It is like putting on a new sweater when the old one was worn-in and comfy. The new one will fit soon!! Just give it time.
you know I am 100% just all the grateful feels right now so…
from the depths of my inky soul. I don’t know what my 2nd year as an author will bring, but I have two books out, I have an amazing community and epically loving friends, and I have ice cream.