Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Learning Curve of the New Author

It’s my one year anniversary.

Or rather it will be in 10 days. ;-)

Yes, it’s hard to believe but come October 18th, it’ll be one year since the fabulous Carly Byrne, editor, called me to say they wanted to buy my book. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed with joy or jumped up and down so much in my life. LOL.

So much has happened since that amazing day that it makes my head spin. One of those wonderful milestones is the release of my second title, SNOWBOUND WITH THE SOLDIER, which was a 2011 So You Think You Can Write Top Five Finalist. Right now it’s available online and in stores. And it’s available in India. My first foreign release. :-)

So in honor of my anniversary, I thought I’d pay forward some of the things I’ve learned since this time last year:
  •  There’s a lot more to being an author than penning a good story. It’s kind of like starting a small business. And the receipts, don’t get me started on the stack of receipts saved for tax purposes. Thankfully my hubby is my tax accountant. *delegation*

  • Having a website that looks professional but that is easy to update is important because in the publishing world things happen quickly. And I like being able to go in and change things up as needed instead of waiting around for someone else.

  • You need a hobby whether it’s scrap-booking  football or cooking to talk about with readers. I’m still working on this because right now I don’t have time for my hobbies. ;-)

  • Social media is necessary. I must admit that I dragged my feet at first. It can be intimidating, but if you take it one step at a time, it isn’t quite so daunting. I would definitely recommend Twitter and Facebook. And if you get started on those before selling, all the better. I didn’t really do that and so I had tons to learn with Facebook on top of edits, AA’s and writing a new book.

  •  I can spend way too much time on social media chatting with all of the wonderful people there and not get my writing quota done for the day. :-)

  • Revisions are SOP (standard operating procedure). So it isn’t if I’ll get revisions but rather when I’ll get revisions. And I take comfort in knowing that when they are done the story will be stronger. And that is always a good thing.

  • I learned to blog. I must admit, I was nervous about my first posts, but I found that with continued use, I got more comfortable with it. My reason for having a personal blog was that I wanted a home base—a static point where readers could go to find out where I was that day or what I was up to. Twitter is too here now and gone soon. Facebook is a little more static but I’m still not sure how many actually visit people’s timelines and don’t just pick up what appears on the newsfeed. Since FB is notorious for only sharing posts with a small percentage of followers that wasn’t a great place to rely on to get information out. Hence the blog. And I found I really like it. It’s a lot of fun. When it’s no longer fun, I will reevaluate.

  • I can write much faster than I ever imagined. I always did work best under pressure, otherwise I procrastinate. Well, I still procrastinate but not as much. ;-)

  • AA’s aren’t to be feared. Once I got it through my head that no story is perfect and that I could only change grammar, punctuation and the odd word or two at this stage, I enjoyed reading the manuscript for the last time and saying goodbye to my characters.

  • Getting snail mail has a new excitement, because you never know when author copies are going to show up or what country they’re from. So it’s kind like Christmas year-round.

  • Balancing writing and life is key…umm, one I have yet to accomplish, but I’m trying. Honest.

  • Reviews are a mixed bag. So proceed with caution.

  • Marketing/promo is an individual choice, like so much else. But I’ve realized that with so many books available with the indie explosion, if you don’t get your name out there, how will people find you?

  • Readers are awesome! They are kind, helpful, uplifting and very supportive. I am so grateful for my reader friends. They make everything that much more special. :-)

  • As for the best marketing approach, I still don’t have an answer for that one. I’m trying the throw everything out there and see what sticks. Yep, trial and error.

  • And one thing I had to learn the hard way was that readers love epilogues. Ugh! Wish I knew this earlier on. But when you have to write short, it’s tough to squeeze in everything. And epilogues provide a vehicle with which to tie up loose ends and show the couple in their new found HEA. And yes, you’ll note in book #3 there is an epilogue. And yes, it was needed.

  • And the most important thing I’ve learned is to keep your ears and eyes open. And never let a good opportunity pass you up. You never know where it will lead you. ;-)

And that pretty much sums up the key things I’ve learned this year. I’m sure there’s a lot more because I honestly do learn something new every day, which is exciting. 

If I missed something you’re interested in, feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer.

Jennifer Faye’s second release, SNOWBOUND WITH THE SOLDIER, is available NOW! both in stores and online at Amazon & B&N. She’d love to hear from readers. You can contact her via her website.


  1. Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it. Are you considering writing for any other subgenres in romance or any other genre in the future? What's your favorite thing about working as a novelist?

  2. Hi Diana. I don't know at this point. I'm pretty caught up in contemporary romance. And there's a lot of room to move around in there from small town romances to cowboys to tycoons and exotic locales. So I think I'll stick close to home for now. ;-)

    As for my favorite thing about being an author that is a tough one. There's a LOT of things I love about the writing biz including working in my PJ's. LOL. But if I had to just pick one I'd honestly have to say the readers. They are truly awesome. When I'm having a rough day, they literally make me smile. They email me the kindest notes, keep me company on FB and I even got homemade pepperoni rolls as a thank you gift. So readers rock!

  3. Thanks for a great post. Sorry if this is a silly question, but what is an AA? Thanks!

    1. Great question! AA's are author alliterations. They are the last read you do before your manuscript goes into production. It's for catching small things such as grammar and spelling issues. Hope that helps.

  4. Hey Jennifer! All excellent points. I found myself nodding in agreement at each one. Happy Anniversary and best always!

    1. Thank Rula. I still can't believe it's been a whole year. It really went by quickly--too quickly. ;-)

  5. Great post, Jennifer! Where has a year gone? Glad you're sticking with contemporary!

    1. Hi Ann. Thank you. I know this year is just flying by. I need it to slow down just a little. ;-)

  6. Great post Jennifer! Loved reading all about it and love the fact that it all began with a competition entry. Right now I have a soldier to get snowbound with!

    1. Hi Rachael. Thanks! Actually my debut was bought via Harlequin's Fast Track submission that they offer from time to time. But my second book was via the So You Think You Can Write contest. It's a great way for writers to get their foot in the door and you never know where it'll lead. ;-)

  7. Happy Anniversary, Jennifer! Your post supports my theory on the importance of writing contests! I'm looking forward to my copy of "Snowbound..." to arrive.

    1. Hi Angela! Yes, contests provided a big part in my writing journey. They taught me a lot of lessons including my very first deadlines. ;-)

      Thanks so much for getting Snowbound With The Soldier. I hope you enjoy it.