I have a habit of being too hard on myself, as well as focusing too much on what’s ahead and not properly celebrating what I’ve accomplished. It’s been nearly six months since The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) was released – but in independent publishing time, it feels like six years.
While my readership and sales figures are still small, I do have a few notable accomplishments that I want to share. Partly, I’m posting these to validate my work to myself (and you, potential readers). And partly, I want to show aspiring or fellow authors that, even early on in your career, there are still plenty of cool moments to be had.
1. My book is being taught in a university classroom.
That’s right! On this very day (yes, I checked the syllabus), The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) is the subject of analysis in Dr. Charles French’s Contemporary Fiction class at Muhlenberg College. Dr. French and I have been ‘friends’ in the WordPress world, he read and enjoyed my book, and picked it up for this course – and his science fiction course this summer!
2. My grandma, who doesn’t often read fiction, read my book.
So did my mom (who rarely makes time for reading), my aunts and uncle, and several other friends and family members. The fact that many ‘non-readers’ in my life made time for my novel makes me incredibly proud. The fact that many of them have vowed, earnestly and enthusiastically, to read the second book makes me even prouder.
3. I received my first five-star review from a non-friend/family member.
And a few more since! As much as praise from friends and family means to me, it’s extremely validating to get a strong review from someone who A) has never met me, B) has no reason to like or support me, and C) had to have found my book through natural channels, my marketing efforts, or all on their own. Nothing says, “I can actually do this author thing” like kudos from a 100% unbiased source.
4. My first “Super Fan” found me.
As authors, we dream about that reader who will devour our work, then seek us out on social media. Well, I had that happen. And, as a bonus, she also reviewed The Cogsmith’s Daughter, signed up for my email newsletter, and featured my book on her blog. An even bigger bonus? She’s an illustrator with a penchant for steampunk, and if our friendship grows, I see some commissioned art in my (and my readers’) future!
5. My book is available at the Yale University library.
Okay, this one is all thanks to my husband – or as he likes to call himself, my ‘manager.’ All it took was one request from him, as a student, and The Cogsmith’s Daughter is now in a university library system with a global reach. For those of you who want to read my novel (but don’t want to shell out any cash – I get it, no judgment), feel free to do the same. I’ll still get royalties on the copy the library buys, and arguably more valuable, I’ll gain a wider network of readers. Fellow authors, I highly recommend you and your own readers do the same!
So you see? Even at an early stage – when your social media following is teeny-tiny, your book has only a handful of reviews, and your sales are no where close to supporting you (or even your cat) – being an author still rocks.
Celebrate every little win, and embrace every new experience. Millions of people never even finish a book, let alone publish one. You’ve done (or will do!) both, and you deserve every awesome thing that happens to you along the way. Enjoy it and don’t be afraid or ashamed to share your joy with others. The people who matter will be over-the-moon happy for you.
You have full, uninhibited permission to brag. What are your biggest accomplishments as an author? What goals are you working towards, and how can your readers help you reach them? What advice do you have for aspiring authors?