Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Emotional Rollercoaster of A Debut Author

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
~ A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Let me start with a few highs:

My debut novella, THE DJINN'S DILEMMA, from Harlequin Nocturne comes out Nov. 1.WooHoo! Almost there!

And I love the cover.

The artist totally captured my story about a djinn-assassin,Rukh,who hunts in the shadows and then falls desperately in love with his human target. The only way to save Sarah is to find out who wants her dead and stop them before someone else finishes the job.

Also, the lightning is an integral part of the story! LOVE it!

I have read and written since childhood, and always wanted to be an author (okay, sometimes I wanted to be author/vet or lawyer or rockstar), so this first step in publication is a dream come true. I should be super excited...and a part of me is, but another part of me scared out of my mind. Eeeep! My story is coming out Nov. 1. Eeeeep!

Fear #1: I'm clueless about what to do beyond writing the story. Here's my sad tale: I didn't realize my novella is available for pre-order until a kind friend told me. Yikes! In this day and age, an author has to do so much more than just the write the story and I don't know what to do and if I'm doing enough.

Fear #2: No one (besides family, friends, editor & agent) is going to like my story.

Now, I have laughed out loud and cried as I wrote the story, and edited it and re-read it over and over to be sure I hadn't imagined it. I know The Djinn's Dilemma is a good story. But the fear niggles.

It hasn't helped that when I mention the story is paranormal erotic romance, I get the oddest reactions.

One man asked if I'd let my 6-year-old read the book. Um, no. I don't write for that age group, I write for adults.

Of course, I get THE LOOK, followed by "Oh, you write dirty books." In fact, one lady took it upon herself to shout it out at a party. Yeah, I was the center of attention.

The first time it happened, I was stunned. Now I respond, "No, I write sexy books. And yes, The Djinn's Dilemma has amazing sex between two consenting and committed adults who are racing against time & bad guys to stay alive."

Several wise author friends, who are further along the publication road, shared some wonderful advice:

1. Don't worry about things you can't control.

2. Don't obsess over sales #s on Amazon and other sites.

3. Don't read reviews & DO NOT answer reviews.

And they all gave me one big DO:


Any other do's and don'ts I should keep in mind?


Lexi said...

Remember the joy as you work on book two. By that I mean, don't listen to the demons (djinn?) in your head whispering negative thoughts. Try and focus on the writing and on the joy it gives you. It's the only thing you can control! Congratulations! This is a HUGE moment in your life, your first pubbed book! Whoo hoo!!!

Get on some blogs. Blog tours are an inexpensive way to get the word out about your book, and it's a fun way to connect with readers.

Lisa Dunick said...

I don't know if this is helpful or not, but when I went to the Moonlight and Magnolia conference in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I saw a workshop by Kim Castillo who is a virtual assistant (she works with Eloisa James and a bunch of other authors). Anyway, she's brilliant and (get this) fairly affordable ($16 an hour). You might want to contact someone like that about promo. She seems to have it down, and maybe you could just use her as a consultant or something. :O)

Buffy Armstrong said...

You should be super excited. Celebrate until you feet hurt! As soon as it becomes available to buy on my Nook, I'm going to. Good luck!


Rashda Khan said...

Hi Rashda will be late joining, she is running around at the Lone Star Writers Conference. She sent me (hubbie) in as a sub. Thanks for the comments and support, it really means a lot.


Suzanne Johnson said...

Just enjoy the ride! I'm battling the same fears over my first that doesn't come out till April. By March I'll be gibbering in a corner. Don't gibber, though. Have some champagne and expect the best! Congrats!

Runere McLain said...

Celebrating with you! I kept reading and re-reading the email confirming my first sale. I kept thinking it was a mistake. Delivered to the wrong address. A cruel practical joke where my friends bribed the publisher to send out an acceptance (like those fake lottery tickets people can get!) LOL

The best advice I ever got was from a multi-published author. Get right to work on the next book! That way you can ride the high of success right on through all the little (and large) frustrations of turning out the best manuscript possible.

I'll be looking for you Nov. 1st! And double congrats on your supportive Hubby. They're rare, so give him an extra hug. Don't know what I'd do without mine and his encouragement, love, gifts of chocolate (sometimes delivered by slingshot, I'm so grumpy), and enormous ability to poke at me until I laugh, get out of my funk and get back to work.

Rebecca said...

Hi Rashda! Congrats on your's so exciting! My second book comes out on Nov. 1st ...and those nerves don't go away. :)

Just keep on writing!

Carla Swafford said...

Like Jennifer Echols told me today, just enjoy every minute and don't worry about all the other stuff.

The story is important. If you love it and your editor loves it (that's why she bought it), others will too.


Rashda Khan said...

Thank you all for all your wonderful encouragement & kind words. Such a nice surprise to come out of the conference and see all the wonderful comments!

And yes, my hubby is a sweetheart :) Couldn't have done any of this without him!

Rashda Khan said...

Thanks Lexi!

So good to see you here and thanks for the advice. Yes, I'm doing a blog tour and I'm hoping to meet new friends :)

Rashda Khan said...

Oooh Lisa,

A virtual assistant sounds perfect...or cloning myself. My DH & I decided we'd need 5 versions of me to get everything done.

Rashda Khan said...

Congrats Suzanne! So happy for you :) April is further than hopefully, you won't be gibbering ;P

Looking forward to hearing more about your book!

Rashda Khan said...

Thanks Buffy, Rebecca & Carla!

So appreciate your support! :)

And so glad to be sharing this journey with you all.

Victoria Dixon said...

Hiring a publicist isn't a bad idea. That and other suggestions I've got highlighted in my copy of "Essential Guide to Getting your Book Published" were great. Alas, I put it down the other day and now can't find it! Pulling hair.... I will try to find it and give you their suggestions. Congratulations again!

Rashda Khan said...

Hi Runere!

Totally with you on rereading emails and not believing its happening! Wow, such a big dream come true. Congrats on your good news too!

And extra hug delivered....

Karen Duvall said...

Ooh, Rashda, I'm so excited for you! I can't wait til this comes out.

I absolutely agree about not reading reviews. They can mess with your mind. If you canget someone you know to read them for you and point out only the good ones, that will help. Good reviews are valuable for self-promotion. You can use them in your press kit.

Cari Hislop said...

That is a great cover! It brings to mind the painting, Jupiter and Io by Correggio (Io is making love to the God Jupiter who appears as a embrace her as a misty face forms as he bends to kiss her). I think its very romantic.

Congratulations on your 1st published brain child! Like someone else said, if it made you laugh and cry other will love it too!

I thought all the other advice was really good, but "Have fun!" is one I remind myself daily. I strongly believe that we have to take good care of our inner-artist/child. Sometimes that means buying myself toys, books, music or DVD's I really want. Sometimes it means letting myself draw or paint. Sometimes it means getting out of my chair and going for a walk with my camera. Giving our inner artist permission to have fun (and making sure she has fun) feeds that creative part of us which will enable us to keep producing great art!

Rashda Khan said...

Hi Karen,

Thanks for visiting! I will add "Read reviews and weed out the bad ones" to my DH's Honey-do list :)

Hi Victoria,

Let me know if you find the book!

Rashda Khan said...

Hi Cari,

Your advice about taking care of the inner artist/child is so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with me.

Jeannie Lin said...

Congrats and definitely celebrate and enjoy the moment. I'm looking forward to reading this. I love paranormal romances with a different twist.