What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your First Book by Jill MacKenzie

Photo credit: QuinnDombrowski on Flickr

So you’ve just sold your novel…now what? Well, first things first here: a huge pat on the back to you! It truly is a fantastic accomplishment and—as many authors these days know—no easy feat. But you’ve done it! So take a moment to sit back and feel the sun shining bright on your face. You deserve it.

Now that that’s done, I thought it might be helpful to go through a couple of things you could (or should) do after that golden glow has started to fade.

  1. Write another book. Or don’t.

I know what the rule is here: write something else! While I do see the merit in keeping those writing juices flowing, I also am a firm believer in just taking a break. You know those scrap books you’ve been dying to put together? Now’s your chance! Always wanted to take salsa lessons? Do it! Been thinking about re-doing the guest bathroom? Now or never! Because let’s face it here, people, revision takes serious time and energy. So while you’re waiting for that revision letter to come in (which may suck every last second of free time you’ve got right out of you) why not take the time to just not write and do some of the other little things in life you used to love.

  1. What’s your mood?

If you’re lucky enough to have the sort of editor/publisher that actually wants your input on your book’s cover design, a great way to figure out what you envision for it is to create a mood board. I know it sounds kind of daunting, but it’s actually really easy and a great way to get excited about the next stage of your book journey. Here’s how you do it. If you’re super computer savvy, then just have a look on Pinterest to see if any of their formats speak to you. There are some great ones out there (see: https://www.pinterest.com/stephedesigns/ for inspiration.) If you’ve never done anything like a mood board before, (that’s me!) check out some of the really cool sites out there, designed to help newbies take their ideas and make them into something awesome. Sites like https://niice.co offer templates that allow you to simply drag and drop your images into their charts. You can simply use photo stock images or pluck photos from tumblr at little or no cost. It’s super fun, pretty simple, and a great way to stay focused on your book while your book is in someone else’s hands.

  1. Uh…what’s your name again?

No point in writing something that nobody’s going to read, right? Now’s your time to get yourself out there and make your book known to the world. Of course, we all know the benefits (and pitfalls) of social media, but there are other ways to formulate an author presence, too. First off, what about your friends? Aren’t they publishing books at the moment? If so, make sure you make the time to plug their reads and attend their book release parties and signings, too. After all, you know that saying about coming and going around…

Second, get out of your state. I mean, it’s all fine and good if your name is out there in your hometown, but you do want other people from other places reading your book too, right? So how do you do that? Conferences, baby! Instead of going to your local one this year, try a new one (I hear they have great ones in Hawaii. Did you hear me? I said HAWAII.) This is a great way to meet new friends and acquaintances involved in the writing world and hey, you never know where that could lead.

  1. And speaking of conferences…

Have a little comma problem you’ve been itching to scratch? Never really known the correct way to use an em dash? Thinking that your plotting/characterization/voice could use a little tune-up? Conferences are a great way to get your craft on and really focus on these integral storytelling elements without having your own story get in the way. Learn from the pros and spend the time writing freely without the pressure of it turning into your next great novel. Being that free to learn…wow. ‘Tis a thing of beauty.

Jill MacKenzie is the author of YA read SPIN THE SKY, which will be released by Sky Pony in Fall 2016. Because Jill is currently completing her MFA at the University of British Columbia (which is kicking her a** so far she can’t even see straight), Jill spends every single second of her time writing and, of course, reading banned books. 

www.jillmackenzie.com | www.whatchareadingnow.com


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