Musings of a First-Time Author on Her First Anniversary of Publishing a Novel
One year ago, I woke up to my husband saying, “You’re a published author.” I’ve had a few monikers given to me over my 61 years: student, dancer, knitter, sewer, reader, field hockey player, bartender, babysitter, ice cream scooper, lacrosse stick stringer, intern, Account Executive, Assistant Vice President, Director, Supervisor, volunteer, wife, hockey/baseball/soccer/lacrosse/football mom, coach, sister, daughter, granddaughter, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, cousin, friend, classmate, and probably a few more, but none ever included writer or author. When I discovered my family history and its connection to the Woman’s Medical College of PA, however, I donned a new hat—researcher and writer—which evolved into published author after five long years.
THE UNLOCKED PATH from Black Rose Writing released August 25, 2022.
In the past twelve months, I’ve assumed a few more titles which I never would have associated with being an author: social media maven, graphic designer, speaker, seller, consultant, networker, discussion leader. Writing a novel may be tough. Finding a publisher is a whole other challenge in today’s super competitive world of publishing. But getting your book out there into the hands of readers may be the toughest job of all. While I am fortunate that my publisher provides some marketing help, the harsh truth is that nearly every author, from self-published ones to blockbuster, Reese Book Club, NYT bestselling authors need to pitch in to market their books. Lucky for me, I possess a few skills, or more importantly, the confidence to go out and sell myself and my book to prospective readers, bookstore owners, librarians, and book clubs. And boy oh boy, have I! My brother (and probably a few others not as vocal as a brother would be) may think I’m over the top with self-promotion, but when you’re competing with 4 MILLION other books that come out each year, not to mention, back titles of previously released novels, it’s a do or die situation if you want to see your story told and your book sold.
Maybe you follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram and have seen my daily posts. Or subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or saw me at a library presentation. Or had me join your book club for an author chat. Or follow me on Goodreads for book recommendations. Or saw a special Kindle price on Amazon. Wherever or however, you discovered THE UNLOCKED PATH, and hopefully, bought it from Amazon, a local bookstore, or directly from me, or checked it out from your library—THANK YOU!
Now you may ask, I bought your book—but have others? Did the hours I’ve spent on marketing (when maybe I should work more on writing the sequel) pay off? First, consider these handy dandy factoids from Bookscan regarding the world of publishing in 2022:
- For every (1) spot available on a bookstore’s shelf, there are 100 to 1,000 or more titles competing for that space.
- The thin margins in the industry, high complexities of the business, intense competition, severe supply-chain disruptions, churning of new technologies, and rapid growth of other media lead to constant turmoil in bookselling and publishing.
So, what about THE UNLOCKED PATH? I can honestly say that as a first-time author, I am elated that it falls within the 34% mark of over 1,000 paperback copies sold in its first year. And that stat measures books released by a major publishing company. Even the big names have a tough time.
Would I do it again? Would I subject my brother to more self-promotional posts in his Facebook feed? Would I learn how to use Canva and research best contacts to approach at a library to pitch an author presentation? Would I reach out and ask for help from family, friends, and FB acquaintances to become a street team? You bet I would! Expect to hear from me soon—the sequel to THE UNLOCKED PATH will release on September 5, 2024, from the fabulous team at Black Rose Writing. Book clubs will finally discover the answer to the persistent question—Does Patrick return?
I hope you’ll join me in my celebration today—and over the course of the next twelve months as I charge ahead full throttle into marketing my second novel.
P.S. One more shameless self-promotion plea—if you’ve read and enjoyed THE UNLOCKED PATH, I’ll hope you’ll post a review to Goodreads and/or Amazon to help boost my visibility. Those algorithms are nasty little pests and one more pain point for authors.