Hello lovelies! I’m excited to be, once again, participating in The Thanks U Give feature. It’s hosted by Chasing Faerytales and Stay Bookish and is all about spreading thanks since American Thanksgiving is this week.
I’m delighted to be featuring Julia Ember on the blog today! Keep reading to find out what she’s thankful for this year.
Being a debut author is terrifying.
Writers talk a lot about the anxiety that accompanies the querying process, but for me, my first year as a baby-author was 100x more frightening than refreshing my query inbox.
Once you sign a contract and have a book out there, you open yourself to scrutiny in a totally new way. Suddenly, criticism isn’t confined to query rejections. People can read and hate and judge. Beyond that, signing a publishing deal doesn’t magically transfer knowledge of how to publicise your book or what to do at a signing, but people expect that it does, because one you have a book, you’re suddenly supposed to emerge from your writerly cocoon and transform into a professional. If you write YA suddenly, you’re considered a role model for teens – even if you have NO CLUE HOW TO ADULT YET? Even if you still eat microwave meals almost nightly and only learned how to change a lightbulb a few months ago … *nervous laughter* I wish I was kidding about the lightbulbs.
My own transition to “professional” (and I use this in the loosest possible term, because when you work in your pyjamas, with coffee stains on your shirt and a cat sitting on your head, I’m not sure you’re a professional anything) has only been possible this year because the help and support of more established authors who were willing to babysit. THANK YOU.
I want to talk about two groups in particular. The first were the lovely ladies of Sirens Con in Colorado, who helped me make it through my first author event without actually dying of nervousness. I met so many wonderful and friendly authors at Sirens, and it really boosted my confidence. Going into the conference, I had the worst imposter syndrome. I worried that other authors wouldn’t accept me because I was publishing with a small press and didn’t have an agent. This ended up being an extremely silly concern. I think being put at ease so early in my career, before publication, was invaluable to me. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to participate in BEA or think hosting me could possibly be worth it for my publisher, if I hadn’t done Sirens first.
The second group are my #Wo2016 friends – a facebook group created by Suzanne Van Rooyen and Louise Gornall at the end of 2015. The group was started as an open forum for authors to talk about their anxieties pre-publication (and there are many), share experiences and put together promotional efforts. Through the group, I’ve met several of my critique partners and made lifelong writer friends.
At its heart, writing is a lonely profession and it’s easy to isolate yourself. I am supremely grateful to my surrogate mother hens, who coddled me through my first year and a half with so much patience and grace. I hope that I can pay it forward with authors who are new in 2017.