Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just the Beginning

I’ve learned so much as a debut author, that I’m not sure I even know how to begin with this post. I guess you could say that I started this journey, this debut year, knowing close to nothing. For instance, when I first sold my book, the thought of promotion, publicists, sales and marketing teams, never crossed my mind. In fact, I’m not sure it ever occurred to me to consider how my book would get into readers’ hands. I just thought it, um, magically would, I guess.

And then I learned about making websites and diving into the world of social networking. Yes, there was a time, pre-debut, when the word “tweet” had never once entered my vocabulary, and now, it seems like a part of my daily existence. I learned about blogging and group blogging and blog tours and blog interviews and guest blogging. I learned about all the fabulous blog reviewers who wanted to read and help me promote my book. I learned about book signings and book festivals and how chain bookstores buy books. And that was just the beginning.

At a certain point last March, just after The September Sisters came out, I became so overwhelmed with book promotion that I might’ve gone a little crazy for a few weeks in there. I wasn’t writing (or sleeping much) either. And then I realized that I had to take a step back, take a deep breath. Every single thing was not going to go the way I wanted it to or expected it to. And that was okay.

But I think the biggest thing I learned was that my debut was just the beginning of my journey, the start to my career. And I started to actually believe it, that this, writing books, and all the work and promotion that comes with it is actually my career. As I watched the clock tick down to my debut release date last February, I mistakenly thought that when it hit 0, when the book came out, it would be the end of something. My book would be gone, out into the world. But no, really, it was just the beginning.

I didn’t do everything perfectly for my debut. There were things I wished I’d done after the fact, missed opportunities. Questions I wished I’d asked sooner. Blurbs I wished I’d gone after. Moments I wished I’d savored more. But just like anything thing else, this was a learning experience.

So my second book is coming out in two months, but this time I really do feel more prepared. I’ve got all the website/social networking/blogging stuff down, for starters. But most importantly, I’ve vowed to eat and sleep and keep writing. I’ve vowed to stop and enjoy the amazing moments. I’ve vowed to remember that this book is a step – a big, amazing, awe-inspiring step – in what I hope will be a long career.


Donna Gambale said...

This is a wonderful post, and a great perspective to have! You definitely should be proud of yourself for all you've learned, and I can't wait to see your second novel!

Tracy Madison said...

I love this post, Jillian!

Jillian Cantor said...


Sierra Godfrey said...

Jillian, I'm wondering if you have any perspective on how much of a difference it's made embracing web and social media tactics? Do you think it's resulted in book sales?

Jillian Cantor said...

Sierra, It's definitely a hard thing to really precisely measure, but yes, I do think that having an online presence has made a difference.